Certified Coordinated Bride Tiffany

Journal Entry #1

From Ring to King

Hello fellow brides, wives, bride squads, and little girls planning their dream wedding! Hello all! My name is Tiffany Merridith Farrell, but I will soon have the honor of reintroducing myself as the new Mrs. James Joseph King!

When I was 3 years old, I served as my cousin’s flower girl and since that day, I’ve fallen asleep every night to dreams of the day I would marry my Prince Charming … or should I say King? I am so fortunate to have found a man who treats me like his queen but I’m not sure that he had much of a choice! Soon after we started dating, I became a state titleholder in a national pageant system and so he jumped head first into the world of gowns, butt glue and of course, crowns.

How We Met:

I auditioned for my first professional dance team on my 19th birthday, just days after my high school boyfriend and I broke up. If that wasn’t hard enough on my teenage heart, I didn’t make the team. While I was on my way home, I stopped by my friend Jillian’s house. As it was, her boyfriend was over and being overly affectionate with her… cue the waterworks! Blinded by my tears and deafened by my sobs, I didn’t look twice at his friend that kindly wished me a happy birthday.

A few weeks later, Jillian asked if I would go to the dog park with her and a friend. Little did I know, it was the boy who wished me a happy birthday in attempt to get to know me. Later that afternoon, she texted me and asked if she could give the boy my number. As it was, he was too afraid to text me which I found to be silly as he was older and yes, I’ll admit it, handsome (not that I was looking). I decided that since I wasn’t interested in him, or in any relationship, that I could text him and we could be friends. Fast forward a few weeks and we started following each other on Instagram, liking each other’s photos and hanging out with our mutual friends until the night we were sitting at Jillian’s kitchen table when he leaned in to kiss me. I didn’t move away. I was shocked with myself. It wasn’t until after I skipped home like a little girl that I reminded myself that I was not interested in dating.

I honestly tried to get rid of him after that. I asked him to attend my dance recital and he showed up with flowers. I had him come over for Sunday dinner with my grandparents and he still called the next day. And then he asked. He asked if I would go out with him and of course my answer was no! I didn’t want to wear my heart on my sleeve for someone nor did I want to date knowing that I could get hurt again. But, he pursued me. And on the fourth time he asked me to go out with him I finally said “sure.” His persistence is what stood out to me. It is a quality that I admire and so I found my heart leading me into the unknown. I told my friends, but mostly myself, that it was a summer fling yet in my heart I hoped it would be different.

How He Proposed:

Five years and 16 days, an apartment, a cat, a few vacations and many laughs later…James is a history teacher and I grew up in a family that encouraged my appreciation of history. James and I really don’t have much in common, aside from our love for the NY Islanders and hiking, but we both enjoy visiting historical landmarks, old estates and anything that provides us the opportunity to share time and knowledge.

One Tuesday, when we were driving on the William Floyd Parkway to visit with my uncle, I noticed a sign that said “William Floyd Estate this way.” I asked James what he knew about William Floyd and he said, “I think he signed the Declaration of Independence.” He was right and when I asked if we could go for a tour that weekend, James was interested as well!

When we go visit these sites, like the Vanderbilt Mansion or the Shaffer Phipps House at Westbury Gardens, we dress up as if we’re going “house hunting,” as James likes to call it and so when he said to wear my new white sun dress, I thought nothing of it. When my Grammy told me to wear my white monogrammed sun hat I didn’t think anything of that either… the two matched beautifully!

I had no idea that James asked Jillian to go to my uncle’s house early that Sunday morning to get his camera, bring it to the William Floyd Estate and give it to Denise, one of the park rangers, who James had been emailing with the past three days. It felt like any other last minute weekend plan since I suggested it and I suspected nothing!

After our tour, James was interested in looking at the front of the house. There, we were met by a park ranger who said that she was taking photos to add to the estate’s website. When James said “of course,” I was a little shocked as I am the more outgoing one in our relationship but I posed for the picture with him. After she took the first photo, she asked if I could move closer to the camera and when I looked back at James to find out why he wasn’t listening to her request, he was down on one knee with my dream ring… a six prong solitaire on the thinnest band and boy did he spoil me rotten!

I was too busy looking at his sweet face to realize that I couldn’t even see the ring because the ring box wasn’t facing me! He didn’t say much and neither did I. I couldn’t speak for a few minutes because I was in shock and then the tears set in which delayed my words again. I suppose I nodded yes because he slid the most perfect ring on my finger and the park ranger along with other onlookers cheered as he hugged me like he would never let go.

How We Are Planning:

Since I have been dreaming up my wedding day since I was so young, we hit the ground running with the intention of creating a day that would represent our relationship and our love. I pray for a marriage as beautiful as our wedding day will be. We quickly decided on a two year engagement so that financially and esthetically we would have the ability to craft our perfect day.

June is very significant to us. We stated dating in June, we got engaged in June and so it only felt right to get married in June. We are also both teachers and getting married in the summer works nicely with our schedule. This way, we can take our honeymoon immediately following our big day and not have to abandon our students for weeks at a time! It also gives us the summer together to bask in our newlywed bliss!

When I say we hit the ground running, we were sprinting! We booked our venue only 10 days after we got engaged and that started our 724 day countdown to June 30, 2018! During one of our trips to visit my grandparents at their home in Bluffton, South Carolina, we discovered that there was an old cotton plantation, Rose Hill Mansion, located only a few miles down the road which was restored and offered daily tours. From our proposal story, you can tell that this sparked our interest. From the moment we stepped out of the car we were both in awe. James looked at me and said that if we were to get married, that would be the place he would want to host the celebration. I couldn’t have agreed more! And so only days after the proposal, we called Rose Hill and set the date!

Although my grandparents live in Bluffton, they aren’t familiar with the wedding vendors and so I took out my phone, opened the Instagram app and started my search for all things relevant to the hash tags #LowCountryWedding, #HiltonHeadWedding and #SavannahWedding. Social media is an incredible resource for the modern day bride (insert praise about @TheCoordinatedBride HERE) and it connected me with the most personable, outgoing and kindhearted wedding photographer, Jennifer, owner and lead photographer of JB Marie Photography. From there, Instagram also helped us to find our baker, Cakes by Lou, our florist, Flowers by Lauri, our caterer who is bringing to life our dream menu of southern comfort food (stay tuned over the next few months for the details but I’ll tell you that there will be pulled pork and sweet tea) Jim ‘N Nicks BBQ, and our rental company, Amazing Tent Rentals who will furnish the grounds surrounding the mansion to bring to life the ballroom of ancient oak trees.

I absolutely can’t wait to share the creative ideas and details of our wedding with you! Over the next few months I will cover all things bridal from how we asked our bridal party, the two groups of girls standing with me on my big day, the day I found my dress over a year ago, the cotton in our floral arrangements to honor the history of the plantation and the people who called it home, how my fiancé picked our stationary, the old southern traditions we are incorporating from the cake pull to burying the bourbon, the educational tour of the mansion during cocktail hour given by historians, what it’s like planning a “destination wedding” of sorts and how we celebrate being engaged every day as we prepare to embark on the lifelong journey ahead of us upon participating in the sacrament of marriage… and everything in between. I’ll even share my packing list, itinerary and details from our Mediterranean honeymoon!

Our wedding will be romantic and timeless but we feel that it is unique as we focus specifically on making the little details representative of us and our love. I like to call our style “antique classic with a hint of glamour.”

I hope our story and our planning encourage you as the coordinated brides of 2017 have inspired me!  I don’t want y’all to miss a thing as we go #FromRingToKing this June!

XO Tiffany Merridith

Photography Courtesy of JBMarie Photography