2017-10-26 / Personalities

Abby Morgan Smith and Matthew Blake Connell exchange marriage vows September 23 in Rayle

Mr. and Mrs. Matthew Blake Connell Mr. and Mrs. Matthew Blake Connell Abby Morgan Smith and Matthew Blake Connell of Washington exchanged wedding vows in a beautiful outdoor double-ring ceremony Saturday, September 23, at six o’clock in the evening at the home of Edward and Selena Walker in Rayle. Rev. Chris Townsend of Washington officiated.

The bride is the daughter of Cissy and Scott Smith of Washington.

The bridegroom is the son of Lynn and Lee Connell of Washington.

Vows were spoken on the front porch of the beautiful antebellum home amid a setting of ferns. Black iron candleholders with white candles and magnolia leaves formed the aisle. Vintage chairs and sofas provided seating for the guests.

Lee Connell was his son’s best man. Usher-groomsmen were brother of the bride, JT Smith; Michael Pharr, Jonathon Rogers, Charlie McAvoy, Joe Rogers, Chandler Pharr, and Will Souther, all of Washington. Junior groomsmen were cousin of the bride, Hank Heard of Rayle, and cousins of the bridegroom, Noah and Wiley Perrin of Greenwood, S.C. Their attire was complemented by boutonnieres of blue thistle, green hypericum berries, and red Alstroemeria blooms wrapped in twine. The bridegroom’s boutonniere featured those flowers with added miniature sunflowers.

Bailey Echols Sawyer of Valdosta was matron of honor and Hannah Ward of Athens was maid of honor. Bridesmaids were the bridegroom’s sister, Emily Connell, and Lauren Chafin of Washington, Cynthia Sullivan of Clarkesville; cousins of the bride, Ashley Griffin and Kirby Smith of Athens; and Calleigh Simpson of Greensboro. Mattie Heard of Rayle, cousin of the bride, was junior bridesmaid.

The attendants were gowned in dusty purple maxi-dresses fashioned with modified halter necklines with semi-sheer shoulder straps and sweeping skirts in georgette which cascaded from banded waistlines. They carried hand-tied bouquets fashioned in smaller designs as the bride’s bouquet of wildflowers of miniature sunflowers, red Alstroemeria, orange dahlias, purple stock, blue thistle, pink spray roses, white Monte Casino, green hypericum berries, seeded eucalyptus, and sword fern, with sheer matching ribbon bows.

Flower girls, Emma and Ava Callaway of Washington, Bree Long of Rayle, Palmer Griffin of Bowman, cousins of the bride, and Molly Austin of Greenwood, cousin of the bridegroom, wore off-white dresses with lace ruffled tops, sleeves, and tulle skirts. They wore halos of boxwood and pink spray roses and carried baskets of rose petals.

The bridegroom’s cousin, Sawyer Perrin of Greenwood, served as ring bearer.

Escorted by her father and given in marriage by her parents, the bride was stunning in her Etoile floral appliqued crème gown. The sheer tulle panel of the deep vee-neckline bodice and the ball skirt silhouette were enhanced at the waist with a removable charmeuse sash.

She wore a beautiful headpiece of boxwood, pink spray roses, Alstroemeria blossoms, green hypericum berries, and Thumbelina zinnias.

Her French braided-stemmed hand-tied bouquet of wildflowers held miniature sunflowers, red Alstroemeria, orange dahlias, purple stock, blue thistle, pink spray roses, white Monte Casino asters, green hypericum berries, seeded eucalyptus, and sword fern with a champagne satin ribbon bow.

For special sentiment she wore the ring of her grandmother, June Smith of Washington.

For her daughter’s wedding Mrs. Smith chose a black and nude knee-length floral lace dress with three-quarter sleeves and a satin self-tie at the waist.

Mrs. Connell, the bridegroom’s mother, wore a knee-length faux wrap navy dress wth an embellished mesh neckline and silver accessories.

Their corsages mimicked the flowers in the bridal bouquet.

The grandmothers, Linda Echols of Rayle and June Smith of Washington, were presented corsages of burgundy-throated yellow cymbidium orchids.


Following the ceremony the bride’s parents entertained at an outdoor reception at the Walker home.

As guests neared the reception area, they signed cornhole boards.

Miniature lights adorned the trees, other areas for accent, and covered the ceiling of the barn lavishly decorated for the occasion with “living room” settings as well as other touches and pictures special to the bridal couple.

In the barn was the bride’s cake, a Bohemian-style cake of multiple layers each decorated in vibrant colors with flowers and hearts. The cake centered a round farm table and was surrounded by the attendants’ colorful bouquets.

The bridegroom’s sheet cake was topped with a propane gas truck in keeping with his Piedmont Propane family business.

A sweetheart table in front of a loveseat held candles and a memory table featured pictures of the couple’s grandparents as well as a picture of the bride’s softball coach, the late Scott Chafin.

The buffet held a white lattice vase of sunflowers, red Alstroemeria, green hypericum berries, spider lilies, zinnias, and Johnson grass. Tables for guests’ seating were decorated with a variety of settings that included blue Mason jars or colored bottles of wildflowers.

A DJ provided music for both the ceremony and reception.

Following a wedding trip to St. Lucia, the couple is residing in Winterville.

Rehearal Dinner

The bridegroom’s parents were hosts for a rehearsal dinner honoring Abby Smith and Blake Connell at the Washington Woman’s Club on the eve of their wedding.

Wrought iron holders with candles, white ribbon, and greenery lined the walkway to the clubhouse. Inside mantles held greenery, lanterns, yellow lilies, pink roses, and gypsophila. Light yellow cloths decorated tables with added black lanterns with magnolia leaves. Each place setting had an iced wedding cookie with a “C” monogram tied with a ribbon with a tag stating “Tomorrow will be the best day ever.”

Guests enjoyed tossed salad with steak, potatoes, green beans, rolls, and desserts of cheesecake and banana pudding.

Buckets placed outside held beverages.

The couple’s monogram was featured on an easel.

Guests included members of the wedding party, family, and friends.

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