The chapel at Furman University was very simple and we knew that our ceremony wouldn’t need a ton of decoration. We did, however, want it to be very warm and inviting. With the ceilings as high as they are, we knew that we would need to bring in some height with some plants.
My vision was to have very light and airy flowers. I love cherry blossom trees and curly willow. I wanted little buds and blooms and lots and lots of candlelight. Our biggest issue with flowers was that we didn’t want to put a lot of money into it. It may be a wedding planning faux pas to say this, but we understood the importance of flowers, but felt like it was the worst way to spend our money. A lot of brides will disagree. I spent more on my dress than we ended up spending on flowers and I don’t regret it for a second. I won’t wear my dress again, but at least I can gaze at it in my closet. The flowers were gone after two days. So sad. We also put a lot of our budget toward our fabulous band, The Root Doctors, and I don’t regret that for a second, either. We decided to get creative to get a big look for a lower price.
Libby Munn, our very creative florist, assembled all of our arrangements on site. We ordered all of the candles ourselves and delivered them to Libby so she could arrange them the morning of the wedding.
All of the big arrangements were on the platform at the front of the chapel… just underneath the striking pipe organ. We wanted there to be some sort of “wall of trees and greenery” when the guests entered the chapel and wanted to turn off the chapel lights and have soft lighting. The wall of trees created a little bit of a barrier that we needed to break up the one room chapel. When you enter the chapel you’re just in the chapel. There’s not a foyer or holding area, so we needed to create this wall so the guests wouldn’t see me or the bridesmaids before our grand entrance. We ordered about 25 palms from a local nursery and had them uplit to create a pretty glow in the chapel. They were placed at the back of the chapel and around the sides in front of the gorgeous windows. It was a 6:00 ceremony, so the sun was starting to set through the massive windows just as the ceremony began. The lighting turned out to be perfect.
All of the gorgeous candles
To create this look, Libby attached white orchids to the branches using floral tape.
The full platform
Todd and I saw the ceremony as the one opportunity for people to see who we were and feel the love between us and our families. I carefully selected music that meant a lot to me. The prelude consisted of Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Someone to Watch Over Me, Nessun Dorma, and Greensleeves, all beautiful melodies and childhood favorites. I walked down the aisle to Highland Cathedral on the piano and then the beautiful, big pipe organ joined in for a really loud, lump in your throat, I’m about to cry just writing about it, sound. My cousins and a family friend performed a trio of Shine on Us and another family friend sang The Prayer. Our recessional was Oh Happy Day and was a very joyous, lively moment.
At the point in the ceremony where the minister (a close family friend) asked my dad, “Who gives this woman to be married?”, my mom and Todd’s parents joined us at the front. The musicians began to play Somewhere Over the Rainbow very softly as a recording of my mom’s voice came over the sound system saying, “Dear Erin…” All four of our parents recorded very sweet messages to us about how they’d prayed we’d find the perfect person and how happy and proud they were of us. It was so touching to hear what they had to say. I knew that this was coming, but we hadn’t rehearsed it at the rehearsal because we wanted the messages to stay meaningful. I guess I failed to warn the bridesmaids that it was coming because I looked up and they were all bawling. Todd and I also wrote letters to the minister about what we loved about each other and what it was like when we first met and on our first date. We didn’t share this with each other and it was really special to hear him share those things with us.
A lot of people told us later that they got a wonderful sense of love and that they knew from what they heard in that ceremony that we were meant for each other.
The view from the back of the chapel during the ceremony.
* all images by Kelly Moore Photography