I’ve been subtly (and not-so-subtly) letting Lara know that I think we need a live-in office mascot of the furry variety. I’ve had my mind set on a golden lab with a blue seersucker bow tie collar, but after seeing the handsome ring bearer at Kristal + Johnny’s wedding, I think we may have to go for a pig, instead!
Kristal + Johnny were pros at including their family in the small details of their big day. I especially love that Kristal surprised her momma with a mother-daughter dance and that Johnny’s best man was his father. Their pot-bellied pig, Hamilton, even got a little more time in the spotlight at the reception — K + J named their signature drink after him! We’re giving giant hugs to Kristyn Hogan for sharing this wedding with us.
Describe your wedding flowers: I had a bouquet using all fresh flowers in shades of blush, champagne, and cream for a soft, romantic look. This included garden roses, peonies, and wax flowers. The bouquet was tied with burlap, a handkerchief handed down from my great-grandmother, and a brooch handed down from my Nana.
We had a long engagement (over two years), so I had plenty of time to find the perfect dress. I visited several bridal stores in Tennessee trying on at least 100 dresses. I envisioned an all lace, strapless gown but ended up with something a little different. My Mom and Nana were with me the day I went to The White Room. I put on my dress, walked out to them, and we all started crying together. I loved the corset back, how it was fitted through the hips, and the multiple layers of tulle. I knew right then and there this was the one!
Initially, I was going back and forth with the idea of doing a “first look,” but I am so happy we decided to do one. Seeing Johnny before the wedding made me so much more relaxed when walking down the aisle. I loved that it was a special moment only between me and him, and that it was captured from afar by the videographers and photographers. I also had a first look with my dad. I gave him his gift, a custom made picture frame with the lyrics of our father-daughter dance, “I Loved her First” by Heartland.
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? My vows to Johnny: “Today, I want to make a promise to you and to myself — in front of God, our family, and our friends — to give you my love, laughter, and commitment for the rest of my life. I promise to love you in good times and in bad with all of my heart. I will love you for who you are, and help you to become all that you can be. One of the things that I love about you most is your ability to make me smile even when I’m having a bad day. I promise to laugh with you often and to try and make you as happy as you’ve made me. I promise to put our marriage first and to stand by your side no matter what challenges we may face. I promise to respect you as your own person, and to realize that your interests, desires, and needs are no less important than my own. I promise to always be faithful and to communicate with honesty and with tenderness. Johnny, we have been dating for over nine years, which means I’ve been waiting to marry you, my one true love, for one third of my life! I’ve been looking forward to this day for what seems like forever and I can’t wait to spend eternity with you, my husband.”
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? My grandmother read scripture from Colossians 3:12-17: “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” I thought this scripture was a good reminder for how a husband and wife should live their lives and treat each other.
How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. (From the groom) It seems like yesterday. I was a college art student flying home from New York City for Christmas break. I was so anxious to get home, not really thinking that as soon as my brother’s silver Durango pulled up, my life as I knew it would change. I hopped in and saw Kristal — she was absolutely stunning, beautiful both inside and out. Instantly, I tried to be as clever as possible, wanting every comment to be funny with a flirtatious tone. Thankfully, it worked. As my brother and I planned to go to dinner a few nights later, I hounded him to invite Kristal. When he hesitated, I distinctly remember grabbing the phone, pleading for her to join us. It is that giddy feeling, that constant need to keep her smiling that has never left, and it never will.
Describe the proposal. It all started when Johnny opened his big mouth in front of my mom and dad. He said, “I wouldn’t even think of proposing to your daughter until I shoot a buck in Tennessee!” I knew then, with Johnny, being a city boy and never having hunted before, that I would be old and gray before ever walking down the aisle! However, a few days later, he did the impossible! He killed his first buck. I knew exactly what that meant and patiently (or maybe impatiently) waited for that special day to come. Four months later, on May 4th, my family met Johnny’s family at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida, for a night of fun. After dinner, as we walked toward the casino, we stopped and listened to the band play Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire.” When the song ended, the lead singer asked if anyone named Kristal was in the audience. I thought for sure it had to be someone else, so I didn’t budge. That is, until Johnny took my hand and led me up the stairs of the stage, grabbed the microphone, got down on one knee and PROPOSED! I was so excited, I started saying “yes, yes, yes” before he could even finish!
In what month did you get married? May
How many guests attended your wedding? 111
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding. My dad, mom, and I walked down the aisle to a live guitarist and violinist playing Pachelbel’s Canon in D. Hearing that song gives me goosbumps every time! We walked back as husband and wife to the traditional recessional of The Wedding March. Our first dance was to Ray Lamontagne’s “You are the Best Thing.” My dad and I danced to Heartland’s “I Loved Her First” and my mom and I danced to Carrie Underwood’s “Mama’s Song.”
Describe your wedding cake or dessert: The wedding cake was a four-tiered, traditional white cake with raspberry filling and cream cheese frosting. The groom’s cake was a tiered cannoli tower with a chocolate cake on top. The groom’s cake topper consisted of several wooden pieces of New York City’s most influential buildings, imitating one of our favorite views, the New York City skyline.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Having our beloved potbellied pig, Hamilton, walk down the aisle with the junior groomsman and junior bridesmaid. Also, Johnny painted a beautiful 40” x 50” oil canvas of Cedarwood to be used in place of the guest book. We now have it hanging in our new home and are reminded daily of how blessed we are.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We got married in Nashville, Tennessee, at Cedarwood. Our overall wedding theme was “Burlap and Bling.” From the burlap runners and chair ties, to the sparkling mason jars filled with candles and hanging from the trees, our wedding was very Southern. We even served our signature cocktail, “The Hamilton,” in mason jars!
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What is the one thing you are most happy you splurged on? Without question, our wonderful and talented videographers and photographer. Our wedding flew by in no time. There were so many little moments that we missed, but they were captured on film for us to see and remember for many years to come.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? There were so many, but saying our own personal vows was a very special moment. It gave us the opportunity to speak from our hearts and make promises to each other that we feel will make our marriage strong and everlasting. Another was surprising my mom with a mother-daughter dance to our song, “Mama’s Song” by Carrie Underwood. My mom is my best friend and I can’t thank her enough for her unconditional love and support. Lastly, the best man’s toast from Johnny’s dad was incredible and a moment that we will always cherish. His dad has such a way with words – he made the entire audience laugh, cry, and smile!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Allow yourself to be emotional. I was so afraid of being an “ugly crier” and ruining my pictures, that I held it all in. It wasn’t until Johnny and I were on the plane to our honeymoon in Napa Valley that I let it all out. I burst into tears from being so overwhelmed from everyone’s love, and how perfect the day went, and how fast it all went by.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? We just moved into our new home in Auburn, Alabama. I recently graduated veterinary school and got accepted into a small animal internship program at Auburn University. My ultimate goal is to become a board certified veterinary oncologist. Johnny has been blessed with enough work to make his dream come true of becoming a freelance graphic designer, allowing him to work from home. Our ultimate goal is to settle down in the wonderful city where we married, Nashville.