May 18, 2019 - our dream wedding
(PSA lots of honesty and ALL THE FEELS will be shared in this post) love ya for reading!
FINALLY! WE ARE MARRIED! First I have to begin with what a whirlwind it has been, I feel like I am still floating from the magic of May 18 and am SO thankful for all of our friends and family that came to witness our marriage. What a day it was. As many of you know, we immediately went on a two week honeymoon after our wedding and it wasn’t until we were 36,000 feet up on our way to the West Coast that Tillis and I looked at each other and said “we did it” - it had finally set in, all the prep and the planning had FINALLY come to fruition and it was literally the most beautiful day of my life. I recently got some of my photos back (stay tuned for more on the way of course) and wanted to share some of my thoughts and what all we did to celebrate on our big day. First off we went up to Jekyll Island on the Thursday before the wedding and had a day just Tillis and I, which I would recommend to everyone getting married. I stopped planning by then and he cut off his work brain and we just hung out and ate mexican and watched the sun go down near where we would get married in just a few days. The next day all of our families started to arrive so we welcomed them to Cherokee Cottage at the Jekyll Island Club Hotel where all of us were staying, the Cottage features a bridal suite, multiple bedrooms, a beautiful entry way, a lounging area, and of course all the historical details you can imagine for property as historic as Jekyll. It is truly a beautiful place.
Our wedding was pretty “boho garden DIY” as I described it and we did most of the set up and decorating ourselves, so on Friday we placed all of our tables and chairs and got the space ready. Everything for our ceremony was outside so the chairs were placed under a large oak tree and the reception under a grand white tent in the same courtyard, all with a beautiful floral lined fountain down the middle :) On Saturday while all of the wedding party was getting ready, my friends Jess and Jenny decorated the space with a large white piece of fabric draped in the trees and lanterns and collected pots for centerpieces (photos to come). There were baskets handmade from my Mimi used, dried lemons at every place setting, and pretty palms and plumes on every table. Friday night we had our rehearsal under the trees and then a dinner in Cherokee Cottage, there was about 35 family members and close friends as we wanted to keep the night intimate.
During the dinner we received a few wonderful toasts from our moms and then I shared with Tillis a journal entry that I have been holding on to since we first met. We met on July 4th, 2015 and on July 5th, 2015 I had written about how special of a man he was and that I knew God had put him in my path for a reason. In this journal entry I prayed for our life together and that I hoped we would get to do it by each others side, a DREAM come true for me as I knew he was the one from that very first day.
As wedding day morning came, my sisters and cousin and I went for coffee and a short walk on the beach. There were no nerves yet, so I was happy to go for a walk and spend some time with the ocean by their sides. For the wedding I had my sisters, my cousin Payne, and Tillis’ sister Addie as my bridesmaids :) these girls mean so much to me and I was so happy to have them by my side.
The morning went by SO FAST after getting my hair and make up done I feel like it was no time before I was putting my dress on. I asked my mom to be in the room for this special moment and her and my sisters assisted me. The first three people in my life were my mom and my sisters and on my wedding day I got to share in this special moment with the three that know me best, something I will cherish forever.
Tillis and I did decide to to a first look and I am SO glad that we did. We got to shake out a lot of nerves and just spend some special time just the two of us before we got to the ceremony. This was one of my favorite parts of the day as we got to just stand together and talk about how excited we were. I was so ready for Tillis to see my dress so of course it was fun to do a few spins to show him! In this moment I just remember pure JOY and just being so filled with happiness and love as I stood with him for those last few minutes before saying I do.
My cousin Payne is am amazing musician so I asked her to play for our ceremony as we all entered, and a special song as I walked down the aisle. One of my favorite memories from the day is standing back behind the trees waiting to walk down the aisle and hearing her voice singing over all of our friends and family. I got to stand back and watch everyone walk in before me, give my sisters and Wyatt a kiss before they walked, and then take a few moments to myself before I went down the aisle. This by far was the most powerful moment for me, I could feel God in the breeze, soak in the love of all of our guests, steal glaces with a few of my best friends as I walked, and ultimately see Tillis at the end - a moment I have dreamed about since we first met.
Our ceremony was sweet, filled with prayer and song from my cousin - we honored Tillis Dad with a moment of silence and got to take a minute to look out at our friends and family and really soak in the beauty of having all of them there. We held hands the whole time, and we both cried and cried - it was so so special to see Tillis so vulnerable and I felt like it was just the two of us up there together sharing our vows. Our sweet friend Jared married us, another element of the day I really loved as he spoke kind words over us not only as an officiant, but as a dear friend.
THEN WE WERE MARRIED! We got in some family photos and then got the party started! There was a coutyard filled with drinks for our guests with special “Tillis and Dowling” cups and pizza was on the way to be served. We kicked off the reception by dancing to “Only Love” by Ben Howard. Our favorite song is really “Specks” by Matt Pond but this one was a little to fast paced for our first dance so we later used that to cut our cake :) we both then also shared a first dance with our mommas. Our reception was more than I could have dreamed, family and friends dancing all night! Including my grand parents, who are in fact my favorite people in the whole world :) it was so neat to see friends from all stages of life in one place, with our family mixed in, having a good time in the name of marriage!
We then ate pizza, yummy cake my aunt made for us, and danced the night away. Tillis tossed my garter to a buddy, and my best friend Cierra caught my bouquet….something we have been planning since about freshman year :))) we had the best night of our lives.
Below you will find lots more photos, all from the AMAZING NICOLE LITTLE OF WILD HEART VISUALS! She made us all feel like models and just so eassssssy going throughout the whole day. She makes photo magic, check her out @wildheartvisuals .
All of our florals were by Sarah of The Wild Thistle, she made all of my tropical boho dreams come true! My hair was by Jessica Rowe, who gave me way more than I could have dreamed - I wanted piles of braids and she constructed them perfectly. My dress is from The White Magnolia, thank you Mabry for picking this pretty one for me to try - and my hair piece was from there as well!
If you made it this far, thank you for reading. It was truly the best day of my life and we can’t to get this life together started. Love ya, mean it!
-Dowling & Tillis too