A Simple and Chic Southern Wedding at Arlington Hall

Kensey Gilbert and Ross Rabun have a tradition: Hot Tuesday date night. Every other Tuesday, they take turns planning an evening of adventure for the other, keeping the details a surprise. Sometimes it’s a meal at a new restaurant followed by a movie. Sometimes it’s a walk that ends with ice cream and kissing. And sometimes—well, one time—it’s a marriage proposal.

The couple had gone to dinner that Tuesday night. Afterward, Ross told Kensey they were going to stop by White Rock Lake to see his brother and sister-in-law and their new puppy, but when they got to the lake, there were no relatives to be found. Instead, Ross handed his girlfriend a wrapped package. Inside was a Bible with her name engraved on it—her married name. When Kensey looked up, Ross was on one knee, asking her to be his wife.

They two met a couple of years earlier, at a happy hour. They spent their first few dates going to different churches, trying to find the environment that best fit them. They settled on Highland Park Presbyterian Church, which is where they were married last May. Having their wedding ceremony in the church they’d found together and grown together as a couple in was really special, Kensey says. Having their friend and minister John Paul Schulze co-officiate the ceremony made it even more significant.

To celebrate afterward, friends and family—most of whom were from out of town—moved from the church to Arlington Hall at Lee Park for a grand reception that incorporated elements from the bride’s and groom’s Southern upbringings. Kensey says she chose Arlington Hall because it looks like an old Southern mansion; the pros at Branching Out Floral & Event Design dressed the 1939 home in soft shades of peach and white. Bouquets of gardenias, hydrangeas, and garden roses filled the space. Fresh peaches sat alongside silver mint julep cups and blue-and-white china vases spilling magnolia leaves.

The party started with an outdoor cocktail hour in the sunken garden. Then guests were treated to Southern delicacies such as crab cakes, Virginia ham biscuits, and mini chicken-and-waffles. What followed was a lot of dancing. “We’re not good dancers,” the bride confesses, “but we love to dance.”

The fun kicked off with a family dance to “We Are Family,” and it ended hours later with the newlyweds dancing alone together to “Unforgettable” while only their families looked on.

“At the rehearsal dinner, Ross’ parents told us to be sure we stopped to savor the moment—that it would all go by so fast,” Kensey remembers. “That last dance was a second for us to take in the night.”

—Allison Hatfield

They spent their first few dates going to different churches, trying to find the environment that best fit them.


  • Ceremony Site

    Highland Park Presbyterian Church

  • Photographer

    Sarah Kate Photography

  • Bridal Gown Retailerp

    Patsy’s, A Bridal Boutique

  • Hair

    Hair by Charlie

  • Hair

    Maitee Mills

  • Makeup

    Audrey Elliot

  • Groom's Attire

    Mister Tuxedo

  • Bridesmaids Dresses Designer

    Jenny Yoo

  • Bridesmaids Dresses Retailer

    Bella Bridesmaids

  • Flower Girls Dresses Designer

    Peaches Barn

  • Flowers

    Branching Out Events

  • Stationery

    Southern Fried Paper

  • Reception Site

    Arlington Hall at Oak Lawn Park

  • Cake

    Frosted Art Bakery & Studio

  • Caterer

    Food Glorious Food

  • Band


  • Lighting

    Absolute Entertainment

  • Videographer

    Splendor Films

  • Wedding Rentals


  • Wedding Rentals

    Perch Décor

  • Wedding Planner

    Caroline Events

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