Give us a wedding packed with Southern charm and you’ll find a happy group of wedding bloggers. But when said wedding is that of one of our very own? It’s time to pop the extra bottle of bubbly. Not only is Maggie and Jamie’s big day sprinkled with the prettiest views at Musgrove, it’s layered with gorgeous bridal portraits (Maggie, you’re stunning!), twinkling market lights and loads of blooms. Ready for more? See it all captured by Brooke Roberts Photography in The Vault.
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From the Bride… Jamie and I met at the University of Alabama, it was one of those moments that we instantly knew that we were meant for one another. We settled in New Orleans and after six amazing years of dating Jamie proposed. He thoughtfully planned it all out with numerous surprises: proposing at one of our favorite wine & cocktail bars Oak, flying my parents and sister into town and throwing a surprise party with a few of our close friends and family members. I never would have dreamed this moment up!
The next day while talking with my mother, who had been secretly putting together ideas for the most special day, I reminisced of visiting Musgrove Plantation, one of the most memorable landmarks of my childhood spent on St. Simons Island. My mother couldn’t have been more excited to let me know that she had contacted Musgrove and they had recently started hosting weddings. This hidden gem of a location represented my roots and would be the perfect backdrop to come full circle and share this special memory with my New Orleans family.
Musgrove draws you in like a storybook romance. This beautiful picturesque 600-acre hidden sanctuary on the banks of Village Creek takes you back in time. Musgrove is rich with history from its construction in 1938 by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco heir and philanthropist Nancy Susan Reynolds, to the site for President Carter’s first pre-inaugural cabinet meeting. Musgrove was named after Mary Musgrove, a pioneer acclaimed as the Pocahontas and Sacagawea of the South and known as a cultural liaison between colonial Georgia and Native American societies, for her peace keeping efforts, entrepreneurship, and land claims to the Sea Islands in Georgia.
Mrs. Reynolds felt strongly that the Musgrove mission of family gathering and philanthropy carry on. In the spirit of that mission, generations still enjoy the lush grounds amidst the draping Spanish moss for conferences, retreats and…OUR wedding! While Musgrove offers incredible views and settings for both ceremonies and receptions, we chose nearby Christ Church for our ceremony prior to heading over to Musgrove for our reception. The English colonists established Christ Church in the 1800’s and the current parish house has been preserved with loving care ever since.
Knowing that festival season in New Orleans makes it difficult for our family and friends to travel, we booked May, a perfect time on the island for weather and for guests to get away for a vacation in a unique destination. As soon as we booked Musgrove and Christ Church, we knew we had to start getting down to the nitty gritty with the rest of the wedding planning. Thankfully my mother and her friend Mary Bostock are two incredibly talented and creative women. I knew I had nothing to worry about when it came to making sure my day was everything I could ever want and more.
When it came to my wedding dress I knew I wanted to keep it classic, chic and simple. I was out one day shopping by myself and came across Yvonne La Fleur, known for their beautiful handmade clothes. I had to see what all of the fuss was about. I knew as soon as I tried on my dress that it was, without question, the one. The hand woven lace with pearls overlay and the silk slip was so different from anything I had ever seen. It spoke to me and with much excitement and awe, my soon to be mother-in-law, mother and my sister chimed in with approval.
In searching for non-traditional bridesmaids dresses, I came across a fellow University of Alabama graduate who had been designing beautiful silk bridesmaids gowns in several different styles and hues. Natalie Deayala’s designs were the perfect compliment to my classic wedding dress style. My bridesmaids could pick their favorite style in my chosen blush hue that best complimented them ensuring that everyone felt beautiful and enjoyed wearing the dress throughout the day.
My sister happens to be good friends with Lisa Kerns of Lisa Kerns Jewelry. I am lucky enough to have some of Lisa’s pieces and felt that having pops of blues and greens with the blush hues of the bridesmaid dresses would align with the theme of nature both around us and on us. Plus who doesn’t love the gift of jewelry that will last a lifetime and is very unique?!
Amy Jenkins, of Bienvenue, has been my hairdresser from the time I was a young girl. I trusted her implicitly and knew that she and her colleague Tiffany Jones were exactly whom I needed to bring out the natural beauty in our bridal party. Similarly, Ashley Jordan didn’t miss a brush stroke with compliments of light and natural make-up. I couldn’t have felt more at ease and comforted knowing that this hair and makeup team was on the scene helping us to look natural and feel like ourselves.
Our day was filled with New Orleans wedding ceremonial traditions including the second line tradition and a New Orleans based American funk rock band procession. All of the wedding guests received handkerchiefs designed by my mother-in-law Diane Rabin. Our guests swung their handkerchiefs around behind us while our good friends from Flow Tribe lead the way to the reception.
Brooke Roberts and her husband captured every moment and detail of my special day with ease and grace….even those moments that I was not able to experience during such a busy day. Brooke is so incredibly talented with her natural ability to make you feel at ease and her style of catching the light and the perfect angles. It was something I had never experienced before in a photographer. Every smile and every happy tear was caught on camera without us even noticing that Brooke and her team were around.
Edward Armstrong of Edwards on St. Simons is one of my mother’s near and dear friends. He had already started to help plan the wedding before our engagement. Knowing how classic, natural and tasteful my mother is when it comes to her interior decorating, he took all of that into consideration when they sat down to plan the floral decorations. I knew that I wanted to incorporate the natural vegetation of the island as well as peonies, which are my favorite flowers. Edward combined all of these elements and more by including a touching surprise; adding my grandmother’s very special prayer book to my bouquet. In this way, my grandmother was present with me walking down the aisle and throughout the day.
Our choice of tents and chair, table and linen rentals was easy. Beachview Event Rental & Design is unquestionably one of the best in the business featuring, namely, effortless and classic tent styles. And who better than Janet Brown our talented, creative and thoughtful wedding planner, designer and caterer to take this blank canvas and paint it to mirror Musgrove’s natural elements from oversized festive floral features to local festive fare.
Janet is one of those planners who takes your special day and makes it her own to ensure that the day goes perfectly. She created a beautiful invite to our tent that included elegant classic entryway drapes that glistened with hanging garden lights. The Maplewood dance floor and the grapevine twig balls chandelier mimicked the feel of the beautiful moss covered oak trees. The green and white florals in moss covered urns and vases along with the natural elegance of the bamboo furnishings and celery green and white striped linens were yet more reminders of the gorgeous Musgrove grounds.
This simple southern charm carried over from decor into every aspect of the delicious local foods. Janet did an incredible job of juxtaposing my husband’s New Orleans background and my island lifestyle when designing delicious appetizers and a beautiful dinner. She spent hours at the local farmer’s markets sourcing only the best and most colorful fresh vegetables to roast including yellow summer squash and green beans with cauliflower for a bright and beautiful vegetable display. To compliment the vegetable offering, Janet loves to create elaborate cheese and fruit displays featuring layer upon layer of artisanal cheeses with an abundance of fruits including pears, figs and apricots. This particular display consisted of Georgia’s Sweet Grass Dairy goat cheese rolled in cranberries and pistachio nuts, creamy brie topped with Kahlua and Georgia pecans from Buccaneer Farms, Maytag blue cheese served with bourbon infused honey from Savannah Bee Company, and a mango chutney torta with Georgia peanuts, green onions and golden raisins. Last but not least Janet delighted us with more locally sourced and creatively arranged appetizers including tomato and Vidalia onion tarts and her famous house-made pimento cheese in edible cracker spoons.
Janet didn’t quit there. She made sure that our guests would taste every option that is unique to our specially chosen wedding destination. We had shrimp for days in various formations since Janet is able to get it fresh daily off of the Bay Street docks. Janet’s creations included sweet Georgia shrimp and Andouille sausage in Cajun cream sauce (a tribute to New Orleans) served over stone-ground grits in martini glasses and cold cocktail shrimp marinated in Vidalia onions, lemons, tomato dressing and capers. This dish is very traditionally named Sweet Ga. Shrimp Sea Island. I love Blue Crab and it’s also local so Janet served light lump blue crab salad served in cucumber rounds, and stuffed in cherry tomatoes and endive leaves. It goes without saying that our reception hit every sensory note and our exit lit up the waterfront through a pathway of sparklers and our unforgettable evening.
The wedding cake designed by Mary Ann Daniels of I Do Wedding Cakes was by far the most beautiful and delicious cake I’ve ever had the pleasure of tasting. It was incredibly moist with just a slight hint of sugar. This is the kind of cake that looks too good to eat and keeps you coming back for more when you do. Mary Bostock surprised us by making the cake tablecloth out my mother’s wedding veil. The veil included both our wedding date and my parents wedding date; an heirloom that can be passed down and cherished for generations to come. Another commemorative touch that will remind us of this special day is the guest book. Janet Brown sourced a copy of Island Time by Jingle Davis, a local coffee table history book illustrated with unbelievably fabulous photographs from St. Simons Island.
Even after the farewells and the sparklers shining against the natural moonlight we are reminded of the gift of celebrating as Nancy Reynolds would have intended…surrounded by those we love amidst a backdrop that doesn’t require much adornment. This incredible evening wrapped in love, the natural privacy of the live oaks draped in Spanish moss, the colorful reflections off of the marsh and the wonder of the one-of-a-kind Podocarpus maze will forever be etched in our memory and in Musgrove’s history.
Photography: Brooke Roberts Photography | Event Planning and Design: Nancy Stoddard | Floral Design: Edward on St. Simons | Wedding Dress: Yvonne Lafleur | Wedding Cake: I Do Cakes | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Natalie Deayala Collection | Makeup: Ashley Jordan | Hair: Bienvenue | Band: Flow Tribe | Groom's Attire: Joseph A. Bank | Venue: Musgrove | Bridesmaids' Jewelry: Lisa Kerns | Catering, Event Planning and Design: Janet Brown | Event Design and Event Planning: Mary Bostock | Rentals: Beachview