This Southern fall wedding at The Oaks at Salem is GORGEOUS!! I’m in love with the deep purple bridesmaid dresses, fall-inspired bouquets, and the sweetest “dog of honor” (in the cutest flower necklace) you ever did see!! The combined rustic and vintage details are a feast for the eyes — captured perfectly by the ever so talented A.J. Dunlap Photography!!
HOW THEY MET
Samantha and Rob met online via OkCupid. They were both looking to meet new people in the area and figured that OkCupid would be a good way to do it. Rob likes to say that he was about to cancel his profile when he saw Samantha and knew he had to reach out.
Their first date was at a bowling alley bar in a popular part of town. When Samantha walked up, Rob was waiting outside with a bouquet of purple and white daisies. She absolutely loves getting flowers and thought it was the sweetest thing for him to do.
And though she bowled terribly, it was a great first date because they didn’t have to just sit and awkwardly talk to each other. In fact, they were having so much fun, they decided to grab dinner after. And then, before they knew it, the place was closing!
Their first kiss was a few days later, at Samantha’s car, after their second date. But they were interrupted by a homeless person asking for money! Samantha had never seen a man react so quickly… Rob just wanted to get the guy to leave so he could keep on kissing her!
Shortly after they started dating, Samantha was in the car with her parents (on the way to a wedding actually) when she said she was going to marry Rob. She isn’t the type of person to say things like that and her mom almost drove off the road! She was shocked, but knew that for Samantha to say something like that must mean that their relationship was something special.
A few weeks after that (3 months into their relationship), Rob tore all the tendons and ligaments in his ankle and basically couldn’t do anything for himself (like drive or walk) for a month. To say that this put a strain on their relationship would be an understatement, but it really proved to both of them that they were in it for the long haul.
Rob’s family (including his six brothers and sisters) planned a summer vacation in Vail, Colorado (a place they used to visit when they were growing up). It was to be Samantha’s first time to Colorado, and Rob was excited to show her some of the most memorable places from his childhood.
On their third day in Vail, they went for a long (20 mile!) bike ride that left Samantha completely exhausted. But Rob wanted to go visit a garden on the other side of town later that day. Samantha fought him hard, but he eventually wore her down.
After exploring the garden for a little while, Rob led Samantha to a bench and showed her the scrapbook he’d put together of their relationship. At the end of the scrapbook was a photo of their dog with a sign around her neck that said, “Will you marry my daddy?”
I remember pieces of our wedding, especially up through the ceremony, but after the ceremony is a complete blur. What I really remember most is just how happy I was and how calm I felt. There weren’t any butterflies, and all the stresses and drama that had happened throughout the process just melted away. It made me realize again just how much Rob and I are meant to be together.
I have so many favorite moments, but I think two really stand out the most. The first was when our officiant pronounced us man and wife, and our dog Stella, who was my dog of honor, barked! It was like she knew what had happened and had to celebrate!
My second favorite moment was my brother-in-law’s best man toast! He is such a natural in front of crowds and so funny. He had us all rolling, but was so incredibly sweet with his final sentiment—that he wished Rob hadn’t shown up so he could have married me. It touched me so much!
Our first dance song was “I Like To Be With Me When I’m With You” by Drew Holcomb and The Neighbors. We knew we wanted a unique song and this one was just so us. It’s about how being with the other person makes you better as an individual and that is exactly how we feel about each other.
Our wedding really turned out better than I ever could have hoped for. There were really no surprises—other than the fact that I didn’t have nearly enough time to talk to everyone at the reception. After weeks of rain on Saturdays, we got the most beautiful North Carolina fall day. Everyone had an amazing time, and really, I couldn’t have asked for anything better!
HOW THEY BALANCED LIFE, LOVE, WORK & WEDDING PLANNING
Balancing everything is always a struggle, whether you’re planning a wedding or not. But when you add wedding planning on top of everything else, it gets even more difficult. Make sure to spend some time with your fiancé not talking about your wedding. I know that everyone says that, but I don’t think you realize how hard it is until you’re in the thick of it!
First off, I would say, if it’s in your budget, hire a wedding planner! My planner did such a great job and handled so many things for me. I know I wouldn’t have been as relaxed if it hadn’t been for her!
Secondly, hire people you trust and let them do their job! This is key. Take the time to find vendors whole style and vision matches your own and then don’t micromanage them. They are professionals who you are paying good money to do their job. If you hired them, you should trust them to do it well!
Lastly, think about how you want your wedding day to be, especially the morning of. I have so many friends who wanted to save money by having their family members do things the morning of the wedding. If you are ok with this, go for it! But I knew that I wanted my mom and family to be spending time with me and enjoying the moment, so I sprung for things like delivery and set-up, and it was worth it.
ADVICE FOR COUPLES
I am probably the wrong person to ask about relationship advice, but I really think one of the best things is to be open and honest about who you are and what you need. If you aren’t honest about yourself and your needs, you’re never going to be happy in your relationship. Now, this is A LOT easier said than done, but it’s something that I try to live by.
Congratulations, Samantha and Rob, and thank you so much for sharing your love story with us!! Wishing you both much love and laughter in the many years you’ll share together!! So many thanks to A.J. Dunlap Photography for sharing their very special day with us today!!