Caroline & Robert’s nuptials took place at Caroline's childhood home in Louisiana – a working sugarcane plantation her family has been farming for the last 150 years.
A deep rooted sense of family anchored this classic yet rustic Southern wedding from the wooden tables, altar and cross lovingly hand made by Caroline's family to the heirlooms and traditions permeating the day. Caroline wore her 98 year old grandmother's wedding veil, and the couple committed their lives to each other under the trees her grandmother planted as a young woman.
Watch out for meaningful ‘signature sips', raw sugar favors, elegant bridesmaids dresses in the perfect shade of grey, flower girls that look like they stepped out of an old photograph happily waving ribbon wands and a pug in a bow tie.
These captivating, intensely beautiful photos by Jonas Seaman Photography take my breath away.
From The Bride…
My wedding day was the most magical day of my life – it was everything I ever dreamed it would be.
I can't believe I just wrote that typical, cliche sentence about my wedding, but I truly don't know how else to describe it.
It took place at my childhood home, a sugarcane plantation my family has been farming for the last 150 years. This contributed to the authentic, rustic vibe of the wedding. Really, when I think about it, family was the reason the whole day was magnificent.
We had a very DIY approach and my aunt said it best when she said it takes a village to pull off a wedding. It took herculean efforts by many family members working on different streams that all came together at once on one big day. The morning of the wedding I worked at least four hours to make sure everything was the way we envisioned it.
There were no rustic tables for rent in the area, so we sourced some wood and made our own. It actually came out to be about the same cost as renting them. Now, we have beautiful tables for future family events. Maybe I should rent them out!
We made the altar and the ceremony cross out of old Louisiana cypress. We made the benches for the ceremony. The benches were exactly 36 inches from back to back-I know because I measured each one with a string the day before. We used my family's old company logo on the invitation. We walked around the plantation and picked out old discarded items to use as part of the ceremony and reception.
One of my favorite moments was two days before the wedding when we were about to clean out what we thought was an old porcelain tub for the beer. An old employee of the sugar mill said “You do know what that is, right? Its an old urinal”. We quickly discarded the idea for the beer tub.
Robb and I crushed grapes and bottled our own wine the September before using Alexander Valley grapes. We served this at the cocktail hour. The mojitos at cocktail hour were my dad's recipe made with sugarcane juice from the mill and mint from his garden. The lemonade was fresh squeezed by my mom and sister from the lemons my dad grew.
Hand Crafted Details
My mom made our “Just Married” banners and we had tablecloths made of muslin and burlap by a local seamstress. My Aunt Tea went to the farmer's market in September and arranged to buy all the flowers from the local stall for the weekend of my wedding. My mom planted rows of flowers in September and we crossed our fingers they would be blooming at the exact right moment in April. My mom, my wedding planner and my Aunt Tea did the majority of the arrangements the morning of the wedding.
My future in-laws and I made the couches two days before the wedding. These were made of hay bales, twine and drop cloth I bought at home depot. We potted plants 8 weeks before the wedding and strategically placed them everywhere.
My maid of honor and cousin made wands for the flower girls out of bamboo we found in the yard. These wands worked gloriously as a distraction. Not one of those magnificent little girls acted up because they were each pretending to be a princess.
My sister tirelessly stuffed burlap bags with brown sugar from the mill and stamped and tied raffia bows.
Advice For Other Couples…
There are a few tips of advice I would give every bride. For pre-wedding planning, formulate your vision and adjectives for your wedding. Then architect everything around the feeling you are trying to obtain. You have to break it up by function, project and owner of the project or it will just be overwhelming if you are trying to execute this detailed of a wedding. I had an excel spreadsheet with the different aspects of the wedding: ceremony, cocktail hour, reception, signage. There were a lot of elements that went into all these different phases of the day/night and I listed them all out with notes and who owned what.
It is also crucial that you create a program of events for you, your wedding party and all the vendors. They know where to be, when to be there, the directions to every location and phone numbers of every person involved. Instead of calling you or your family the days before the wedding to ask questions, they could help themselves with this one-page reference.
The day of the wedding, take an intentional and focused look around to soak the entire experience into your memory. Engrain everything in your mind or else moments can be fleeting. I got to the altar and took the time to smell the air, close my eyes and then slowly open my lids to scan all the people who travelled to support us make these vows. They were all there to witness one of the most sacred and important commitments of our lives.
My vision for the day started as adjectives – when I took the time to open my eyes during that intentional moment to take it all in, I realized that those adjectives had actually come to life. I couldn't believe it was exactly what I wanted.
And Caroline had one more very important piece of advice…
Brides don't dance enough. Dance the night away as if its someone else's wedding!
Yes. So true. That's one of my biggest wedding regrets – I was too busy ‘doing the rounds' making sure I'd thanked everyone for coming. Instead, I should've been cutting a rug on the dance floor!
Congratulations Caroline and Robert, wishing you a lifetime of happiness!
Many thanks to Jonas Seaman for sharing these beyond beautiful photos with us today.