Pepper + Wesley | Southern Romantic Natchez Wedding

Sep

24

There are some couples that you just instantly connect with and feel like you’ve been friends with for years. Pepper and Wesley are one of those couples that is so kind and welcoming that it’s hard not to feel like you’re instant friends with them. Like so many others, because of COVID, they were forced to slash their guest list down to an intimate micro-wedding; however, it shot so beautifully and was so intimate and romantic that we feel confident it went exactly the way God intended it to go.

We love you guys, and we hope that everyone enjoys this wedding feature as much as we do!

“I always hoped that I would one day get married, but I never quite really knew where it would take place or what it would look like. The one thing I did dream about and pray about was the man I would marry. I actually had a checklist of around 20 qualities that I wanted in my future husband. I made this years ago and honestly forgot about it. A couple of weeks before the wedding, I was able to track it down in an old journal. It came as no surprise to me that Wesley fit every item on that checklist! Wesley’s wedding gift was a scrapbook I have been working on since we first met, highlighting fun moments and memories from our first text together to our wedding day. I actually included this list from my journal in his letter in the front of the scrapbook.” – Pepper

“Our wedding day would have been the 100th birthday of my grandmother, who I was named after. Though she was not there physically, I knew she was spiritually. I chose to wear her diamond and pearl earrings in memory of her on this special day. Additionally, I was able to carry my other grandmother’s gold and diamond cross, in memory of her as well.” – Pepper

“Wesley and I actually met through our fathers. Both grew up knowing each other and were acquaintances. When I moved to Oxford for grad school, my dad encouraged me to meet Mr. Peyton (Wesley’s Father), who lived in Oxford, to have someone I knew in the town if I needed anything.

Then one day, I had a voicemail from Mr. Peyton himself asking me to supper. I had a prior commitment, so we had to reschedule for another day. Though I felt bad for rescheduling, it turned out to be a good thing! Wesley ended up coming with us to supper on our rescheduled date. I told all of my friends that I was ‘going to supper with a guy and his dad.’ It sounds weird at first if you really think about it. However, it was the complete opposite of that! I arrived early to McEwan’s, the restaurant Mr. Peyton decided on, while the two of them showed up a little behind schedule. (I like to mess with both of them now about this!) When Wesley walked in the door, I knew it was him, as I had seen some photos of him before. (Yes, just like every Millenial, I looked him up on social media before the dinner.) I immediately remember thinking, ‘Gosh, they are SO tall!’ We introduced ourselves, and they let me sit down on one side of the booth first. Mr. Peyton, quick on his feet, sat on the other side while also making sure he took up the whole booth, so Wesley was forced to sit beside me! Hey, I wasn’t complaining!

I enjoyed talking to both of them that night and was really intrigued by Wesley- this guy who was about to go to school to become a hunting guide in Montana. I knew I wanted to hang out with him again! And as the story goes, I asked Wesley for his number at the end of the night. I wanted to get his father’s address so I could write him a thank-you note for supper. I guess you could say I made the first move? Regardless, that first text to him in which I asked him for his father’s address led to a fishing date, and here we are today!” – Pepper

“The first time Wesley and I ever hung out alone together, he invited me to go fishing. Lucky for him, spending time outdoors is one of my favorite things to do! I wanted to seem ‘cool,’ so to speak, as well as prepared when I showed up to his house to go fishing for the first time. I told him I would pick up some crawfish to eat while we were fishing, as they were in season at the time. I drove to probably four different places in Oxford looking for crawfish, and I could find NONE! I was so sad! I knew we had to have food, so I showed up to Wesley’s house with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and apples- aka the ONLY food I could find at my house at the time. Wesley claims the PB&Js won him over on that day! For fun, we served peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at our wedding as our late-night food!” – Pepper

“After I met Wesley, we pretty much became inseparable from the start. Our first weeks hanging out consisted of lots of fishing, swimming, movie nights, and pizza dates in Oxford. We even ventured to Charleston, SC, one week not too long after we started hanging out to visit his brother and now sister-in-law. This was technically our first trip together, and we had an absolute blast! I will say, however, that we fell in love in the mountains of Montana. God very much was at work in our lives, and it is so cool to see how our paths both led us to Missoula, MT. When I first met Wesley, I knew he was heading to guide school in Missoula to learn how to pack horses and mules and guide hunting trips out West. I, on the other hand, was about to finish my first year of grad school at Ole Miss and was applying for summer internships. I have known for a while now that I wanted to work in the outdoor industry, and that spring, I began applying for internships across the country, specifically in the outdoor industry. About two weeks after I met Wesley, a woman in the industry sent me an internship listing at Backcountry Hunters & Anglers in- wait for this- Missoula, MT! I thought it was very ironic at first, but I now know that it’s not irony at all- this was all part of God’s plan. We both made many great memories together in Missoula.

From riding horses together in Big Sky Country to catching trout on dry flies in cold mountain streams, Wesley and I had the most amazing summer getting to know one another and experience new things with one another in a completely new environment. Though he was supposed to spend many more months in Montana guiding hunting trips, I am SO glad that he decided to move back South to be with me! People often ask me when was the exact moment I knew Wesley was going to be my husband. When my Dad was in the hospital, I had a very hard time. Wesley was there with me every step of the way, which brought me not only closer to him but also closer to God. After Wesley left the hospital one weekend to go back to work, I vividly remember driving in the hospital parking garage by myself thinking: this is the man God has revealed to me that I will marry. I cried that day feeling so grateful that God blessed me with the kindest and most selfless man who helps me become the best version of myself every day.” – Pepper

“Well, I actually had been envisioning the proposal from the first time I told Pepper I loved her. I obviously had no idea at the time how or when I was going to do it. I knew Pepper was not the type of girl who would rush things, and I wasn’t either, so I took my time to just enjoy our relationship as it grew with each passing day. Everything was happening just like a fairytale until April 26, 2019. Pepper’s dad, Mr. John, had just had open-heart surgery the day before, and I had just arrived in Jackson to be there for Pepper. That night, as we were falling asleep, Pepper was awoken to a phone call from her mother that Mr. John had just coded. Pepper, her brother, her brother’s wife, and I rushed to the hospital that night completely distraught at what had just happened. To keep things short, Mr. John was in the hospital and ICU for a total of roughly 75-80 days. During his time there, I remember telling him that I really needed him to come back to us because I had a very important question to ask him. I knew after the experiences Pepper and I had had together, and the love her family showed me that this was the girl I was going to marry. I asked every member of her family on Christmas Eve of 2019 if it was alright that I ask Pepper to spend the rest of her life with me. My heart was pounding with anxiety from asking each member of the family, but thankfully, I was met with a yes all around the board! Pepper and I have spent some of our best times out at my mother’s farm in Oxford, MS. That is where I decided I would ask this girl to marry me. With my brother’s help, I was able to lure her into the barn where I grabbed her by the hands, looked into her eyes, and stutteringly asked her to spend the rest of her life with me. To everyone’s surprise, she said yes! I then surprised her with a small party with her closest family and friends, where we celebrated the night away. It was a day to remember, and I will always smile every time I think of it.” – Wesley

“Last spring, my father underwent heart surgery that left him in the ICU for 78 days. During that time, he coded twice, and we know he is here today thanks to the fantastic staff at Baptist Hospital in Jackson as well as because of the prayers of so many family members, friends, and even strangers. When he was in the hospital, I remember thinking that I would never get to walk down the aisle as a bride with my father. We were told he would not make it. Having him walk me down the aisle at my wedding brought me so much joy because it reminded me of God’s faithfulness. That very thing was one of the main things that made my wedding so special.” – Pepper

“So when I got engaged on February 22, 2020, the picture in my head for my wedding could not have been more different than what actually occurred. The size of the wedding, the time of the wedding, what kind of reception we would have- I mean the list could go on- everything was very different than what I originally had pictured in my head. Yet, everything that ended up happening on our wedding day was even better than I could have EVER imagined! Like so many other brides who had to plan a wedding during a pandemic, I was forced to give up aspects of my wedding that I never thought I would have to. However, every time a plan changed, I was reminded of the whole reason I was getting married in the first place: to join in a covenant together with Wesley through God. I think in today’s world, it’s so easy to get caught up in the nitty-gritty of everything- especially wedding planning. We compare our dresses, flowers, food, cake, to thousands of photos we see on Instagram or Pinterest. We HAVE to have the most perfect day. In the midst of that, we get caught up in these worldly things and forget WHY we are getting married.“ – Pepper

“Because we have family members who fall in the high-risk category, we chose to have a small intimate ceremony, as we wanted to keep these family members healthy. I come from a large Catholic family. My mom is one of eight children. Needless to say, we have never had a small wedding in our family before. It made me sad knowing that so many of my aunts, uncles, and cousins would not make it to our special day. To make up for this, we decided to have a drive-by at our reception to allow family members and friends to see us on our wedding day. This drive-by was SO fun and ended up being a huge highlight of my wedding as I had so many family members and friends drive from all over to come wish us the best!” – Pepper

“It’s funny, because, for the most part, I feel like my engagement season and wedding were kind of untraditional for most- no bachelorette party, no engagement parties, no bouquet toss, no garter toss, no large crowd of family and friends. However, we still incorporated some traditions to make our day special! Wesley and I chose not to have a ‘first look’ before the wedding. I’ve known since Day 1 that I did not want one. It was so special as the doors opened, and I was FINALLY able to see Wesley on my wedding day. I was overcome with the most joy! I have a mental picture of that moment in my head, and I will cherish it forever. Another tradition, I guess you could say, was the Shoe Game that we played at our rehearsal supper. I had absolutely no idea what this game was. I had seen photos of friends holding up shoes at their own rehearsal dinners, which I thought was odd, but I never actually knew what they were doing. Luckily, Wesley’s sister organized this game for us at our own rehearsal dinner, and I would recommend this to anyone getting married! Because our rehearsal supper was more casual and laid back, it made for an enjoyable time and allowed everyone to learn a little bit more about us!

Another tradition that my sister had at her wedding was when she wore my mother’s wedding gown to her rehearsal supper. I, too, was able to wear my mother’s dress to my own rehearsal supper. It was a very special moment for me!” – Pepper

“For the longest time, I have always followed wedding coordinators, photographers, and florists from Spain. I do not know why, but something drew me to their style. The churches reminded me of my own at home, and the flowers were always very natural. Each bride I saw was so elegant and classy. I knew I wanted a similar feel for my own wedding. I saw pictures of brides at seated suppers with their husbands surrounded by wine, good music, lights, and natural florals. This is originally where I got my inspiration. When we selected the venue location, it honestly felt like I was in Spain. I knew my image could come alive in this setting. Though we were forced to eat under a tent due to impending rain that actually never came, I can say that every person who contributed to setting up for my wedding fully accomplished my original image in my head. I walked into both the church and reception venue absolutely amazed by everything I saw! I could not have asked for anything more! I owe it to my incredible vendors and staff for making this image come alive!” – Pepper

Maggie Louise Bridal helped me find THE dress, and I felt SO elegant in it on my wedding day. Steve at Natchez Printing Co. was so patient in helping get my invitations and programs just right! Rose crafted the most BEAUTIFUL cake, which was even better than the inspiration photo I originally sent her. John Grady Burns constantly answered text messages talking about flowers just about every day leading up to the wedding. His finished products, both at the church and the reception venue were STUNNING! Ashley at Pure Vintage Rentals was phenomenal to work with, and despite actually never meeting her in person because of COVID, she ensured that the image I had in my head came to life! My planner Becky made sure every tiny detail was taken care of, and I am so grateful for that. David Crews, our caterer, made a delicious supper for everyone to enjoy. The girls at Anruss & Co. made getting ready for my wedding SO enjoyable. JoJo, as usual, CRUSHED IT on the keys! I also need to thank our bartender/wedding coordinator, Ryan! He did a phenomenal job in making sure everyone was coordinated for the big day. Ty at Doug Olinde, LLC worked magic with the bistro lights and the tent at our venue. The finished product was absolutely stunning!

Additionally, Lisa and Christian with Frameblender Films basically became added members of my family that weekend, capturing every special moment and making sure I had everything I needed on the big day. We have already watched our preview video countless times, and we cannot wait to see the final video!

Finally, Ann-Marie and Mackenzie– WOW! They were SO fun and were sure to capture everything I asked for. Ann-Marie did an incredible job with our engagement photos, and I am so excited to see our wedding photos! They, too, became added members of my family that weekend! I would recommend them to any bride!” – Pepper

“When we were living in Montana, and Wesley and I attended Mass one Sunday morning. It was his first time he ever got to go to Mass with me. A woman at the Church asked us before the service if we would be willing to carry the gifts up. Wesley, being the selfless and giving man that he is, immediately said, ‘Yes! We would love to!’ After the woman left, I asked Wesely if he knew what he just agreed to. He had no clue. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this, during Mass, members of the Church are often asked to carry the unconsecrated bread and wine up to the priest in front of the whole congregation down the aisle. When I informed Wesley of this, he became nervous. I mean, here we were in the middle of an entire congregation of people in a huge Church in a state we had been in for only a couple of days. Despite his nerves, Wesley did just as he said he would and helped carry the gifts that day up to the altar before Jesus. It was beautiful. That day, as I was walking down the aisle with Wesley to the priest, I began to wonder if I would ever walk down the aisle again with this man. I hoped so, but I wasn’t sure! Spoiler Alert: I did, and it was the happiest day of my life!” – Pepper

Your wedding day isn’t going to be exactly perfect. Nothing is. Odds are, you will run into some problems when planning.

“Someone told me that in the planning process. And guess what? That person was right. We were thrown lots of curveballs as we planned our wedding: a pandemic, unintended rain, a faulty septic system, I mean the list goes on. Despite each one of these crazy things happening, my wedding day turned out exactly how it was supposed to, and guess what? I LOVED every second of it! I think now, all of these aspects that I stressed over for hours and hours will now just become funny stories to hopefully one day share with my future children and grandchildren.” – Pepper

Lead Photographer: Ann-Marie Wyatt | Second Shooter: Mackenzie Rue | Dress: Alyssa Kristin from Maggie Louise Bridal | Tux: The Black Tux | Cakes: Rose Bakes | Wedding Ceremony Venue: St. Mary Basilica | Reception Venue: St. Joseph Inn at Edgewood Plantation | Coordinator: Becky Fortenberry | Flowers: John Grady Burns | Invitations: Natchez Printing Co. | Rentals: Pure Vintage Rentals; Doug Olinde, LLC | Music: JoJo Hermann | Rehearsal Venue: Home of Matron of Honor and Husband | Videographer: Frameblender Films | Caterer: Chef David Crews | Hair: Anruss & Co.

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About the artistS

Taylor Square Photography is a fine art wedding studio serving the Southeastern United States and beyond. We are passionate about creating thought-provoking photographs for wonderful people.

Together, as a team of 4, Ann-Marie encourages her team to capture what means most to their clients, while honoring their day as they designed it.

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