Camille and John met as students at Ole Miss, and though they live in Washington D.C, now, they returned to their Alma Mater to tie the knot followed by a gorgeous reception at the groom’s parents’ farm. The celebration was equal parts elegance (from the bride’s cathedral length veil to the bridesmaids’ elegant navy blue dresses to the stunning flowers and candlesticks) and playfulness (a snow cone bar in lieu of a groom’s cake, plus a bourbon bar and cigar station), all captured beautifully by photographer Lauren Kinsey.
Did you include any traditions in your wedding? Our wedding was filled with traditions! Of course I had something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue. Something Old: the diamond in my engagement ring, which belonged to John’s great grandmother, and the diamond in a necklace that I always wear belonged to my great grandmother / Something New: a beautiful pair of diamond earrings with vintage inspired jackets that my mother gifted me at my bridesmaid luncheon on Friday / Something Borrowed: my mother in law’s gorgeous cathedral veil / Something Blue: a sapphire and diamond band that John gave me the night before our wedding, as well as a strand of navy silk ribbon tied to my bouquet.
Are there any DIY details you’d like to tell us about? Our wedding was truly a labor of love by our family and friends. I really can’t begin to list all of the thoughtful things they did, but I’ll name a few. My mom put together some pretty amazing welcome boxes for our guest complete with homemade soap, wedding cookies, cereal mix, and lots of other goodies. She also worked with a friend who is a graphic artist, to design fans, signs, and lots of other unique paper goods for the weekend. My stepmom is an artist and created the most beautiful one of a kind stained glass crosses for my wedding party. John’s parents put in so much work at the farm for months before the wedding, working on all kinds of special touches – everything from planting a garden, to having benches made, to painting custom bars for the reception.
“John and I knew from the time we were engaged that we wanted to be married in Oxford, Mississippi. We both went to college and law school at Ole Miss and some of our best memories were made there. We also knew that it would be very special to have our wedding in the place where we met and fell in love. Not to mention, most of our friends love Oxford as much as we do, so they were super excited to be making the trip back. We were married in Paris-Yates Chapel, on the Ole Miss campus. We had originally booked a different church for that evening, but after running into some logistical problems, we had to consider other options. The chapel was only available in the afternoon and, while we had originally envisioned a traditional evening service, our wedding planner encouraged us to consider the benefits of an afternoon wedding – with an evening reception. We took her advice and decided on an intimate 12:30pm ceremony. It turned out to be the best decision we could have made!”
Your ceremony in three words. Religious, Intimate, Joyful.
How did you go about planning your ceremony? We had a traditional Episcopal service, so we used the template that’s included in the Book of Common Prayer. Our priest guided us through the planning and personalization of our service, as this was very important to us. We were also fortunate enough to have a very close family friend, who is also a very talented musician, help with music selections and perform a solo.
Who officiated your ceremony? The Bishop of Mississippi, the Rt. Rev. Brian Seage, who was previously the Rector at my home church, married us. At the time we got engaged, Father Brian had been at our church for almost a decade and John had gotten to know him while we were dating.
What was your ceremony music? Seating of the Mothers: Be Thou My Vision, Traditional / Solo: The Gift of Love, Hal Hopson / Wedding Party Processional: Canon in D, Johann Pachelbel / Bridal Processional: Trumpet Voluntary, Henry Purcell / Congregational Hymn: Holy, Holy, Holy, Traditional / Recessional: Joy to the World & Ode to Joy, Traditional & Ludwig Van Beethoven
What were your ceremony readings? We knew that we wanted to have an Old Testament, New Testament, and Gospel reading, so we spent time discussing what scriptures reflected our commitment to each other. It turned out we couldn’t choose just three and decided on Song of Solomon 8:6-7, 1 Corinthians 13:4-13, Colossians 3:12-17, and Mark 10:6-9.
What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony? The moment when the church doors opened and we saw each other was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. It sounds cliché, but I couldn’t get down the aisle quick enough. Vowing our commitment to one another in the presence of God, our family, and very special friends was an incredibly powerful and solemn moment.
Is there anything else that you’d like to share about your wedding ceremony? We had our smaller more intimate ceremony at 12:30 in the afternoon, and then were able to celebrate with a much larger group of our friends with an evening reception. This allowed us to really focus on our vows – the most important part of the weekend. Not to mention, we were able to spend almost our entire wedding day with each other. The afternoon break allowed us to relax, visit, and enjoy lunch with family and our wedding party.
What was the best advice you received as a bride? My friend Adele kept reminding me our whole wedding weekend to soak it in, and it’s so true – it goes by so fast!
What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding? Plan as much as you can beforehand, but once the weekend arrives don’t worry about a thing!
If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently? I wouldn’t change a thing about the weekend, but I might relax a little more during the planning!
“One month before the wedding, John’s dad buried a bottle of bourbon in one of the gardens at the farm for us to dig up on our wedding day (unfortunately, we could not participate since we live in D.C.),” shares Camille. “This is an old Southern tradition that is said to keep rain away. With a completely outdoor reception venue, we were willing to try just about anything. Plus, we knew that our friends Loren and Jake had done this and had perfect weather, so we thought there might be something to it. On the afternoon of our wedding, we dug up the bourbon and passed it around among the wedding party. Even though it rained for about twenty minutes, we ended up with beautiful weather for most of the day, so I would say it was a success.”
“We had our reception at John’s family farm in Holly Springs, Mississippi (about 30 minutes outside of Oxford). Originally we were looking for a venue close to our ceremony location, but couldn’t find a place that offered everything we wanted. We had envisioned an outdoor location that could accommodate a larger crowd, yet still feel open and relaxed. At some point it occurred to us that the farm was the perfect spot. It was pretty amazing to see one of our favorite places transformed into such a beautiful venue.”
How would you describe your reception? A gorgeous evening in a very special place, complete with all of our favorite things – family, close friends, good food, delicious drinks, soul music and lots of dancing. To us, it was the perfect celebration.
What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? Above all, we wanted to create a welcoming and fun weekend that felt genuine to us as a couple. We kept things fairly traditional, but were constantly looking for ways to infuse personal details. Aesthetically, we embraced the natural beauty of the farm, which inspired a soft and natural palette. Early in the planning process, my planner, Jessica, worked with me to create an inspiration board, which was incredibly helpful in keeping everything cohesive and communicating the feel we were looking to achieve.
What was your wedding menu? Planning our menu was especially fun because we were able to incorporate lots of fresh ingredients that were grown on the farm, just steps away from the reception site. We decided on a menu that included some delicious passed apps and savory menu options.
Passed Appetizers: Maple Bacon Wrapped Quail Breast / Fresh Garden Vegetable Bruschetta / Belgian Endive and Gorgonzola Salad // Entrees: French Chicken Breast / Wine Braised Boneless Short Ribs / Chargrilled Pesto Tuna // Sides: Potato Au Gratin / Roasted Asparagus / Parmesan Crimini Risotto
What type of cake or dessert did you serve? We had a traditional almond wedding cake accented with simple foliage and, in lieu of a groom’s cake, a specialty snow cone stand. John’s favorite treat is a cherry supreme snow cone (a snow cone layered with soft serve ice cream) from “Jerry’s Sno Cones” in his hometown of Memphis, Tennessee. We recreated this for him as a surprise at the reception, which turned out to be a huge hit not only with him but also with our guests, many of who decided to top-off their snow cones at the bar.
Special dances? Our first dance was to “September” by Earth Wind and Fire. I danced with my Dad to “Turn Around” by Kenny Loggins, and John and his mom danced to “Moondance” by Van Morrison.
Did you have a signature cocktail? John’s drink of choice is bourbon and there’s nothing I love more than a margarita, so we had a specialty bourbon and margarita bar, as well as Old Fashioned’s and refreshing cherry limeade cocktails at the bar.
Please tell us about any other special details or moments from your reception. We incorporated lots of special details into our reception. Before the wedding, Lesley, our florist, visited my mom’s house and identified things she could use from her yard. My mom and I then foraged buckets full of greenery that were included in our arrangements and bouquets. // We knew that it could potentially be a warm day, so my mom created fans with an abbreviated version of our wedding program. This was a wonderful way to share the details of our ceremony with the guests who joined us for the reception. // Also, we set up a cigar station amongst the trees for our guests. It was a huge hit with the guys! // Another very special addition to our reception, was rose-shaped mints made by my grandmother. These are not your average mints, they are absolutely delicious and my grandmother has made them for countless weddings over the years, even carrying them as far as Colorado on one occasion. Throughout the planning process, my grandmother’s sole concern became where we would place the mints at the reception. Rest assured, “Mimi’s mints” had a special spot right beside our guest book and received rave reviews.
What was your favorite moment or part of the reception? For the last song of the night, John had arranged for the band to play “Shout” (always a crowd pleaser). We were surrounded by friends on the dance floor and before we knew what was happening, John and I were lifted up in the air. This is a moment neither of us will ever forget – we did not want the night to be over!
Is there anything else that helps tell the story of your wedding? As part of our gifts for our wedding party and others who played a special part of our wedding activities and celebrations, John and I supported the purchase of an acre for a camp facility being built by Mississippi’s Toughest Kids Foundation. The mission of this foundation is very dear to us, and we wanted to do something that would be a perpetual symbol of our appreciation of the kindness, love, and generosity shown to us.