Laura and John first met as students at Sewanee: The University of the South. "John was one of the leaders of the pre-orientation trip I was on and we bonded over both being from Kentucky," Laura remembers. When school started, John went abroad to Florence, but the pair stayed in touch, and they went to one anothers' winter formals when he returned. But that's not when their romance began! "I was oblivious," says Laura. It took until January of 2012 (almost five years after they met!) for the couple to go on their first date.
In June of 2014, after a spring spent working on their plot in their local community garden, John proposed amongst everything they'd planted — with their golden retriever, Cutty, in attendance. The pair chose the bride's aunt's club, the Highlands Country Club in North Carolina, as the venue for their August 22, 2015, wedding, but made sure to include a few Kentucky touches in their celebration! Keep reading to see this sweet southern wedding, photographed by Nick Breedlove Photography!
Laura looked every bit the modern Southern belle in a lace and tulle gown by Modern Trousseau. "I loved how it moved," she says. "I knew it would be a good dancing dress!" And she wasn't the only one who fell in love: "My sister was newly engaged, too, so I made her try on a few gowns. We ended up both finding our wedding gowns on the same day, in the same salon!"
She paired her gown with her great-grandmother's veil (worn by nearly every woman in her family!), gold Jimmy Choos, and an all-white bouquet of dahlias, garden roses, and tulips.
John wore a classic tuxedo, but dressed up his look with a cummerbund hand-needlepointed by his mom and featuring the pair's pup, Cutty (who rocked a wreath of greenery for photos).
The groomsmen matched John in tuxedos, while the bridesmaids wore peach J.Crew chiffon gowns.
Laura's father walked her down the aisle at the Episcopal Church of the Incarnation for the pair's traditional ceremony. "We loved the church's unique architecture," says the bride.
After the first kiss, guests headed to the country club, where a bagpiper greeted them. "He played 'My Old Kentucky Home' and other Highlander music," Laura explains.
Inside the club, the pair dressed up the rustic-inspired ballroom with ivory linens, monogrammed napkins, and arrangements of blush and white flowers. The menu honored the mountains of North Carolina and included smoked trout canapés with caviar, fried green tomatoes with pimento cheese, and stuffed quail with wild rice and blueberry game jus.
Naturally, the two Kentuckians had to have a bourbon bar at the reception! It was the perfect complement to the wedding cake, which had layers of vanilla cake with raspberry filling and chocolate cake with chocolate mousse filling, all topped with buttercream and fresh flowers.
"John and I love to dance, but our first dance will always be my favorite," says the bride. "It felt as if we were completely in sync, and I loved how my dress moved when John twirled me!"
The couple, who honeymooned in Aruba, loved having the time during their first look to calm their nerves. "Remember that, no matter if everything else goes wrong, you're still marrying your best friend," says Laura. "So let other people take control. You're the bride, you can't do everything!"
Ceremony Venue: The Episcopal Church of the Incarnation || Reception Venue: Highlands Country Club || Bride's Wedding Dress: Modern Trousseau || Shoes: Jimmy Choo || Hair: Lola Salon & Gallery || Makeup: Blush, Asheville Makeup Artists || Bridesmaids' Dresses: J.Crew || Floral & Event Design: Oakleaf Weddings || Invitations & Paper Goods: Just Paper & Tea || Music: 14 Karat Gold Band || Catering & Cake: Highlands Country Club || Rentals: BBJ Linen || Photography: Nick Breedlove Photography
Searching for more summer wedding ideas? Then watch another couple's warm-weather wedding in the video below.