Samantha + Eliott

How did you first meet?

My grandparents’ church and its sister church were having a picnic in the park.  This is a yearly tradition for the congregation.  This particular year, I was there with my grandmother.  At the end of the sermon, the pastor gave everyone a challenge: Introduce yourself to someone you don’t know while you are eating.  So, as I was getting some dessert at the dessert table, a red-headed woman came up to me.  She said, “I want to introduce myself, but I have an ulterior motive.”  She then introduced herself to me and began telling me all about her son!  She told me all kinds of things about what he did for a living and what he liked to do.  She then asked me all about myself.  At the end, she asked me if I might be interested in meeting him.  I figured, why not?!  I gave her my email address and phone number.  It was the best decision I ever made!

A few days later, I received an email from Eliott.  A few days after that, we went on our first date!

Where did you go on your first date?

When Eliott picked me up for our first date, it was the first time I actually met him.  When he picked me up he was wearing khaki pants, a pastel green polo, and Sperry’s.  He was very handsome.  He picked me up in his blue BMW and took me to Fulin’s Asian Cuisine.  We talked forever.  The conversation was so easy and he was such a gentlemen.  We talked about things that you probably don’t normally talk about the first time you meet someone.  But he was so easy to open up to, and he opened up to me too.  After dinner we went to Mr. K’s Used bookstore to browse around for a bit.

What do you love most about him? How did you know he was the one?

There are so many things I love about my husband.  I love how caring, genuine, generous, and kind Eliott is.  He will help anyone who asks, with a smile on his face.  I can’t count the number of times he has gone out of his way to help my grandparents with little and big jobs around their house, always with a positive attitude, never complaining.  He fixes small things before I even notice them.  He sees all the little details.  Maybe that’s why he’s so good at building things and working with his hands.  He sees all the small pieces that fit together to make something bigger.   That’s pretty cool.  Plus, he loves it! 

Speaking of my grandparents, I love watching him with our families.  When we were still dating, and I mean very early on, he would go over to my grandparents’ house to help out or just hang out, and sometimes I wouldn’t even be there.  He wanted to get to know them, and he really loves them.  Eliott puts family first.  It’s one of the first things I noticed about him.  I love watching him goof off with our niece and nephew, or my little brother and sister.  All four of those children adore Eliott.  They wrestle and play together whenever we see them.  

Which leads me to how patient Eliott is.  He is probably the most patient person I have ever met.  He seldom gets angry, and he never gives up.  I watched him the past couple of weeks try to fix his car multiple times.  He would think he had it fixed, drive it to work, and come home to tell me he was wrong.  So he would try something else until he got it right.  He isn’t afraid to fail, but he won’t give up until he succeeds.   I love this about him.

I love how open and friendly he is.  Eliott makes it look so easy to just pick up a conversation with someone.  He pushes me to talk to people I don’t know, even when I’m nervous.  There was this lady at church, that we had never met, who became a member one morning.  Eliott wanted us to go say hi to her and welcome her into the church, and so we did.  I would have had a difficult time doing that on my own.  

I love how happy and full of life he is.  He loves to be outside and is constantly making or fixing or adventuring.  I look forward to seeing his smile each day and his hugs are my absolute favorite!  Especially when there’s a kiss on my forehead to go along with it!  Eliott makes me laugh on a daily basis.  He is the calm in the storm that is my mind.  I worry way too much, my job is stressful, and my mind never stops.  It just goes from one thing to the next constantly.  Eliott gives me a sense of calm.

I love that he is a man of his word.  When my husband says he will do something, he does it.  There is no question, no doubt in my mind that there will be follow through.  I love his faith in God and his want and need to learn more.  I am so blessed to have this man in my life, and I will forever be thankful to have him by my side.

How/where did he propose?

My grandmother and I get our nails done together once or twice a month.  November 22, 2016 was one or our nail dates.  It was also the day I was supposed to take our laundry to my grandparents’ house to wash.  We lived in an apartment at the time and didn’t have a washer and dryer yet.  I got off work that day and realized I had left the laundry at home, so I had to go get it.  I let my grandmother know I would be late, and headed to the apartment.  Once I retrieved the forgotten laundry, I headed to the nail salon.  We had a great time getting our nails done, then I went back to my grandparents’ house to do laundry.  When the laundry had been in the dryer for awhile, I was ready to head home, but the clothes were still slightly damp.  I told my grandmother I was just going to take them home and air dry them the rest of the way.  It was getting late and I was tired.  She got mad at me!  I was so confused about why she was so upset, until I got home and walked into our apartment.  She didn’t want me to get home too early!  Candles lined the stairs, the walls, the counters, the entire downstairs of our apartment.  The fireplace was going, and there was a candlelit dinner on the table.  And not just candles!  There was a red table cloth and the chairs had been covered with pretty white seat covers!  There was steak and lobster mac and cheese for dinner that Eliott had made himself, and a framed poem that he had written to me.  It was the most romantic and perfect proposal I could have imagined.  He thought of all the details.  The next thing I know, Eliott is down on one knee asking me to marry him!  Of course I said yes!  Remember how I said saying yes to a date with the red headed lady’s son was the best decision I ever made?  Well, now this was the best decision I ever made!   

Describe your wedding day in full detail as you remember it. (your favorite parts, if you would change anything, how you felt the first time you saw each other, etc.)

Our wedding day was the most perfect day ever.  I woke up that morning and had breakfast with my mom in the hotel.  After breakfast we met up with my five bridesmaids to have our hair done, and then headed to the church for makeup and to get dressed.  Everyone looked beautiful and happy.  Our two flower girls, my little sister and soon to be niece, were absolutely gorgeous in their lacy dresses.  My bridesmaids wore burgundy dresses and sandals, and we all had bouquets with burgundy, white, and pink flowers.  My mom and grandmother helped me get into my wedding gown, and my bridesmaids and flower girls each helped with an accessory.  I wore the pearl necklace my parents had given me to wear on their wedding day, and the sixpence in my shoe that both my grandmother and aunt had worn on their wedding days.  My daddy wore father of the bride cuff links and a patch on his tie with a note from me. 

Once everyone was ready to go, we went outside and took photos.  In front of the church we had wooden signs with first Corinthians painted on them.  Each sign was standing on an easel leading to the front door.  When everyone was finished taking group photos, Eliott and I met at the front door, each of us on one side.  We wanted to be able to speak to one another, without actually seeing. 

We exchanged letters we had written one another, got to hold hands, and talk a little bit before the big moment.  We were both so excited!  This was such a special moment for us and I am so glad we decided to do it.  After we exchanged letters we split up again and gave some of our family members corsages and boutonnieres.  

Then it was time for the big moment! The ceremony!  Everyone lined up to walk down the aisle.  My grandparents, Eliott’s aunt and uncle, and both of our parents helped to light our unity candle.  Then it was just my dad and I left, and we got to have a special moment to ourselves.  Right before the door opened for us to walk down the aisle, I lost it and started crying.  A good cry of course!  I was so overcome with emotion and had been anticipating this moment for so long.  When the doors opened and I saw Eliott standing at the altar, all I could think about was getting to him and how excited I was to marry him.  He looked so handsome in his suit standing up there.  Our ceremony was beautiful.  It was everything we had imagined and there is not one thing I would change about it.  My aunt read first Corinthians, we lit our unity candle together, and Eliott and I served communion as our first act as a married couple.  When our pastor pronounced us as husband and wife, I was so incredibly happy!  Everyone gathered in another room to take some quick pictures and talk for a few minutes.  We took family photos in the church and then headed to the reception!

Eliott and I drove to the reception at Hunter Valley Farms in his pickup truck.  Our reception took place in the Stable part of our venue.  We had a three tier naked cake with gold pieces and flowers around it.  The inside was white chocolate with raspberry filling.  The grooms cake consisted of cupcakes with photos of Eliott arranged around the tray.  We had a pie station, a wooden guest board for people to sign that Eliott and I had made ourselves, and wedding pictures of our family members.  After the wedding party was introduced, Eliott and I had our first dance.  We danced to I Do Cherish You by Mark Wills.  I loved getting to dance with him at our reception and remember just blocking everything else out.  It was wonderful to have a moment with him and get to talk a little while we danced.  Then we had a chance to eat!  We had chicken in white champagne sauce, beef stew, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, and mixed vegetables. 

After we had a chance to eat, Eliott and I disappeared for a little while to have sunset pictures taken!  I’m so glad we did this because they turned out so pretty, and we had a good time too!  When we came back inside my dad gave his father of the bride speech, and our maid of honor and best man gave their speeches.  All three speeches were so thoughtful!  Then my dad and I got to do our Father Daughter Dance!  We started slow dancing to You Are My Sunshine.  He sang this song to me every night at bedtime when I was a little girl, and still sings it to me on my birthday every year!  Then the dance transitioned and we fast danced to Little Bitty by Alan Jackson.  We had the whole thing planned out!  Then it was time for the Mother Son Dance!  Eliott and his mom danced to a beautiful song called In Your Eyes by David Chamberlain.  We got to cut the cake next, and oh my goodness it was so delicious!  Everyone danced the rest of the night and took pictures at our selfie station!  Then it was time for the bouquet and garter toss!  Apparently you are supposed to have a fake toss bouquet for the bouquet toss.  I had never heard of this, and mine was really heavy!  So I used one of my bridesmaid’s bouquets, but I was so afraid of hitting someone with it that it kind of just fell on the floor! Oops!  At the end of the night we had a big sparkler exit, and then drove Eliott’s friend’s beautiful red Chevy Nova to the hotel!  Our bridesmaids and groomsmen had decorated it with a Just Married sign on the back and strung cans!

Our wedding day was absolutely perfect!  There were so many special moments and I would not change one single thing about it.  Even the flopped bouquet toss!  My favorite part about the whole day, was that from that day on I would get to spend the rest of my life with my incredible husband.  He makes me so happy, and I look forward to forever with him.

Where did you go on your honeymoon?

For our honeymoon we went to California.  We flew into San Francisco where we stayed to explore for a few days.  We walked everywhere!  We shopped around in Ghirardelli Square, saw the Blue Angels fly overhead, ate clam chowder in a sourdough bowl, and watched the sea lions on Pier 39.  One day we went on a wine bike tour in Napa Valley.  Eliott and I went across the Golden Gate Bridge to enjoy some ice cream in Sausalito, went on a tour of Alcatraz, and took a sunset cruise around the islands and to the Golden Gate Bridge.  After a few days in San Francisco, we rented a car and drove to Yosemite.  We stayed at Tenaya Lodge, which we recommend to everyone!  We got to see El Capitan and hiked 8.5 miles to Nevada Falls and back.  I was so sore (Eliott barely broke a sweat), but the views at the top and along the way were incredible and so worth it!  

What is your favorite thing to do together?

I love our life together.  I would not change one single thing.  There is a sense of safety, comfort, and peace in our relationship that I love.  I am so happy to just be home with Eliott.  Many nights we cook dinner together, sit at our dining room table to eat and talk together, and clean up together.  Sometimes we watch tv, or I’ll read a book while he works on one of his projects around the house or on his car.  At the same time, life is never boring.  It is full of laughter, playfulness, and adventure.  There is so much love and joy.  Eliott and I love to travel and explore new places together.  When it is warmer out, we love to be outside.  We go camping, hiking, fishing, and out on the lake together, sometimes just the two of us and sometimes with family.  

Sometimes I feel like I could burst.  I am amazed at this wonderful life with my incredible husband that God has blessed us with.  Our life is about to get so much more hectic and wonderful!  We are expecting our first child.  I cannot wait to be a mother and see what a wonderful dad Eliott will be to our new little one!

Wedding Vendors include:

Photographer: B.loved Images

Venue: First Church & The Stables at Hunter Valley Farms

Coordinator: Erin Webb & Sandra Houston

Florist: Swank Floral Design

Cake: Bee’s Knee’s

Officiant: Rachel Witt

DJ: Ogle Entertainment

Caterer: Bradford Catering

Makeup: Suzanne Clayton with Honey & Co.

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