Being a Bride: Amanda

Amanda is one of my sorority sisters and best friends; she was also in my wedding! It was so fun having weddings back to back. I also was able to help with some of the ring shopping and picking out, which was so much fun and such an honor.

  Amanda M. (Sharp) Johnson
Groom:  Jared A. Johnson
Wedding Date:  July 9th, 2016
Total number in wedding party: 16 (7 bridesmaids, 7 groomsmen, 1 flower girl, 1 ring bearer)
Total guests: 250
Ceremony: Marsh front in Darien, GA
Reception:  The Darien House, Darien, GA

How you met, and the proposal: 
Well of course Jared and I both have different stories on how we met. My first-time meeting Jared, he was my pledge ride and I remember thinking how cute he was, how he was from a southern town close to mine, and how he was a football player, all a Win-Win! I of course attempted to talk to him the entire trip, and asked if he knew a girl I had grown up swimming with, in which he proceeded to tell me this girl was his ex-girlfriend. So of course, the truck got silent, and that’s how that awkward trip ended.

Both of our encounters were due to our best friend and best man, James Kelly, and he was also the reason for re-introducing me to Jared at an Open House at Georgia Southern. We were friends for several years, and our senior year that friendship developed into a relationship.

Jared and I had a very unconventional proposal. We had been dating about three years, and were both living/working around Brunswick, GA. The prior summer, we had talked about me applying and going back to graduate school to study nurse anesthesia. Sadly, this is not a program that can be completed online, and we were going to need to move to wherever I got in. This was extremely scary as one of the places I applied was in Minnesota... a little too cold for our southern roots! I ended up getting into my dream school of Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, NC in December, and the decision was made that we were in this for the long haul.

Being from traditional families, our parents wanted us to be married before we moved and I started the fulltime two-year program. After I got my acceptance letter, our life got a little crazy. We found out I was accepted in December, and the program was going to begin in August. Jared told me to start looking at wedding venues to fit our short timeline, and while looking at one of our favorites (a location where my sister had gotten married), Jared got down on one knee! Both of our parents were there, and it was overlooking the marsh (a setting very similar to where we did get married). Due to scheduling conflicts, we were not able to have our wedding here, but had it at my parent’s house and land instead, which turned out to be wonderful! We found out I was accepted in December, engaged by February, married in July, and moved to another state by the end of July. It was a whirlwind!

What was the best bridal/pre-wedding event you attended, and why? {Read more about the fun weekend here.}

My bachelorette party was the greatest trip ever! My sister/matron of honor, Lindsey Mote, and all of my bridesmaids, really went out of their way to make this the greatest girl’s trip. I told my sister that with all of the stress of the wedding, I just wanted a low-key lake weekend. She ended up finding a house outside of Athens, GA that was on a lake, had a pool, and a bonus of a swim up pool bar; it was a dream house! They had planned every detail for the whole weekend. We were able to hang out at the house in the pool during the day with our “bring your own float” theme party, and go sing karaoke in Athens that night. It was the best weekend ever!

What was something that made your day special?

While thinking about who would do what at the wedding, we both kind of noticed there was no big role for Jared’s father. We decided very early on that instead of him sitting during the ceremony, we wanted him to officiate the wedding! His dad was thrilled, obtained his certificate online, and was able to marry us the day of the wedding. He made the ceremony very personal to us as a couple, and it is something that we love looking back on!

What was the best wedding gift you received?

When my sister got married at a coastal location, my dad handmade the arbor under which the ceremony was held. Since this was seven years ago, the arbor had of course fallen apart by the time we decided to get married. We were on such a short timeline, so this wasn’t something that I thought my dad would be able to build in time. He surprised me the week before the wedding with this beautiful, handmade, arbor that he had been working on for Jared and me to get married under. It made the perfect backdrop for our ceremony!

What was the most unique aspect about your wedding?
We ended up having the wedding at my parent’s coast house and adjoining marsh front lot. Our ceremony was on the marsh front lot, and then the reception was back in a tent in front of our house. It is a wedding site that I don’t think anyone else will ever have, and was extra special to us due to our memories at this house. It did make it a little more stressful though since we did all of the prep-work ourselves, including me mowing my ceremony site on my days off of work... I mean what bride can say that?! But in the end, it just made it that more special for us and something we will never forget! 

What inspired your wedding day?
Being on the coast, we wanted to incorporate very coastal aspects to our day. We very frequently do oyster roast at this house, and incorporated these oyster shells into our day. We had oyster wreaths on windows, had the same wreaths on our chairs, and had them tied to the silverware on all the place settings. These oyster shells made a nice memento for people to take home, and I love seeing when people use them as a Christmas ornaments! My sister is a great artist and was able to incorporate this coastal theme into our invitations with watercolors of the reception house and a map of the surrounding location. We later used these watercolors on our thank you cards as well. We were able to take wedding pictures on our dock and served shrimp and grits at our reception. We wanted to incorporate this theme in any way that we could!

Thankfully my sister is skilled in all things wedding. I mentioned that she did all of the invitation stationary, but she also did all of the flowers…and did them all at 8 months pregnant! She, my bridesmaids and most of my family members, made all of the table runners, bouquets, and arbor flower arrangements. It was nice to have that stress taken from me, and we saved a ton of money doing it this way! She now has her own flower company that she does weddings through (Lowell & Co out of Macon, GA) and I highly recommend her. I couldn’t have made it through the day without all of the hard work that she did! Also as a wedding present, she surprised us with snow cones at our reception! They went over great, and were an awesome way to help with the South Georgia heat!

Floral Design: Lowell & Co Floral
Photography: Ari Merritt Photography
Wedding Dress: J'Adore Bridal
Bridesmaid Dresses: Kennedy Blue 

Summer Fun & Date Ideas

This summer never really feels like its going to end to me. It is so hot. Like, so hot. As much as I hate the cold, the heat really does wear on me after an extended period. I know we have at least two more months before it even appears to cool off in the slightest, so I think I'll try to take advantage of the longer days and create some summer fun! Here's my short list of things to do, some that we've done, with my love and those I love.
  1. Braves Game | Or any kind of local team. Savannah Bananas, anyone? It's fun to go and cheer on a team together, while enjoying each others company and some yummy stadium snacks.

  2.  2. Sno-cone Run | Dublin loves their sno cones. There are two sno cone places in this town! One that just opened up and and is just too cute. Stop in for a treat with a friend or your sweet.

  3. 3. Backyard Fun | We've really enjoyed hosting family and friends throughout the summer. It's easy to throw a shindig together with a great outdoor space complete with food, tiki torches, corn hole boards, plenty of seating, and some popsicles! 
  4. Beach Trip | We're lucky enough to live just two hours from some of the closest beaches like Hilton Head or Tybee Island. But somehow, we have not made it to the beach once this summer! I think we need to head south this weekend. I love getting up early with the car all packed, picking up some cool drinks and a lunch and just worshiping the sun all day on the sand. 
  5. Drive in Movie | Surprisingly, there are a couple of drive in movie theaters sprinkled throughout the state of Georgia. CJM hasn't ever been to a drive in, but I used to go with friends in high school to one in North Georgia and it was a ton of fun. We'd pack the car full of blankets, pillows, and snacks, and head out for a flick or two. 
  6. Hour Away Surprise | This is something I do for work, called a "Mystery Trip," for a senior program that we have, but I thought it would be a fun date idea too! Take turns planning a surprise adventure that's only an hour or so away. Try a new restaurant, visit a museum or park, shop at an amazing boutique, and just see some new sights. 
  7. Long Weekend Mini Vacay | Sometimes you need a three day weekend out of town to reset and recharge. Head out a little farther from home, maybe somewhere like Charleston, Amelia Island, or a cool mountain town for a change of scenery and fun. 
  8. Lake Day | Growing up on Lake Lanier, I spent quite a few summer days in the water. Now, I'm not even really sure where the closest lake is, so I figure we should probably find that out! 
  9. Make Ice Cream at Home | Did you used to make ice cream at home as a child? We would always make peach ice cream! I remember waiting what felt like forever for the creamy goodness to be ready. Why not try it as an adult? Different flavors and recipes {thanks, Pinterest!} make the options endless. 
  10. Learn to cook something unique like sushi | For Christmas, I bought CJM a sushi making kit and cookbook. We never got to use it though, because almost immediately after Christmas I began packing up our house in preparation of our move! Summer is the perfect time to pull that out. I hate cooking in the summer. I feel so hot and yucky after I get home, and don't want to turn on the stove and make the house any hotter. Sushi is the perfect cool way to cook dinner for the fam. And when making it at home, you can make it low carb leaving out the rice! 
  11. Be the bartender and practice making a new cocktail | With so many fresh fruits and herbs available during the summer, try your hand at a new cocktail concoction! Blackberry mojitos, raspberry margaritas, or even the tried and true Popsicle from the freezer dunked in a glass of champagne!
  12. Spend evenings unwinding together on the porch | Take that cocktail and head out to the front porch or screened in deck out back to cool off during the evening after work. It's nice to slow down, spend a few moments together, and reconnect during the week. 
  13. Decorate a space together | As we're still settling into our new home, there's always a project or something that needs to be done. Oh the joys of home ownership! Take some time to work on a project together like hanging pictures at just the right height, shopping for a new piece of furniture, or painting a room. 
  14. Go for a drive as the sun sets |  Swing through Sonic {1/2 price milkshake after 8 p.m.!} and pick up a cool beverage before hitting the road chasing the setting sun. It's so fun to just ride through the country listening to your favorite songs with the windows down and sunroof open. It's the little things, y'all!