Matt Tanner had designed the perfect three-stone ring
and planned out a heartfelt proposal. The only thing left, he says, was asking Jocelyn Taylor's father for permission to wed his daughter
. "Luckily he gave me his blessing, because I had already bought the ring," Matt laughs. So, surrounded by his bride-to-be's family at a dinner party, the high school history teacher dropped to one knee and "asked my best friend for the past six years to be my wife."
While their courtship extended more than half a decade, the couple's engagement lasted just three-and-a-half months. Jocelyn and Matt wed June 29, 2013 in a comfortable Southern fête with a hint of rustic glam, held at Sundown Farms Plantation in Moultrie, Georgia. Across the plantation's 13 acres of landscaped grounds, the couple scattered personal details that epitomized their relationship and love of the South.
Jocelyn's Maggie Sottero
lace overlay gown swooped into a deep-sweetheart neckline. "I fell in love with this dress as soon as I put it on," the bride says. "It was comfortable and flattered my figure as well."
The bride finished the dress with a Swarovski crystal belt — "a perfect accent for a little bit of sparkle," she says — and ivory peep-toe Toms.
The groomsmen wore charcoal pants to contrast with Matt's lighter pants-and-vest combo. Accents of blue and green, including navy suspenders and lime green socks, completed the groomsmen's fashion-forward looks.
Florist Willow and Wren wrapped the groom's boutonniere in a swath of fabric cut from his late grandfather's college graduation shirt, twisting the material around baby's breath, Scabiosa pods, fiddlehead ferns, and a touch of hypericum berry with burlap and twine. Groomsmen wore identical blooms on their chests.
By selecting The Dessy Group
's wrap gown, each of Jocelyn's three bridesmaids could twist their navy jersey dresses into a different style. "I wanted a dress that would be cool enough for an outdoor wedding in the South Georgia heat," says the bride, "As well as comfortable, affordable, and simple."
Jocelyn carried an all-white bouquet of baby's breath, peonies, ranunculus, and freesia, held together with an heirloom brooch.
The couple broke with tradition, and opted to see each other before their ceremony. "I'll always remember hearing Jocelyn come up behind me for our first look and feeling nervous and excited to see her," Matt recalls. "She was even more beautiful than I expected."
Hand-painted wooden signs led guests to the entrance of the plantation, where the father of the bride parked his buttercream-yellow vintage truck. The bride and her family crafted a vignette of galvanized buckets filled with hydrangeas and sunflowers, an antique bench and a monogrammed sign made from a reclaimed barn door — a preview of the rustic elegance that awaited guests at the celebration.
Wild white-and-green blooms spilled out of French buckets and wire urns at the entrance to the couple's ceremony, where a mix of white chairs and antique church pews offered seating for guests. The lawn and altar overlooked the plantation's lake.
Jocelyn's niece tossed Goldfish crackers from her seat inside a vintage wooden wagon, pulled down the grass aisle by the bride's brother. A sign on the back of the chariot read "Here Comes Aunt Jocie."
Handmade monogrammed paper fans tied with twine kept guest cool as they watched Jocelyn and Matt exchange vows. Bridesmaids held bouquets of baby's breath and Gerber daisies with dark centers to accent their navy dresses.
Guests were free to roam the plantation's lawn, as well as the main house, during Jocelyn and Matt's reception. On the lawn, wooden rocking chairs sat beside galvanized tubs of white blooms and lush greenery, while at the entrance to the house, guests signed a white linen tablecloth instead of a traditional guestbook. "After the wedding, we had all the messages embroidered into the fabric," Jocelyn explains.
Burlap table runners covered round tables topped with alternating arrangements of silver lanterns, birdcages, and vases filled with white flowers and greenery. "Mixing cypress wood and mercury glass brought our Southern-comfort-meets-rustic-glam concept to life," says the bride.
Matt and Jocelyn offered their guests a selection of cupcakes, in flavors ranging from classic vanilla to red velvet. The bride's aunt baked a two-tiered cake, which she iced in decorative swirls and dots, for the couple to slice.
The couple left the wedding through a tunnel of sparklers, using the father of the bride's vintage truck as their getaway car on their way to their honeymoon in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.
Life after the wedding has been extremely busy for the couple. "We've had to learn to spend as much time together as we can when we have it," says Jocelyn. The change in schedules has made Jocelyn value the time they had during the wedding planning process even more. "Be sure to enjoy the little moments together, both as you plan and on your wedding day," she says.
Ceremony & Reception Venue: Sundown Farms Plantation || Wedding Planner: The bride's mother || Bride's Wedding Dress: Maggie Sottero || Shoes: Toms || Jewelry: Steel's Jewelry || Hair: Looks Inc. || Makeup: Friend of the bride || Bridesmaids' Dresses: The Dessy Group || Groom's Attire: Dillard's, Macy's, and Target || Wedding Bands: Steel's Jewelry || Flower Girl Dress: Southern Tots || Florist: Willow and Wren || Invitations & Paper Goods: Wiregrass Georgia Technical College || Music: Hank Hall and Mainstream || Catering: Joe Kem's BBQ || Cake: The Cup and Cake Shop || Favors: By the bride and groom || Accommodations: Sundown Farms Plantation || Photography: Anna K Photography