Today’s real wedding was beautiful and full of love. Meredith and Hunter exchanged their vows at the LSU AgCenter and Botanical Gardens in Baton Rouge. We especially LOVE their alternative donut wedding cake! Enjoy this Blue and Green Garden Wedding in Louisiana. Xoxo, Jessica
Meredith + Hunter
November 17th, 2018
LSU AgCenter and Botanical Gardens | Baton Rouge, LA
What was your final wedding budget? Please provide a budget breakdown.
We didn’t stick to a hard budget. We wanted a nice wedding, but knew we didn’t want to blow our savings on one day. Our total guest count was about 125 people total and our total spent was about $22,000.
Wedding coordinator – $1500
Wedding venue – $5000
Food/bar – $4000
Photographer – $3200
Rentals/lighting – $3000
Hair/makeup – $1200
Flowers – $550
Invitations – $800
Dress – $1500
How did you meet?
Hunter and I met through my brother! Mitchell invited me to go to a beer festival with him one night in New Orleans. I had nothing better to do so I went along. He asked me if I minded if we met some of his friends there, and I said no problem! Well, Mitch’s friend brought a friend too. And his name was Hunter 🙂
What is your proposal story?
About 6 months after we officially started dating, Hunter and I’s relationship went long distance. He got a good job offer in California and we vowed to make it work. Hunter was able to score a great deal on flights one weekend in October. He took the red-eye from Los Angeles, and we planned to spend a great weekend together in Baton Rouge. I’d been teasing him about rings, but he promised me the jeweler said it wasn’t ready yet and even sent me text screenshots to prove it!
So I went about making plans with some of his friends to catch up at dinner. Hunter asked if we could go a little early to walk around and play Pokemon Go -one of our favorite games! So we’re outside and I sit down on a bench with my nose in my phone. Hunter asks me “What’s that next to you?” I casually glance over and say “I don’t know, I didn’t put it there.” He goes on, “No, Meredith. What does it say?” And on the bench next to me was a book and on the back cover read ” Will you marry me?” I glance back up, and he is on his knee asking me to marry him!
Hunter had written a poem for me EACH DAY he had been away in California and had them printed in a beautiful book he used to propose to me! His brother Connor had snuck off before us to plant the book. I cried and said, “Is this for real?!” Truly magical.
Tell us a bit about your wedding vision.
Hunter and I agreed we wanted a slightly relaxed wedding style. We researched tons of venues in the Baton Rouge area and once we came across the LSU Botanic Gardens we were sold. It’s a beautiful and versatile venue! I loved that part of our day could be spent walking around the beautiful rose gardens and our ceremony could be inside the beautiful, yet slightly more formal Orangerie building. Blue has always been my color so it was heavily incorporated in our bridesmaids’ dresses and tuxes. Hunter and I did a great job of choosing things and sticking with our gut. No second guesses!
Tell us about your attire choices.
I was never one of those girls who dreamed about her wedding day and knew exactly what she wanted her wedding dress to look like. When it came to the time to start looking for a dress, I made 2 appointments at local boutiques. I went into the appointments with an extremely open mind as to the style! My thought process was the women who work here literally do this for a living. They see tons of dresses and body types and can probably tell me more about what will suit me best than I can. So me and my bridesmaids had a fun afternoon trying on several different styles, but what we found worked best for me was a dress that covered what I wanted to cover, but definitely showed off what I wanted to show off 😉 I felt like it was a modest, yet modern dress and was surprisingly comfortable! Once I tried the dress on with a cathedral length veil I was absolutely sold.
Hunter’s attire was a bit simpler. We went to our local tux shop, Squires, and had a good experience looking at and trying on suits. Hunter ended up choosing a classic black and white tux. The bowtie was a nice touch too!
What was most important to your two while planning? Was there anything you chose to splurge on or skip?
We decided on 2 very important things very early on in the planning process:
1. We needed an EXCELLENT photographer. After all, pictures are the one thing you get to keep from this day!
2. An open bar. We wanted to make sure our guests had an excellent night! Not just celebrating our wedding, but a night out with their spouse, family, etc. Having happy, smiling guests made for great photos 🙂
Early on, I did have to do a little bit of convincing to get Hunter on board with a wedding coordinator. Again, my thought process was, I’ve never planned a wedding or been involved in any of this. If we’re going to do this one time, we better do it right and get a professional! And to this day, I think this was our best “splurge” – if you can even call it that! I’d say it was a necessity. To this day, Hunter still says that getting Randi on our team was the #1 best decision we made.
What were your favorite parts of the day?
My favorite part was definitely the first look. It’s such an anticipated moment. So full of emotion. I would always recommend doing this to any of my friends. We wrote personal vows we shared during this moment and the look on Hunter’s face when he saw me for the first time will always stick with me. I’d never felt so loved.
My next favorite moment was probably doing sunset pictures right after our ceremony. Our amazing photographer whisked us off to the rose gardens while everyone else made their way over to the reception. For about 15 minutes, it was just me and Hunter smiling and giggling, completely ecstatic to be newly married! It made for some of the best pictures of the day.
Tell us about your wedding flowers.
Wedding flowers were so easy for us. We decided this wasn’t a feature of our wedding we wanted to splurge on, so we explored other options. We came across Something Borrowed Blooms and immediately agreed that they were who we would go with! The hardest part of the whole thing was deciding which collection we wanted to use! The rental process couldn’t have been easier. They covered everything from my bouquet, a toss bouquet, corsages, you name it! At the end of the night, our coordinator boxed them all up and sent them back! They looked (and smelled!) beautiful!
Tell us about your wedding cake.
When we were in the planning stages, I came across some pictures online of a couple who had doughnuts at their wedding. And if you know one thing about me, you know I LOVE doughnuts. We were pretty lucky that there was an amazing local doughnut shop near us and they were totally on board and excited about working with us! Hunter picked out about 4 flavors and we thought they would look great on a tiered stand. The extras we used as favors! After we decided on the doughnuts, we worried we would miss out on the classic ‘cutting the cake’ moment. So to remedy this, we got a small cake to go on the top tier that we could actually cut and get our obligatory cutting the cake pictures 🙂 When I saw it all set up on the wedding day, I couldn’t have been happier! It looked amazing!
What did you do for favors?
For favors, we kept it pretty simple. We ordered extra doughnuts and had personalized bags for people to take them home. Who doesn’t love an edible favor?!
Do you have any advice for couples planning their weddings now?
The best advice we could give engaged couples – HIRE A WEDDING COORDINATOR/PLANNER. These people do this for a living and have TONS of advice and resources for you! They truly want this to be YOUR day, and if you’re lucky enough to have one as good as ours, they will bend over backward to make your wedding dreams come true.
Photography: Brittany Bruce Photography • Venue: LSU AgCenter Botanical Garden • Event Planning: Poppy Lane Events • Floral: something borrowed blooms • Stationery: Invito Bella • Wedding Cake: Counterspace Baton Rouge • Rentals: Doug Olinde Event Rentals • Linens: Nuage Designs • Hair: Verde Beauty Studio • Makeup: Verde Beauty Studio • Doughnuts: Tiger Deauxnuts • DJ: Party Time Productions • Catering: Fuzzy’s Taco of Baton Rouge • Catering: CURBSIDE BURGERS • Wedding Dress: Ashley Renee Bridal • Bride’s Shoes: Blue by Betsey Johnson • Bridesmaid Dresses: David’s Bridal • Submitted via: Matchology
Editor’s note: Due to the pandemic, some of the general wedding planning advice we share may not be applicable or possible due to restrictions on events. Please adhere to all current regulations and stay safe and healthy! Get more pandemic wedding resources here.