Our Ceremony

For every different time in our lives together, David and I have tried to remember Ecc. 3:1, 
"For everything there is a season, a time and a purpose." 
While we were dating and long distance, we would remind each other that "this is just a season".
When we didn't like our job or school, we would say, "this is just a season". 

So, when the season finally came for the Lord to allow us to follow through with marriage, we embraced the season, and I give Him all the glory for that. The engagement season was so much fun and so memorable, but nothing has beat this season of marriage. 

I wanted to share our ceremony with the blog - for my own safe keepings. 

It was hot. 
It was cloudy - with a chance of rain.
It was early when I woke up and snuck away from bed to try not to wake Lauren, my matron of honor who had stayed up all night with me while I was too restless to sleep.
It was overwhelming to think that I had dreamed of this day through every heartbreak before David, every good time I had ever had with David, and especially since January 30th when he proposed to me, the day was finally here.

It was June 27, 2015.
It was {finally} our wedding day.

The ceremony was to start at 2:00. The day FLEW by! Since David and I decided to do a first look, we were able to do most of the posed photos with the wedding party and family beforehand. That would allow us to go straight to the reception afterwards, and we wanted to do that in order to get on the road to our honeymoon!

Inside, the church was decorated with a custom build arch (if you will), from my daddy. He cut the trees from our property, and we had fresh greenery adorning it. Tapering away from the arch on either side was an assortment of different sized and colored lanterns with candles lit inside of them. Some lanterns were given height by cut tree stumps that we also gathered from our property where we recently cut timber.

I wanted our decorations to be meaningful and sentimental. Almost all of the wood used throughout our wedding was from the property that my dad grew up on. It kind of felt like bringing a piece of his childhood and his family into the ceremony with us. I will post more on the sentimental aspects of our wedding soon!

The time came for everyone to trickle into the church. The prelude included a mixed CD of songs that were a soundtrack of David & I's dating (and engaged) life. They were songs that we consider "ours". I will put a list at the end of the post! 
So, as our friends and family were coming in to find a seat, our songs played softly in the background. 

Next, it was time to seat the family. My cousin, and our pianist at church, Gina Cotton, played the paino as the mothers & grandmothers (and aunt!) were seated to Great is Thy Faithfulness. We chose this because the lyrics ring true in our lives. They rang true especially during that season of life. 

"Great is Thy Faithfulness - morning by morning, new mercies I see. All I have needed, Thy hand hath provided. Great is Thy Faithfulness!"

The bridesmaids and groomsmen (and TK - the 'best dog') walked down the isle to "Clair De Lune", which is a classic favorite of mine. I have always though it was lovely - since taking a music education class in middle school. 

Next, it was time for my daddy to walk me down the aisle, and we went with the traditional "Wagner's Bridal Chorus". To be honest, I remember the first notes of it, but the rest is a total blur! I remember looking at my bridesmaids about halfway down the aisle, and I remember finally seeing David's face once I almost reached the front, but in my mind - there was no music. 
Complete silence. 

All I could think about was, "is this really happening?" 
I was living out a dream I had had for so long.

Next came the vows... We spent a period of time before we got married going through marriage counseling with our pastor, Bro. Bill Ross. David and I learned a lot about each other during that time, and Bro. Bill taught us a lot, as well. We have tucked so much of his advice away, and we use it as armor in our marriage now - we use it as a shield to guard and protect our marriage. So, when we began discussing vows, we wanted to use some that were personal to our lives and meaningful to look back on in the future. We wanted simple, but powerful. 

I, David, take you, Julianna to my wife,
my partner in life, and my one true love. 
I will cherish our friendship and love you today, tomorrow, and forever.
I will trust you and honor you.
I will love you faithfully through the best and the worst, 
through the difficult and the easy.
Whatever may come, I will always be there. 
As I have given you my hand to hold, 
so I give you my life to keep - 
as long as we both shall live.

I, Julianna, take you, David to my husband,
my partner in life, and my one true love. 
I will cherish our friendship and love you today, tomorrow, and forever.
I will trust you and honor you.
I will love you faithfully through the best and the worst, 
through the difficult and the easy.
Whatever may come, I will always be there. 
As I have given you my hand to hold, 
so I give you my life to keep - 
as long as we both shall live.

After our vows were said, we took part in the unity portion of our ceremony. 
It took us awhile to decide on something that we wanted to display for unity during our ceremony. We have seen so many different ideas for this portion of a wedding, and we wanted ours to be unique. So, we chose to plant a tree - but not just any tree - and we didn't want to plant it just anywhere. 

Here is the excerpt taken from our program: 

"In many wedding ceremonies, you often see the happy couple lighting a unity candle. Today, Julianna and David have instead elected to use a tree for this portion of their ceremony. The tree they have chosen is an American Bald Cypress. The Cypress Tree can live up to a thousand years. It can grow up to a hundred and twenty feet tall, and over fourteen feet across at the base. 
The cypress tree is mentioned in records throughout history, and it has many different meanings in many different cultures, but the meaning that applies here today is: 'The Cypress Tree represents the role of sacrifice in life'. As we all know, sacrifice is an important part of any successful marriage. 
Today, David and Julianna each bring a portion of dirt from their respective homes and each will place their dirt into the container with the tree, signifying their sacrifice and their pledge of unity in this marriage. This tree will then be planted on family property and will serve as a living reminder throughout the years of their love and sacrifice to each other." 
(thanks to daddy for always knowing exactly how to portray my thoughts - and for writing this up for us.) 

* I will add that the tree was planted by the end of the weekend by my brother, Matt, on our family land in Crawford, MS. I can say that, almost a year later, it is healthy & happy... and growing! 

We exchanged rings, and Bro. Bill added a special portion to the end of our ceremony. 
A week or so before the wedding, before all of the craziness with last minute prep began, Bro. Bill asked us to meet him at the church one night. So, David and I agreed. He met with us in order for us to make a pledge to him - but more so to our marriage. He read aloud our commitment as a symbol of confirmation to the congregation and to God as our witnesses, and this was (is) our commitment:

(The following words are a paraphrase of words recorded from the Book of Ruth)

"We promise to not leave each other, or to return from following after each other.
We promise that for where one goes, the other will go - and where one stays the other will stay,
your people will be my people, 
and your God will be my God.
Where you die, I will die, 
and where you're buried, I will be buried.
These things we promise to each other - for as long as we both shall live."

After that, Bro. Bill prayed over us, over our marriage, and over the people who would witness our marriage after we left the ceremony that day.

He then announced us as husband & wife....
and David kissed his bride!

(Song List) 
• that's how I know you love me 
- Justin Moore 
• enchanted 
- Taylor Swift 
• Feels Like Home 
- Chantel Kreviazuk 
• I just love you 
- Five for Fighting 
• kiss me 
- Ed Sheeran
• parachute 
- train 
• faithfully 
- Journey 
• make you feel my love 
- Adele 
• gravity 
- Dean Brody 
• i have and i always will 
- Dave Barnes 
• love will be enough for us 
- Dave Barnes 
• mine to love
- Dave Barnes 
• thinking out loud 
- Dylan Scott 
• kiss me 
- Jason Walker 
• I feel like that 
- Jason Walker 
• marry me 
- Train 
• never stop 
- Safety Suit
• shotgun 
- Nashville Cast 
• when I say I do 
- Matthew West 

**all photo credit goes to Twice The Focus Photography 


Our First Look!

It has been awhile (like, almost a year 'awhile'), but moving away from home means having no internet... until recently! So, I am back to finish up our wedding blogs. In no particular order. Just as I feel led to. 

And I feel led to share our "first look" today.

I went back & forth with this idea. I wanted to do a first look because I thought it would calm our nerves before the ceremony, and I knew it would save time in the long run as far as pictures and the reception were concerned. On the other hand, I wasn't so sure about it because I wanted our very first look to be authentic and genuine as I walked down the aisle with my Daddy. 
However, the pro's outweighed the con's when it came to the first look, and despite what everyone says about it - it is worth it! 
For us, it was just as special as it would have been during the ceremony, minus all of the people and the music.

My dressed had been fluffed. 
My hair had been fixed.
My veil had been put on. 
My perfume had been misted. 
My hands were shaking. 
My feet were bare. 
But my {almost} husband was waiting for me -
no time to spare.

In some ways, it seemed like the longest walk of my life, 
but it was gone in a flash.

It was the last time that David would have to wonder what I would look like in my wedding dress. The last time he had to keep an old image of me in his mind until he saw me in person again. It was the first time he would open his eyes and vision his wife there - instead of his girlfriend or his fiancĂ©. It was the first time for me to really have a second to think, "This is happening. I am almost his. Forever." 
The next time we would walk down this sidewalk, it would be side by side - neither of our backs to each other. Hand in hand, not one falling beside us. It would be as one - unified - forever, no longer separated because God joined us together. 

.."It's always been a mystery to me, how two hearts can come 
together and love can last forever..

..but now that I have found you I believe that a miracle 
has come when God sends His perfect one..

..now, gone are all my questions about why, and I've never
been more sure of anything in my life..

..He must have heard every prayer I've been praying..

..because He made all my dreams come true..

..when God made you, oh I thank God He made you; when God made you,
He must have been thinking about me."

Our first look was one of complete amazement to me. I can remember looking at David through blurry eyes as I fought back tears. Those tears came from the joy that I felt in knowing that He was (is) mine. 
He will always be my first look. 
On June 27, 2015, every morning when I wake up, and every day after work. 
And my last look as I fall asleep each night and leave for work in the mornings. 

It's kind of nice looking through these almost a year later because I am able to say that He still greets me with that look on his face every single time that he sees me. 
He makes me feel desired, loved, and cherished. 

This first look was the beginning of a new look on our lives together as a married couple. We have faced many firsts since that first look, and it has been a great adventure - as long as we can face the firsts together, the ride will be well worth it for me. 

*all photo credit to: twice the focus



So the time came to start picking out flowers for the wedding, and all I knew about mine was: succulents and dusty miller. The rest of the flowers (bouts, bouquets, family flowers, and sitting arrangements) were just not coming to me as clearly as I expected. So, we just ordered a ton, and I put my florist in charge of what to do. It worked out great, I think, because I tried to be flexible in the design department of that.

You'll later see the full sanctuary set up, bug basically we had all different types of lanterns filled with moss and candles, and then there was filler leaves places all around them. Some of the lanterns sat on slices of wood and stumps that we cut from our family land in shuqualak. (And some of the stumps were from someone's yard who lives on Main Street, ha!) We used eucalyptus here, too. Using the fresh cuts provided a "softer" look than just having the stumps there with nothing around it, so I loved how this turned out! 

We did have one delimma. When the flowers arrived, and we had gotten all of them out with their ends snipped and placed in fresh water, I noticed that we didn't have much color. Now, granted, I didn't want too much color, but there was none aside from the greens we had from filler. And white. (Annnnd from the pink garden roses) So, one of our faithful helpers Mrs. Jolynn and her daughter (our now close neighbor) went and got what they could find at Kroger. Thankfully, they had some pink peonies. 

Once we added that color, I really did let the florist and everyone who helped him take over creative control, and if you came to this blog to read my advice, here it is: DO THAT! 
If you've ordered flowers that you love, chances are you're going to love them any way that they're arranged. Now, let me be clear, you have to have a florist who you trust, and who you've met with and feel like they understand your vision. 
And I did! Thankfully! 

My bouquet was full of white hydrangeas, baby green hydrangeas, white ranunculus, pink garden roses, dusty miller, and filler. It was tied together by a hankerchief that my late grandmother received from her pen-pal overseas. A long time ago! And it was all pinned together with a broach of my late great-grandmothers who would have certainly been tickled to know that a piece of her walked down the aisle with me - and yes, it seems a tad gaudy and bulky, but the jewelry she wore always was like that - in true MeMaw fashion. 

Beside the arrangement is a bottle of perfume that I bought specifically for our wedding day. I read somewhere a long time ago that it's a neat idea to buy a fragrance that your fiancĂ© has never smelled before, and use it on your wedding day as well as special days moving forward. Date nights, anniversaries, etc. So I've tried to do that! I wore it the entire time we were on our honeymoon & have used it for dates we have had since. 

I originally wanted a ton of succulents in my bouquet but we quickly realized that to remain simple and keep from having a huge arrangement that weighed 50 pounds, I would need to just have one, and it was sort of the subtle "pop" that it needed. I loved it. 


Now these were probably my favorite of all! I cannot get over them! On Thursday (yes, 2 days before the wedding) I saw an Instagram post from a girl, and she just said wouldn't it be cool to do something like this. So, my sweet daddy who has literally MADE THINGS COME TO LIFE for us, got out in our sheds and cut a ton for me to choose from and we spray painted them. These were perfect, and they provided that pop of gold that the wedding party needed. They were also unique - something I hadn't seen before, so I loved that, too. 

These are a few snaps from the shelves that my bridesmaids decorated in the reception hallway. I gave them creative control over it, and it ended up being one of my favorite little places of wedding decorations. 

The food table was always a clear picture for me. I didn't want any huge arrangement. I am different in that I had rather it be about the "little details" instead of the big "wow factor". So, I collaborated two ideas that I had seen on Pinterest and added large sea glass vases to line the table & filled them with simple single stems of different flowers. I will always remember that these cases were the first decor we bought for the wedding (and maybe we bought a couple before we ever got engaged!) 

And I can't ignore the succulents. These babies were in every nook and cranny that was there. Succulents and I are a funny story, to me anyway. David's grandmother was showing me the flowers in her garden one day, and I saw some of her succulents. I had never seen any before, and apparently I talked about loving them so much that the next time we went to see her, she had planted me two planters (read: one "planter" was an old aluminum tea kettle) full of baby succulents and they have grown. And grown. And grown!! And I tribute my love for the entire succulent family to her because she introduced me to them, so that was one way that we were able to incorporate her into our special day. 

David's bout was (pretty fragile, come to find out) a single ranunculus with filler leaves at the top. I loved the simplicity of it. The ranunculus has so many layers but remains so small and delicate, and I think that's what I love about them. 

Ps -- they dry beautifully! 

More foyer flowers. The "twigs" at the top are a willow, and we also used eucalyptus in these arrangements as well. 

The flowers were already planted in these cement planters, but they went right along with everything else. 

Mom spent a LONG TIME on these beautiful succulent wreaths. They are artificial, and they are HEAVY. Thankfully we were able to wire them, but I am so glad that she stuck through the hot glue gun burns that she sustained while making these. They are a treasure! 

The sanctuary was a simple thing that I visioned (I think it was only simple for me - not anyone else, but they'll never tell me.) I wanted an arbor. I wanted earthy tones. I wanted trees. I basically wanted to bring the outside in. I wanted to get married outside, but it was JUNE. I didn't wanna be a sweaty bride. So, we cut these trees from our back yard, cemented them into some galvanized tubs, and dad cut the baby pines from our land in shuqualak to make the arbor. He assembled the arbor on sight at the church! The swag was made of live mixed greens, and it was beautiful in person. The flowers were mostly attitudinal because I didn't want to worry about them browning overnight. 

For the pew markets, we went with a eucalyptus green and a single hydrangea, and I love the look it created. Simple & effortless. 

So that basically sums up the wedding flowers! I could not have done it without Greg, Mrs. Linda, Leah, Mrs. Jolynn, Kaitlin, Mrs. Kay, and my mom. They took care of everything and made sure I was taken care of too. They went above and beyond, and they really colored our day beautifully with the flower arrangements that they made. 
Thank ya'll so much!