There are a few venues that I fall in love with every time I see them, and Serenbe is one of them, especially when it’s the backdrop for such a magical wedding. Designer Jessica Sloane did such an incredible job with all the details, photographer Jessica Lorren captured it beautifully… and I mean really, listen to this:
“A few months into dating, Daniel and I realized that his parents’ and my parents’ anniversaries were both in June,” says Melanie. “Okay, that’s pretty cool, we thought. But then we realized both anniversaries were on June 25th… Then we realized they were both married on June 25, 1988. Um…what?! Is that even possible? We knew if we ever got married, we would have to choose June 25th because, really, how could we not? After he proposed to me, we started planning our wedding for our parents’ 26th wedding anniversaries.”
Tell us about your beautiful dress. Being in the wedding industry, I see so many wedding details and so many dresses. I was very picky when it came to certain aspects of the wedding, one of which was my dress. I wanted something custom, but also something that wasn’t going to break the bank. I was referred to Miss Tashina by a friend and it was one of the best decisions I made. After going back and forth with pins and ideas and inspiration, I sketched out my final design and sent it to her. She brought my vision to life in a way that I could never have imagined. I threw in my idea for a custom veil super last minute, and once again, she worked her magic. Everything was absolutely perfect! A dream come true.
Any special details? Daniel wore his great great grandfather’s pocket watch. It was such a special heirloom to carry with him on such a special day! Also, the week before the wedding, while packing boxes for our long drive from south Florida to northern Georgia, my parents gave us their toasting glasses to use for our toast. It was so sweet and so special to use those glasses on their 26th anniversary!
“We chose our pastor for a very special reason,” says Melanie. “He had been my husband Daniel’s mentor and big brother figure for over 10 years, and it was so special to have him be such a big part of our day. When he introduced himself and explained his relationship to Daniel to our guests, he also took a second to describe Daniel’s character and choked up mid-way. I cried my eyes out. We let him have control of the order of the ceremony and what he wanted to say, but we knew we wanted him to share the gospel with our guests, the picture that marriage represents in the Bible, the deep and powerful meaning of love, and to pray over our marriage. It was the most beautiful ceremony I had ever heard. He did an absolutely perfect job!”
Ceremony Music: We were so blessed to have my cousin Matthew play the music for our ceremony. All of the music was instrumental, played on acoustic guitar. Simple and beautiful.
Processional, bridal party: “Ho Hey” by The Lumineers
Processional, bride: “Marry Me” by Train
Recessional: “Best Day of My Life” by American Authors
Your ceremony in three words. Romantic, Intimate, Heartfelt.
What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony? Melanie: My favorite part of our ceremony, and one of my favorite moments of the day, was our vows. we chose to write our own. To me, it was so much more intimate and heartfelt. Pouring out my heart to him. Listening to him pour his heart out to me. Our dearest friends and family there witnessing what we were promising to each other. I’m pretty sure there wasn’t a dry eye there. The two of us, our bridal party, our parents, our photographer, our guests… everyone was crying. But when you’re promising something that deep and that important, it’s hard for those words not to reach in and grab hold of your soul. When we finished our vows, my father-in-law uncontrollably let out a shout “I just love everyone!” // Daniel: My favorite moment of the day was the moment our officiant pronounced us man and wife, because at that moment, she was finally mine.
“We wanted a small, intimate wedding so that we could really focus on each other and be able to enjoy the day. We knew a destination wedding would be a great way to do that, but didn’t want the stress of coordinating a wedding in the typical destination wedding locations such as Europe or the Caribbean. Serenbe was such a quaint location with the perfect feel, and it was easy to incorporate our wedding inspiration.”
What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? Our wedding was inspired by us! Our planner did a fantastic job of breaking down what our top five values were as a couple so that we could be sure that we made our wedding about us and our story. Our top values were: romantic, honest and heartfelt, simple and clean, organic, and elegant. She then took those values and helped me tie them into the vision I had for a French Provençal wedding, since Provence is one of our favorite places in the world!
What was your favorite moment or part of the day? Melanie: I have so many favorite moments, but one of the ones that sticks with me the most was our first look. I was all dressed up, walking toward the person I would spend the rest of my life with, my very best friend in the entire world. With butterflies in my stomach, it was all I could do not to burst into tears and just run into his arms! The moment he turned around, he smiled, wrapped me in his arms and with tears in his eyes he whispered, “You look like a princess.” And the world just stopped. In that moment, it was just us, holding each other close. It was everything I dreamed it would be.
Please tell us about any special details from your wedding. Our wedding gifts to each other were special in their own ways. I had a family crest designed by our calligrapher, Signora e Mare, and then had it hand painted on a guitar pedal as a surprise to my musician husband-to-be. In his letter to me the morning of our wedding, he wrote that his gift to me wasn’t something I could unwrap and that I would have to wait until later to find out what it was! I love surprises, but the suspense almost killed me. In the busyness of the day, I had completely forgotten about it, but just after our toasts, I was asked to take a seat and the groomsmen were scurrying around the dance floor. I had no clue what was happening until the instruments came out and my husband started singing a song about our love story. The lyrics included our parents’ wedding day in 1988, the day he proposed to me, our wedding day finally being here, and the chorus “Love comes and takes away what we thought was a dream.” And he was right. It was our reality. The start of our new lives together.
Dessert Buffet: Lavender Shortbread Cookies / Salted Caramels / Espresso Madeleines / French Breakfast Puffs / Lavender Créme Brûlée / Mini Lavender Tarts / French Macarons / Mini Almond Croissants / Chocolate Wedding Cake with Vanilla Espresso Bean Buttercream
Signature Drinks: Lavender Lemonade / Peach Basil Cooler / Blackberry Clove Spritzer / Rosemary Cardamon Sparkler
First Dance Song: “What Can I Do” by Joy Williams. I still get tears in my eyes when I listen to the words of that song!
What was the best advice you received as a bride? I received two crucial bits of advice before my wedding day. The first was that things won’t go perfectly, but at the end of the day you’re married to your best friend and that’s all that matters. We had so many crazy things happen to us… we had to change our venue just three days before the wedding, our coordinator woke up with the flu on the morning of our wedding, our flower girl had an eye infection, some of our rental items arrived late so everything ran behind, the sparklers never arrived, I had bugs in my dress, one of my bridesmaids tore her dress at the zipper… Everyone expected me to freak out, but I knew that at the end of the day, I was going to be married and that was all that mattered to me. Which brings me to my second bit of advice. Your attitude as a bride affects your guests attitudes. They feed off of you. If you’re upset because nothing is running smoothly, they will be upset. If you’re angry, they’ll be angry. If you act as if everything is perfect and you’re so, so happy because it’s your wedding day (!!!!!) they’ll be so, so happy for you. It’s important to remember this because it’s how your guests will remember your wedding day.
What advice do you have for other brides? Don’t skimp on your photography! Those precious images will be what you have to remember your wedding for years and years to come. What you hand down to your children and grandchildren years from now. It is such an important and essential part of the wedding day! I am so grateful for our photographer and the irreplaceable gift that she’s given us in those images.