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the hottest rings bouquets fab finds

60 cover shoot: serenbe

Howdy! Welcome to the Southern Weddings Digital Trilogy! We are mighty pleased to announce that we have sold out of Southern Weddings V1, V2 AND V3 but we certainly didn’t want the fun to end there. So grab a tall glass of sweet tea, pull up that rocking chair and explore all of our past issues right here. Believe me, there’s lots of goodness in store! Be sure to take a gander at all of the gorgeous advertisements sprinkled throughout. In addition to the ads that originally appeared in our first three issues, we’ve added in our wonderful V4 advertisers -- we’re thrilled to share them with you here, as well! We take great pride in selecting sponsors that match our readers’ interests and mirror the high standards of our brand, and we are happy to recommend each of these amazing vendors to you. Like what you see and want to get involved? Just send me an email ( and I’ll gladly help you select your perfect ad option!

Marissa MK


Director of Advertising and Brand Partnerships twitter: @marissakloess



Photos courtesy of Elizabeth Ryan Photography

your vision our passion couture creations

443•875•8512 info@allisonbarnhilldesigns•com allisonbarnhilldesigns•com


leo patrone photography

Editor-in-Chief Lara Casey Art Director Emily Ayer

Managing Editor Katharine Waterman Assistant Editor Whitney Davis

gratitude LARA: God is so good. I'm so thankful for every triumph, failure, adventure, new friend and unexpected blessing. Thank you, Ari, as always, for your patience and unending support. I love you. Thank you to my best friend, whom I couldn't have done this issue or this year without. You make everything more exciting and inspire me to make things happen. To my parents, my inspiring bro, Grandma, my mentor, Michael, and my amazing friends and unbelievable clients: words can't express my love. Thank you to Danielle, Kirstin, Laura, Amanda, Leah, Kebbie, Rae and Wes, Jeff, and the people who first believed in us... this magazine is yours, too. To the women I have the honor of calling my team: I wake up every day excited because of you. Emily, Katharine and Whitney, you make me want to be a better boss, friend, wife, teacher, and person. Thank you for making me believe in myself again. And finally, to our readers and dear friends who have inspired this journey: we owe y'all a slice of red velvet and a glass of sweet tea! EMILY: Thank you and love to Mom, Dad, Kate, and Kim – I am so blessed to be a part of our family. Love to my friends, who have always accepted and encouraged my wedding neuroses with open arms. And thanks and love to John, who believed in me enough to follow my dream to Chapel Hill and who cooks me dinner every night. KATHARINE: I’m so grateful to have been given the chance to join the incredible team here at Southern Weddings. Lara, thank you for taking a risk with me. Thank you, also, to my beautiful siblings, Avery III, Christian and Bissy, for their friendship and playful teasing, and to the Gibler Family for their support and good wishes all the way from Cincinnati. Thank you, most especially, to the two most important men in my life: Kyle and my father. Knowing you both has made me a better person. I love you always. WHITNEY: There are so many people that I am grateful to have in my life. They have celebrated with me, helped me through tough times and ultimately shaped me. My family tops the list: Mom, Dad and Alec, you have always supported me and encouraged me to work for my goals. I love you. To my closest friends—Megan, Elizabeth, Ilana and Alyssa—you guys can always make me laugh. Get ready: someday, you'll be in my wedding. Lara, Katharine and Emily, I love that I can count you among my dear friends and not just co-workers. I enjoy coming to work and it’s because of each of you. SPECIAL THANKS: to the team at Boyd Brothers Printing and Coleman Graham for this little guy- ®. NOTE: Southern Weddings® would like to thank Avery T. Waterman, Jr., Esq. of Williamsburg, Virginia for serving as our knowledgeable Fashion Expert. Master of sartorial splendor and creator of AD_kmurray_3x9.indd 1 Bowtie Friday, he is responsible for the selection of Southern menswear you will enjoy in this issue. All content copyright © Southern Weddings® 2009-2010. Southern Weddings® is a registered trademark of Bliss Event Group. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without express written permission from the publisher. We wish to thank the wedding professionals who contributed to this issue of Southern Weddings®. The opinions expressed by our contributors are their own and do not necessarily represent our opinions or those of the publisher. We have sought to ensure accuracy and completeness of the content herein, but neither Southern Weddings® nor the publisher assumes responsibility for any errors, inaccuracies, omissions, or other inconsistencies, including those related to quotations. We reserve the right to refuse advertising. All advertisements appearing herein are accepted and published on the representation that the advertiser is properly authorized to publish the entire contents and subject matter thereof. Neither Southern Weddings® nor the publisher is responsible for any statements, claims or representations made by contributing wedding professionals, advertisers or others, nor is Southern Weddings® or the publisher responsible for anyone's reliance on the content herein. All projects described in this publication are for private, noncommercial use only. No right for commercial use or exploitation is given or implied.

the image is found . photography


10/20/09 11:21:34 PM

Fab Finds 10 Rings 17 Bouquets from Real Weddings 18 Cover Shoot: Serenbe 21 60 Ways to Have a Southern Wedding 56 Groom's Fashion 94 Destination Weddings Guide 110


Southern Belle Beauty 15 It Has A Ring To It 16 Divine Details 33 Beaus from Birmingham 34 Watercolor Palettes 42 Groom's Gallery 102 Marriage Advice: Untying the Nots 104 Wedding Bloggers 108 Last Look 120


It's a Deal: Aubrie + Josh 64 Two-Wheeling Twosome: Mary + Chris 66 Love in the Desert: Karen + Andrew 68 For the Love of the Game: Shayla + Kyle 70 Owl Love You Forever: Julie + Todd 74 The First Kiss: Tara + Jeremy 76 Sweet as Candy: Stephanie + Wil 78 Southern Comfort: Heather + Preston 82 Window to the Soul: Anna + Tyler 84 Buttercup Bliss: Carrie + Brian 88 Mountaintop Marriage: Jordyn + Bradley 90

jeff newsom photography

jeff newsom photography


get the look Credits 117

issue calligraphy Kathryn Murray



read more on page 21

gabriel ryan photographer


contributors Preston Bailey

Preston Bailey’s ( one-of-a-kind events, which include extravagant weddings and galas for royal families across the globe, have earned him a reputation as the world’s preeminent event designer. He has attracted clients such as Donald Trump, Oprah Winfrey, Uma Thurman, Joan Rivers, Donna Karan, Liza Minnelli, Matt Lauer, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas, Laurence Fishburne, Emmitt Smith and Bill Cosby. Preston has written three bestselling books: Design for Entertaining, Fantasy Weddings, and his latest, Inspirations.

S i m o n T. B a i l e y

An internationally-recognized speaker, author and consultant, Simon T. Bailey ( inspires individuals to take charge of change and transform their lives from the inside out. A thought leader and fresh voice in the business world, Bailey connects the dots between individual and organizational brilliance. Bailey’s books, including the acclaimed Release Your Brilliance, have helped countless individuals reach their inherent potential.

Marcy Blum

Marcy Blum ( is a world-renowned event planner and entertaining expert who crafts every event with her own unique brand of elegance, talent and an almost-preternatural ability to visualize space. Appropriately, Blum literally wrote the books on event planning: Wedding Planning for Dummies and Wedding Kit for Dummies. Blum, the founder of her eponymous company, Marcy Blum Associates, has been recognized by such publications as New York Magazine and Modern Bride, with the latter choosing her as their “Trendsetter of the Year” in 2006.

Randy Fenoli

Randy Fenoli is the fashion director at Manhattan's famed Kleinfeld Bridal. Fenoli designed his own bridal line for many years and has a practiced and perfected eye for embroidery, laces, beading, and bustles. His fashion sense and honesty enable him to truthfully advise brides when making their wedding gown decision. Most recently, Fenoli has appeared in the TLC reality series Say Yes to the Dress.

Rebecca Grinnals

Rebecca Grinnals ( is widely regarded as one of the foremost experts on the business of weddings and honeymoons. She is the founder and president of wedding and honeymoon industry consulting firm Engaging Concepts. Grinnals is a sought-after industry consultant and trend expert, and has been a featured guest on CBS’ The Early Show, CNN, Entertainment Tonight, CNBC and hundreds of other national and international television and radio programs.

Ta r a G u é r a r d

The Southeast’s premier event designer, Tara Guérard ( has designed weddings for a number of nationally-known celebrities. Her work has been featured in the pages of leading publications, including InStyle Weddings, Martha Stewart Weddings, Town & Country Weddings, and Charleston Weddings and Charleston Magazine. Her new book, Southern Weddings: New Looks from the Old South, debuted in January 2007 to rave reviews.

Alison Hotchkiss

As the lead planner and owner of Alison Events (, Alison Hotchkiss helps clients create an environment that matches their unique taste, personality and budget. She has successfully produced one-of-a-kind events around the world, ranging from simple to incredibly elaborate. Hotchkiss's insight and experience landed her a book deal with Chronicle Books, which published her Destination Weddings: The Ultimate Guide to Planning a Wedding from Afar.

Jung Lee

Jung Lee ( founded the Manhattan-based Fête Events in 2001 with her husband, Josh Brooks, a management expert. Fête has become one of the highest-profile event planning firms in the business. In addition to appearing on the Style Network’s Whose Wedding Is It Anyway?, Lee and Fête have been profiled in major magazines from Vogue to New York to InStyle Weddings. Most recently, Lee and Brooks star in the TLC reality series Wedded to Perfection.

Michelle Rago

Michelle Rago, founder of Michelle Rago, Ltd. (, is the driving force behind her New York City-based event design and production company. Michelle Rago, Ltd. has become one of the few full-service event design houses in the nation. Modern Bride magazine named Rago as one of the top 25 trendsetters in the nation. In 2006, Rago published her first book, Signature Weddings: Creating A Day Uniquely Your Own.

L i s a Vo r c e

Lisa Vorce ( is the owner and lead producer of OH HOW CHARMING!, a distinct event planning studio that creates one-of-a-kind celebratory experiences for discerning individuals and companies. OH HOW CHARMING! prides itself on a boutique sensibility – a smaller clientele, a greater attention to detail – and delivers specialized attention to particular needs. Vorce’s events have been featured in a range of publications, including Grace Ormonde, InStyle Weddings, and Martha Stewart Weddings.

S y l v i a We i n s t o c k

Sylvia Weinstock ( is the mastermind behind some of the wedding world’s most beautiful cakes. She has been called the “Leonardo Da Vinci" of cakes, and her work has been featured in almost every major wedding publication, including Martha Stewart Weddings, Town & Country Weddings, and Brides. Weinstock uses only the finest ingredients, and prides herself on the fact that each and every cake tastes as good as it looks. jackie wonders photography

wedding planning can be stressful. we've dotted the pages of southern weddings with a little humor from




jenny evelyn photography

kyle barnes weddings

kyle barnes weddings

allison stahl photography

kyle barnes weddings


I grew up with chickens scrurrying around our yard and learned to shuck corn and black-eyed peas from the many cooks in our big family kitchen. Putting this issue together reminded me of my roots and the beauty of what it means to be "Southern"... the charm, the hospitality, saying hello to every stranger you meet, old wives' tales and sweet hymns, the smell of lantana and tomato leaves in Mom's garden, tasting cornbread hot out of the oven and counting my many blessings at night as Grandpa would count the stars and sing "Swing Low Sweet Chariot". My grandmother, born in Alabama with ten siblings, still makes my heart melt: her thick-as-molasses Southern drawl and contagious laugh speak to her upbringing--long, lazy days on the porch, hot summer nights in the swimming hole and early mornings on the farm. She appreciates the simple joys of life and celebrates them with each bedtime story she tells us of days gone by. This issue is for Grandma "Bunny," who inspires me to fall in love with simple love. Weddings are, at their very core, a celebration of the simple things: the miracle of love and the blessings of family. May your tea always be sweet,

Lara Casey publisher | editor-in-chief twitter :: @laracasey


editors' letters

Growing up in the North, I had an idea of what I thought a Southern wedding was—but, of course, no childhood memories to back it up. After just a few short months at Southern Weddings, I’ve found my hunch was correct: weddings south of the Mason-Dixon Line are as varied as southerners themselves, but they do have a few qualities in common, namely, graciousness, warmth, and hospitality. Though it is a bit ironic that I, a northern native, was assigned to write “Sixty Ways to Have a Southern Wedding,” I like to think my outsider status gave me fresh eyes through which to view tradition, that slow-moving behemoth. My takeaway? Choose what you love and what speaks to you from the past, and leave the rest behind. After all — as we see it — a true Southern wedding is exactly what you make of it… with some sweet tea and a few “yes ma’am’s” thrown in for good measure.

Emily Ayer

art director twitter: @emilyayer

If it’s Emily’s status as a northern “outsider” that has given her a unique perspective on all things Southern, it’s my upbringing south of the Mason-Dixon Line that makes Southern weddings even more meaningful to me. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana and raised in historic Williamsburg, Virginia, venturing north for college opened my eyes to a different (and distinctly unSouthern!) way of life. While I didn’t rejoin my family in Virginia after graduation, relocating to the Tar Heel state was still very much like coming home. Now, back in the Southland after a four-year stint at Harvard, I’ve been infused with a new appreciation for the culture, the lifestyle and, of course, the weddings of my beloved birthplace. And I must admit: any place that lets brides pair cowboy boots with Vera Wangs and grooms trade tuxes for lightweight seersucker has got to be among the very best on Earth!

Katharine Waterman managing editor twitter: @katharine_w

photography by kyle barnes weddings


true bride confession: Now that I’m engaged to the love of my life, I kind of want to call the boys who broke up with me and say thank you.

top to bottom: Jeff Newsom, Shyla Dalirifar, Amanda Wilcher, Smilebooth

editors' letters

I am an avid magazine reader. I devour at least a few a week and probably spend more money on subscriptions than any sane, healthy person should. So, give me the opportunity to help create a magazine issue--especially for a publication as fabulous as Southern Weddings-- and I’m as happy as a hog in slop (now there’s a good old Southern saying for y’all). I am constantly floored by how talented the women I work with are and I am thrilled that we have had the chance to learn from one another as we created this issue. I think we’ve created a rare dynamic in the business world— these women are not only my coworkers, but also my friends. How many people are lucky enough to say that they are excited to go to work each day? We're so excited to bring this issue to you, so I advise you to take a moment to grab a tall glass of sweet tea, find a nice rocking chair, and soak up every bit as you turn the page.

Whitney Davis asst editor

twitter: @whitneydav











for your big day

and the happily ever after

Add a little glitz and glamour to your wedding party's ensemble with these custom-made orchid brooches (Price upon request,

He already holds the key to your heart. Why not show it with a magical collection of key pendants brimming with intrigue and allure? ($250-$17,000,

A refreshing take on candlelight, the Capri Blue Jar Candle is formulated to burn for hours with an enduring fragrance ($28,

Browse Paloma's Nest, home of the original Ring Bearer Bowl™, to find the perfect keepsake for those two very special rings. These delicate white clay bowls are handmade and stamped with the message of your choice. (Starting at $26,

Perfect clay hair pieces -- dare we say it? -- more beautiful than the real thing. DK Designs CLAYCRAFT by DECO Clay Hair Pieces. The Original Gardenia Hair Flower and Blush Pink Anemone ($25 and $35,


uther n

Lara's Pick






Girly through and through, the Lollia Eau de Parfum is housed in a charming glass bottle that looks as beautiful as it smells ($44,

din g


true bride confession: Someone asked me if I was going to “upgrade” my ring because it is small. I told them I was going to “upgrade” their face if they didn’t hush up.

Dreamy in its perfection, this Chanel Vintage Pink Sautoir Necklace features sparkling pink crystals housed in a delicate gilt chain ($101 per week,



Whether you're dressing for a wedding or dinner for two, these emerald green, tear drop style Kenneth Jay Lane earrings are a stunning pick ($14 per week,



Each signature double-wicked glass candle provides over 60 hours of illumination. We love the pretty packaging! ($28 each,

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The Multiple in cheekilynamed but universallyflattering shade Orgasm blends effortlessly on eyes, lips, cheeks, and body ($37,

Enjoy delicate Parisian cookies filled with luscious cream or rich mousseline as you get ready on the big day ($12,


Katharine's Pick w

Travel in first class with Tiffany’s leather travel accessories (passport cover, $100; luggage tag, $60; business card case, $65, card case, $65; all from

Gild your tresses with this gleaming crocheted Mercury Headband ($38,



Embrace the season with this playful Kenneth Jay Lane Garden Party Ring that features a glossy ladybug and a sparkling blue flower ($12 per week,

We adore the unabashed glamour of this Alexis Bittar Dogwood Flower Cuff ($26 per week,








Whitney's Pick

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u so




Emily 's Pick



din g s

for your big day

and the happily ever after

Perfect for wedding photobooths, favors or polaroids, Smitten Sticks are for the couple who is planning a unique, imaginative and fun-filled celebration. ($35,

After your grand exit, the trousseau takes center stage. We're happy to debut La Perla's new Luxury Bridal Collection, reminiscent of the 1920s. The pieces are offered in both white and ivory and range from $74 to $649. Online at


For bonus good wishes on your big day, choose a corresponding pendant from Dogeared Jewelry (Make a Wish Necklace Set, $60, and Healing Gem Reminder Necklace, $34, both from

Sofia Mini is a single serving of the Francis Coppola Winery's effervescent Blanc de Blancs. Each pink can comes with its own pink straw for easy sipping ($20 for a package of four,

Dark accessories will pop against a white gown. For extra drama, choose one of these stunners from Avelle. From top: Carolee Lux Triple Row Frontal Necklace ($16 per week), Alexis Bittar Large Ivy Earrings ($16 per week), Carolee Lux Graduated Drop Earrings ($12 per week), Chanel J12 Black Ceramic Watch ($237 per week)

Keep things simple and sparkling with white and gold accessories and you'll look heavenly heading down the aisle. From top: Chanel J12 Ceramic Diamond Watch ($237 per week), Kenneth Jay Lane Bib Necklace ($33 per week), Kenneth Jay Lane Large Ring ($10 per week), Kenneth Jay Lane Necklace ($26 per week)

An elegant complement to your wedding day best, the ivory Duchess Bow Bridal Clutch is the perfect size to hold all your big day essentials without overshadowing your gorgeous gown. ($105 A whimsical and modern design, every bit as captivating as a bustling, modern metropolis. ($1,472 for 100 lithographed sets,

Fluffy, handmade marshmallows that melt in your mouth. We love that SucrĂŠ customizes the colors for each season! ($5 per package,

The traditional garter gets a modern facelift with these adorable custom creations from The Garter Girl. (starting at $40,


true bride confession: Dear FiancĂŠe, Your family scares the daylights out of me. I love you. I want to marry you. Not them. Love always, Me.




K Y: L O U I S V I L L E ,



F L : CA R I L L O N B E AC H ,

L A : B AT O N R O U G E ,


T X : DA L L A S ,

F L : JAC K S O N V I L L E ,

L A : S H R E V E P O R T,



G A : AT L A N TA ,

M S : JAC K S O N,




850.236.8626 904.374.0351


502.891.4556 225.246.2106





843.425.8079 864.241.4001

615.383.8004 214.999.9311 210.771.7762


W W W.C O R E N M O O R E .C O M • 2 5 0 W E S T 3 9 T H S T R E E T • S T U D I O 4 0 8 • N E W Y O R K , N Y 1 0 0 1 8 • 2 1 2 - 7 3 1 - 2 0 1 7

Photo Alix Martinez

C O R E N M O O R E at B E L L A B R I D E S M A I D

southern belle AN INTERVIEW WITH


by whitney davis


hen I was young, my mother worked at a make up counter, and I couldn’t wait until I, too, could wear makeup and be just like her. I'm still fascinated with makeup: it amazes me that, with a quick application of a few products, women have the ability to enhance and show off their natural beauty. Bobbi Brown, one of the makeup industry's most well-known names, agreed to share her tips and tricks for the big day. The biggest takeaway? Keep it simple. What is your top beauty secret? Concealer--it's the secret of the universe. Nothing brightens your face or makes you look more instantly awake. How do you define beauty? Beauty is about more than just makeup: it's about confidence. When you learn to love yourself the way you are, that's when you're at your prettiest. What are some do's and don't's for wedding day makeup? Flash photography can often emphasizes the red tones in skin, so even out the areas around the nose and mouth with a yellowbased foundation. If your dress has an open neckline, try dusting a little bronzing powder on your neck and chest for a pretty glow. Unless you're completely comfortable with them, I don't recommend using false eyelashes. What can a bride do on her wedding day to help her makeup last? Setting your concealer and foundation with a yellow-toned powder will help you look fresh all day. I also recommend using water-resistant, long-wear eye products like my No Smudge


BOBBI'S PICKS No Smudge Mascara, $22, and Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner, $21. Both available at

Mascara or Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner, which won't budge or smear with tears. What do you find is the most common mistake women make when applying makeup for their wedding? Brides often don't realize that they may need to use a lipstick that is a shade or two brighter than their normal lip color since flash photography can make your regular lip color look washed out. If your normal lip color is a dark shade, you can give your lips more dimension by layering a brighter gloss on top.

photography by

perez photography

What is your advice for the modern Southern bride? When I think of the modern Southern bride, I think of a woman who is prepared to handle anything on her big day. My advice to her is that she pack a makeup bag with anything she'll need for touch-ups or last minute issues. In addition to lip gloss, foundation touch-up stick, pot rouge, mascara and a pale yellow powder, I would also include a mini sewing kit, mints, tissues and pre-treated stain wipes. What is your favorite product to date? One of the products I always recommend to brides is my No Smudge Mascara, which won't travel south if there are tears during the "I do's." Could you share some of your future life goals and any words of wisdom that get you by in life and in your profession? Personally or professionally, my advice is always this: arrive on time, never stop learning and listening, and be nice to everyone. sw

true bride confession: I miss my wedding. It was such a wonderful, beautiful day. Brides: take every moment and enjoy!


it has a

to it!

Our TOP 5 SOURCES for that special pillow (or dish, birch slice, shell or flower!) to hold your rings, now and forever.

1. PALOMA'S NEST ( pictured below holding flawless diamonds from Rock Hard Designs ( 2. MUSCARI ( pictured above holding gold and pearl flower ring from Modest Peach (, 3. BKLYPILLOW ( 4. LLUBAV ( 5. EVIE S (

photography by kyle barnes weddings

take center stage in these hot shots

millie holloman photography


w scott chester photography

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mark brooke photographers

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next exit photography


opposite page, top row: green antherium cluster, photography by Jessica Claire; yellow calla lily bouquet by Dorothy McDaniel's Flower Market, photography by Gresham Photography; hand-tied French tulips by A Perfect Event, photography by Leo Patrone

from real weddings

opposite page, middle row: white ranunculus bouquet by JL Floral Design, photography by Stephanie Williams Photography; wild strawberry, succulent and orchid bouquet, photography by Olivia Leigh; purple phalaenopsis orchid bouquet by Nouveau Flowers, photography by Dede Edwards

this page, top row: purple phalaenopsis cascade by Nouveau Flowers, photography by Vue Photography; pink peony, orange tea rose and yellow ranunculus bouquet by Brown Paper Design, photography by Jose Villa; white anemone and ranunculus bouquet by Cymbidium Floral, photography by Fidelio Photography this page, second row: white veronica bouquet by JL Floral Design, photography by Stephanie Williams Photography; yellow mum pomander by JL Floral Design, photography by Stephanie Williams Photography; peach garden rose bouquet by JL Floral Design, photography by Stephanie Williams Photography this page, third row: lily of the valley bouquet by Eye Floral Design, photography by Phindy Studios

opposite page, bottom row: peach and pink ranunculus, blushing bride protea and scabiosa pod bouquet by JL Floral Design, photography by Stephanie Williams Photography; garden tea rose and sweet pea bouquet tied with pleated ribbon by Martha Greenwood for BIG Events, Inc., photography by Martha Greenwood; mango tulip and cockscomb bouquet by Square Root, photography by Jessica Claire







w w w. p a u l j o h n s o n p h o t o . c o m

behind the scenes cover shoot: serenbe BEHIND THE SCENES PHOTOGRAPHY BY





If there’s one thing this second issue has taught us about Southern weddings, it’s that, in the South, simplicity and natural beauty still reign supreme. With more and more brides trading glitzy black-tie celebrations for more personalized, homespun affairs, it only seemed right that we shoot our cover at one of the South’s true natural beauties. Serenbe, an eco-friendly community nestled in the heart of Chattahoochee Hill Country in rural Georgia, occupies one of the last undeveloped stretches of land in the Atlanta area. When the founders of Serenbe realized their largely untouched nine-hundred acres presented a short window of opportunity for creating a new and better development, they

wasted no time in creating a one-of-a-kind residential community and unique vacation destination that would attract a very special kind of visitor. Protected from the typical growth patterns of urban sprawl, Serenbe has flourished by merging ecologically sound sustainability principles with the design philosophy of walking neighborhoods made up of homes and shops. Though we’d heard rave reviews about the secluded Georgia gem and had even seen pictures of its sprawling grounds, nothing could have prepared us for the refreshing experience of leaving the smog and congestion of the Atlanta metropolis for the stillness of Serenbe. Indeed, after

After watching news reports of Atlanta-area flash flooding in the days leading up to our shoot, the dry ground and beautiful light that greeted us at Serenbe were a welcome relief.

hours of traffic, skyscrapers and blaring horns, the secluded hillside community seemed strangely out of place – and perfect for our cover shoot. In our minds, we could already imagine where our cover model would pose for renowned photographer Jeremy Cowart. We could see her, a redhaired beauty in a white modern gown, twirling in front of a classic Georgia barn, posing with her handsome groom in a rustic hay field, walking hand-inhand across a romantic arched bridge. From the moment we arrived, we knew our cover would showcase the best of Serenbe and the best of the South. What we couldn’t anticipate, however, was just how fabulous the experience of working with photography legend Jeremy Cowart would be.

For an internationally-recognized photographer used to shooting Hollywood celebs like Carrie Underwood, Denise Richards and Britney Spears, venturing into the Georgia wild for his very first bridal cover shoot was an adventure, to say the least. Armed with an impressive gear truck, top-notch equipment and two Nashville-based assistants, the surprisingly humble Cowart taught us a thing or two about first-rate, rock star photography that have changed the way we look at bridal photography and Southern weddings altogether. Indeed, the Serenbe shoot was unlike any Southern Weddings has ever produced, largely thanks to collaboration among some of the

Florist Amy Osaba assembled all of the wild, loose arrangements on site, using cotton bolls and weeds plucked from the side of the road (really!). SHOOT SECRET:


The expansive Serenbe community necessitated lots of driving to and from shots. Hair and make-up touchups on-the-go were de rigueur. SHOOT SECRET:

A favorite behind-thescenes shot. Crew member Joshua humored us with the typical groom's bouquet shot. We love the "Love" tattoo on his left hand.


best Atlanta wedding professionals, including stylist Joy Thigpen, floral designer Amy Osaba, and makeup artist Scoobie West. While Emily, our Art Director with a keen eye for detail and an uncanny ability to find beauty in the most unusual places, fawned over the authentic cowbell tied to our house key, Lara, always eager to catch a glimpse at the behind the-scenes operations, was fascinated with Serenbe’s commitment to sustainability. Indeed, guided by the notion that a community is a living part of its natural surroundings, the founders of Serenbe had based every facet of its design on traditional values and proven principles of environmental sustainability. From the 220 energy- and resource-efficient EarthCraft Houses and the myriad of sidewalks designed to encourage walking over driving, to the sophisticated water reuse program and the twenty-five acres of organic farmland, Serenbe seemed to have defied the trend towards bigger, better and more urban, and returned to a simpler, more authentic way of life. I tried to imagine what life would be like here amidst the quiet streets and acres of uninterrupted green space: morning walks to the BlueEyed Daisy bakeshop for freshly-squeezed juice and homemade muffins; an afternoon ride at the Serenbe Stables under the watchful eye of Mindy, the lovely trainer; evenings spent in an oversized rocking chair on The Roost’s wide front porch. This was how life in the South was meant to be lived. And this, perhaps more than anything else, is what Serenbe is really about: a community built as a respectful nod to tradition, simplicity and good old-fashioned values. sw


A frisky stallion was just one of the minor snafus we encountered throughout the day. Here, our model horse plays nice.

Timeless. Flawless. Gorgeous. stunning venues. award winning vendors. professional coordinators

Carillon Weddings





This gem was almost the cover.

true bride confession: he bought the ring and is about to propose! must. be. patient...


We called in more than ten dresses from Atlanta-based Bridals by Lori. This one, by Amsale, was Lara's favorite.

finished product: divine.



photography by Martha Whitney Deal

Manning and The Lake Pavilion, with its massive stone fireplace and high, open ceiling, was a gorgeous spot to set up our chic and rustic table.

PHOTOGRAPHER: JEREMY COWART (JEREMYCOWART.COM) China, flatware, stemware, and some tabletop accessories: Owen Lawrence (, Menus, placecards, and ceramic pieces: Paloma's Nest (, Venue: Serenbe (serenbe. com), Special thanks to: Ashley Baber, Jeannine Kennedy, Michelle Lemiga, Eliana Baucicault, and Heather Vreeland.

Stylist Joy Thigpen pulled together gold, silver, white and cream pieces from her personal collection and the stockpiles of registry powerhouse Owen Lawrence to assemble a perfectly mixed -- but not matched -- tablescape.


“This, perhaps more than anything else, is what Serenbe is really about: a community built as a respectful nod to tradition, simplicity and good old-fashioned values."



Lots of teasing and a dramatic eye were all that were needed for hair and make-up artist Scoobie West to get our model cover-ready. The groom? He didn't need much.

A sweet ending to a sweet day: Adair polishes off the red velvet cake from Newnan bakery Sweet Sensations.


PHOTOGRAPHER: JEREMY COWART (JEREMYCOWART.COM) Bridal fashion: Bridals by Lori (, Groom's fashion: Sid Mashburn (, Red velvet cake: Sweet Sensations (, Models courtesy of: Elite Model Management (



divine The VINTAGE GARDEN PARTY look is inherently Southern and simply divine! For the twentyfirst century, cut the fuss by adding in wood and twig natural elements. One lump or two?

GET THIS LOOK by scouring flea markets, yard sales, and eBay for vintage vessels, china and fabric (try "depression ware" and "pressed glass" as search words). If you're not into the whole hunt-and-gather thing, we love the more readily available cake plates from Mosser Glass ( Set out a hemmed square of fabric (the Liberty patterns are really superlative -- liberty. on each reception table, then group vessels on top, varying their height with tree trunk rounds, cake plates and upturned bowls. Choose large, blowsy blooms (think peonies, hydrangeas, dahlias, and garden roses) for maximum impact for the fewest stems.

Photography by ERIN HEARTS COURT (

Design by MEG from LA PARTIE EVENTS (





event design planning coordination

birmingham • beaus from

the A BRYAN PHOTO team and friends get hitched BY EMILY AYER


We’re all familiar with the stereotype: clueless husbandto-be stumbles into the world of wedding planning, hears that it can cost upwards of $200 to feed each guest, and dares to ask why, again, do we need a photographer? Though grooms have come a long way, most are still not ready to dive into the letterpress versus engraved or the buttercream versus fondant debate. And that’s okay! But we like to think of the Birmingham photo scene as the antidote to the ubiquitous clueless groom. Led by collaborative studio A Bryan Photo, this small, Southern city is unnaturally full of world-class wedding photographers. The kicker? Most of them are male. And several of them have recently gone through the wedding-planning process themselves. As the vendor and guest lists for each of the weddings show, the Birmingham photo scene is a very tight-knit place, a tiny community where “it’s amazing how much talent there is. I have serious respect for each of the photographers in our circle,” notes Cary Norton. That close-knit feeling of community is built right into the business structure of A Bryan Photo, which was recently featured in Martha Stewart Weddings. In fact, founder Bryan Johnson’s main metric for hiring decisions (besides talent, of course!) is simple and to-thepoint: would he want to go on a road trip with the candidate? “We spend a lot of time together and if we don’t get along it won’t be good for the company,”


acknowledges Johnson. Anyone who has spent time with my team knows that we are a tightknit group with great chemistry. That chemistry has led to great collaboration and creativity.” Collaboration beyond the studio, as well: “We are fortunate to be a part of the incredible artistic community of trust and support in Birmingham,” says Johnson. “I have never experienced anything like it.” Bob Miller, another Birmingham photographer who found his niche in the business by learning from pros like Johnson and Norton, agrees: “The best part about Birmingham is the community. There are lots of creative professionals here, and even though we’re all essentially vying for the same work we love to see each other succeed and do great things. It’s a nurturing environment and the perfect place to start a business. There is enough opportunity here to stay busy if you work hard, but not so much competition that you’re overwhelmed. We all learn from each other, borrow gear from each other, and ask each other for advice. It’s really just a bunch of friends who happen to all love making pictures.” Nowhere was this unusual closeness and mutual respect more visible than at the spate of recent weddings. Each photographer approached the photography aspect of his day in a way that felt right for him, but all were happy to make use of their talented friends. For Caleb Chancey, an associate photographer with A Bryan, the answer to the difficult question of whom to pick as a wedding

photographer was to simply not pick—and include everyone. As Chancey explains, “We decided we wanted all of our photographer friends to have fun with our wedding, to really do what they excel at. And it was great! We bought a box of film, and they did the rest.” More than eight photographers and videographers took part in capturing Chancey’s big day, with “everything delegated so that no one person had all the responsibility,” explains Norton. “The result was that we could all enjoy the day more as participants or spectators, in contrast to most of our wedding experiences where it’s all pressure, all day. The result was absolutely stunning.” The surplus of shooters meant that a large variety of formats could be employed, including Rollei, 4x5, 35mm (regular, panoramic, and T4), and 8mm video. After the wedding, the entire group — including Norton, Johnson, Rob Culpepper, Alan Barton, Steven DeVries, Branden Lower, and Paul Bryant — gathered at the A Bryan studio to sort through the myriad images and compile selects and edits to give Chancey and his new wife, Laura, the “first look” experience their wedding deserved. Some of the men leaned on their friends for more than just technical assistance on the day of: “It was an incredible experience to go through this stage of life with some of my best friends and fellow colleagues,” notes Josh Hausen, A Bryan Photo’s former studio manager. “Caleb was my best man, and we were able to share a lot of ideas with each other as we

Jeremiah & Sarah montgomery, al


true bride confession: The priest who married us forgot our names. He was at the pulpit and said, "We are gathered here today to celebrate the marriage of.....of......of.......of......" Cue him screwing up his eyes and trying in vain to see our names written on a scrap of paper which he had left on the altar. "Of....of...." he continued. Then came a divine flash of inspiration and he settled on "these two young people."

Josh & Laura

birmingham, al

photograph by CARY NORTON photograph by CARY NORTON

Caleb & Laura

went through the wedding planning process. Jeremiah Sizemore was also in my wedding, and we learned a lot from him because his wedding was the first of the group. Jeremy Carter has been one of my best friends for fifteen years, and he was an important part of my wedding party. And finally, Bryan and Branden were basically in my wedding, because they were the two that I trusted to document our wedding day. Even as guys, we valued each other's input and involvement in our weddings.” Lower, ABP’s Production Manager and 8mm Director, and Jeremiah Sizemore, ABP’s former business strategist, both decided to hire ABP to shoot their weddings. “I picked Bryan because he has a great company. The only problem was trying to figure out if Bryan was going to be in the wedding, or shoot it,” remembers Lower. “We [A Bryan Photo] are unparalleled in two areas:

photograph by CARY NORTON


leeds, al

storytelling and client relations. Bryan tells me daily that all he wants to do is shoot amazing people and tell amazing stories. I believe him.” Sizemore shares similar thoughts: “I think A Bryan is different for many reasons. A lot of photographers try really hard to do a good job, but with ABP you have three, four, or five people trying their best to make the photography portion of your wedding perfect.” As for the experience of being on the opposite side of the camera, Lower admits that he began to fall into the habit of many a wedding client, wanting the comfort of a specific shot list. “But then I realized that Bryan does what he does for a reason. So I trusted him, and haven’t regretted it for a second.” Even far from Birmingham that trust and respect remained intact.

Norton and Chancey had the opportunity to shoot another B’ham photographer’s wedding when Miller and his now-wife, Allison, invited them to Costa Rica for a week of wedding festivities (loosely defined). “Allison and Bob’s wedding is the one I’d shoot over and over again. In short, it was a whole week of hanging out with a tiny group of friends and what has to be the most laid-back couple of all time: so laid-back, in fact, that Bob, Allison, and I woke up at six the morning of the wedding to decide where the ceremony would be held,” remembers Norton. “Bob’s wedding was unique in that it was basically a documentary mission: a new country, a rain forest, beautiful subjects, amazing family and friends, and my only job was to hang out with my camera and record it all. To me, that is the perfect storm. If everything I shot included those elements, I’d be the happiest photographer in the world.”

Branden & Lindsey birmingham, al


Miller, perhaps, demonstrated the most trust in his photographer. “I actually had my Leica around my neck for most of the week and was taking pictures myself,” he admits. “But on the morning of the wedding, it wasn’t difficult at all to leave my camera in the room. I trusted Cary completely to capture the moments that were important to us, and he did an incredible job.” Even more impressive is Miller’s serene rejection of the wedding industry’s “addiction to quantity.” There’s a series of twelve 4x5 photographs that “really captures what our wedding meant to us… When Cary got home, he developed those twelve 4x5’s in his bathroom, and while we were on our honeymoon he would post an image a day on his daily photo blog (www.electriclion.blogspot. com). He was still waiting on the rest of the film to get back from the lab, and I remember his saying in an email that if all of the other rolls of film were lost, the 4x5’s would be sufficient. I agree completely.” Of course, not every wedding includes complete photographic freedom or twelve perfect images, and after the weddings were over, it was back to business as usual. As Norton remembers (somewhat wistfully), however, “Both Bob and Caleb’s weddings were absolute dreams. Our Birmingham photo crew is pretty tight-knit, which really serves the photographs well, as we don’t have to develop a rapport from scratch. The best part of shooting these weddings was having absolute freedom. The trust and respect we have for each other translates into the ability to do whatever we want as photographers with no hesitation from the subject or the photographer.” sw

Bob & Alison costa rica


"The wedding was perfect in how small it was, because we wouldn't have been able to be as relaxed about everything if we had more than a couple dozen people to think about. Weddings are beautiful occasions. Unfortunately, as a wedding photographer, sometimes I see how the 'event' of a wedding can overwhelm the bride and groom. A wedding truly is a very intimate vow, and it's an occasion for reverence. It was important to us that we have the people we love the most beside us, but beyond that, whatever. When you don't have any expectations, there's not much room for something to go wrong." -Bob Miller




true bride confession: My favorite memory from our wedding was having my family run interference while my new husband and I escaped from our guests to take a walk and just unwind from the stress of the ceremony. I don't even remember what we talked about, but it was nice to just be alone for twenty minutes.


Images courtesy of Nancy Ray Photography










fred egan

watercolor palettes

Nestled along the emerald green waters and sugary white sands of Northwest Florida, the WaterColor Inn and Resort is not your average vacation spot. As the Gulf Coast’s premier luxury destination, WaterColor not only offers a wonderland of activities for younger and older guests alike, but also serves as the current hotspot for couples planning to tie the knot by the sea. For many brides, the allure of saying their “I Do’s” along the pristine beaches of south Walton County in an oceanfront ceremony overlooking the Gulf of Mexico is what makes the WaterColor Inn and Resort such a dream destination. With dramatic vistas overlooking clear Gulf waters, a sweet seaside chapel and lush, green spaces, the magical venues at WaterColor effortlessly create the perfect backdrop for any wedding. As a testament to the happy memories newlyweds have of their WaterColor weddings, most couples choose to return to the sandy shores of Fort Walton to celebrate their anniversaries.

But, like its name suggests, one of the most inspiring aspects of this quaint resort town are the vibrant coastal colors that inspire hundreds of weddings each year...…


Fresh, sweet, and fun! This palette is perfect for a laid-back lunchtime reception. Spread colorful quilts on the lawn and stack piles of books on each corner for additional entertainment. Hungry? We love the idea of packing individual picnic lunches for each guest, accompanied by a carafe of chilled raspberry lemonade. Ahhhh....

Photographer: Fred Egan (, Stylist: Joy Thigpen (joythigpen. com), Stylist's assistant: Ashley Meaders (, Venue: The WaterColor Resort (, Models: Annette and Jared Thurmon (


MORE THAN JUST A PRETTY FACE! Annette, our model, is also the designer behind Chaviano Couture (, a company that makes unique and personalized wedding gowns. We love her philosophy that wedding gowns should be experienced, not simply worn.

DETAILS: Groom's bowtie: XOElle (, Groom's shirt: Ralph Lauren (; Bride's dress: Coren Moore (corenmoore. com), Cherry invitation: Karen Bartolomei for Grapevine ( PREVIOUS PAGE: Bride's dress: Nicole Miller ( from Nouveau Flowers (nouveauflowers. com), Groom's seersucker suit: Paul Fredrick (paulfredrick. com), Parasol: Pamela's Parasols (

DESIGN TAKEAWAY Taking a picnic lunch to the next level is all in the presentation. Start with chic gable boxes (we like the white version from Papermart, online at www. Print labels on glassine bags and wraps for gourmet sandwiches and snacks, then tuck in vintage silverware like the bakelite pieces Joy brought to our shoot. Tie on a custom name tag for each guest and you're all set!


Kim Moody DE S IGN

Thank you for making our special day perfect! - SARA, A KIM MOODY BRIDE


Myrtie Blue wedding - event - floral design

Lauren Kinsey Photography

florida’s emerald coast 850.243.2500 - florida’s Emerald Coast - 850.243.2500 - myrtieblue . com


Equally inspired by MarieAntoinette decadence and classic garden restraint, this pink, blue and stone palette is a sweet but surprisingly bold look. The oversized bloom headband from Sweetpea and Fawn meets its match in the groom’s full Alexander Julian pocket square, while riotous arrangements of garden roses, eucalyptus and sweet pea in the long table’s centerpieces are accented by glittering star picks from Goldbug Studio and china bowls full of delicate Paulette and Sucre macarons. A last detail? Instead of the usual papel picado banner or too-rustic fabric bunting, we strung antique lace panels onto thin ribbon and hung the line from two sheltering trees. Tres chic!

Photographer: Jory Cordy ( Stylist: Joy Thigpen (joythigpen. com), Stylist's assistant: Ashley Meaders (, Florist: Fiore of Pensacola (, Assistants: Shelby Peaden (, Sandy Sansom, Cake baker: Cakes by Tanis (cakesbytanis. com), Hair and Makeup: Two Fishes Artistry (twofishesartistry. com), Models: Izon Models (, Venue: The WaterColor Resort (


THIS PAGE: Groom’s bowtie: XOElle (, Groom’s seersucker suit: Paul Fredrick (, Groom’s pocket square: Julian’s (, Bride’s dress: Nicole Miller ( from Nouveau Flowers (, Bride’s hair flower: Sweetpea + Fawn (, Earrings: Avelle (avelle. com), Bracelet: Adorn Brides Fine Jewelry Rental (, Parasol: Pamela’s Parasols (


jory cordy

DESIGN TAKEAWAY For our cake, we ordered an ultra-minimalist design from Cakes by Tanis with simple round tiers and smooth, white fondant. We then embellished it ourselves with wide satin ribbon from Paper Source and added a fabulous, over-thetop topper from Goldbug Studio. Even with our topper splurge, the final look is still budget-happy.

THIS PAGE: Cake topper: Goldbug Studio (, Wide satin ribbon: Paper Source (, Chair, table, glassware and flatware rentals: Nationwide Tents ‘N Events (, Table linen, napkins and chair covers: La Tavola Linen (, Antique linen and lace panels: Pandora de Balthazár (pandoradebalthazar. com), Handmade “Bride,” “Groom” and “Wedding” signs: Momental Designs (, Vintage china: Fiore of Pensacola (, Cake stand: Cakes by Tanis (, Macarons: Paulette Macarons ( and Sucré (, Marshmallows: Sucré (, Menus: Cherry Blossom Creations (, Menu calligraphy: Designs by Robyn Love (

THIS PAGE: Glitter star picks, birds, and toppers (at each place setting): Goldbug Studio (, Wide satin ribbon: Paper Source (, Chair, table, glassware and flatware rentals: Nationwide Tents ‘N Events (, Table linen, napkins and chair covers: La Tavola Linen (latavolalinen. com), Antique linen and lace panels: Pandora de Balthazár (, Handmade “Wedding” sign: Momental Designs (, Vintage china: Fiore of Pensacola (fioreofpensacola. com), Macarons: Paulette Macarons (paulettemacarons. com) and Sucré (shopsucre. com), Marshmallows: Sucré (, Menus: Cherry Blossom Creations (cherryblossomcreations. com), Menu calligraphy: Designs by Robyn Love (designsbyrobynlove.web. officelive com), Favors: Cherry Blossom Creations (cherryblossomcreations com), Wooden objet d’art: Fiore of Pensacola (fioreofpensacola. com); Pound cakes: Janie’s Cakes ( and Nonnie Waller’s (nonniewallers. com), “Our Wedding” cake flag banner: Baumbirdy (baumbirdy.


DESIGN TAKEAWAY Love the shiny baubles our model is sporting? Get her luxe look for less by renting jewelry for your big day. We love the options from Avelle (, where fabulous (and expensive!) designs by names like Tiffany & Co., Alexis Bittar, and Chanel can be yours for the week for a fraction of the listing price. Happy shopping!

DETAILS: Groom's bowtie: XOElle (, Groom's seersucker suit: Paul Fredrick (paulfredrick. com), Groom's pocket square: Julian's (, Bride's dress: Nicole Miller ( from Nouveau Flowers (nouveauflowers. com), Bride's hair flower: Sweetpea + Fawn (sweetpeaandfawn.etsy. com), Earrings: Avelle (, Bracelet: Adorn Brides Fine Jewelry Rentals ( Parasol: Pamela's Parasols (pamelasparasols. com)

palettes Interestingly enough, this table’s pop comes not from what’s on the table, but from what’s above it: namely, a tangled cluster of mason jars, glittering tea lights, rough twine and elegant strips of a sonnet written in calligraphy. The organic chandelier sets the stage for the table it sheds light on, with its kitschy dessert saucers and rustic beeswax candle favors. Vintage photos from past weddings, a bee-lightful bee boutonniere, and an abundant dessert table (thick with pound cakes and sweets!) polish off this rustic, farmer’s marketinspired tablescape.


jeff holt

Photographer: Jeff Holt (, Stylist: Joy Thigpen (, Stylist's assistant: Ashley Meaders (dolciodille. com), Florist: Fiore of Pensacola (, Assistants: Shelby Peaden (, Sandy Sansom, Venue: The WaterColor Resort (


DETAILS: Calligraphy strips: MM Ink (, Bike basket and head garland: Dolci Odille (, Hair flower: Twigs & Honey (, Banjo and bee boutonnieres: Fritts Rosenow (, Beeswax candles: Beau-coup Favors (, Macarons: Paulette Macarons (paulettemacarons. com) and Sucre (, Bee bowtie: Southern Proper (, Tree trunk cake stands: Jessica Johnson (, Bee skep sculpture: Middleburg Folk Art Studio (, Pound cakes: Janie's Cakes (, Dark chocolate caramel cookies: Sucre (, "Our wedding" cake flag banner: Baumbirdy (, "Give luck" reusable fabric gift wrap: Chewing the Cud (, Rentals: NationWide Tents 'N Events (, Linens: La Tavola Linen (

DESIGN TAKEAWAY For a luxe look from simple materials, think abundance. Stylist Joy created the over-the-table chandelier by embellishing inexpensive clear mason jars with freeform twists of twine, string and ribbon. For additional ambiance, we stocked the jars with battery-operated tea lights and hung them as tightly-packed as we could from a sturdy branch.

W W W. M S P - P H OTO G R A P H Y. C O M





Ahoy! This classic red, white and blue palette proves that you don’t have to be near the sea to carry a nautical theme off to perfection. To complete this look, pair a custompainted runner with crisply monogrammed napkins, add in bountiful, monochromatic carnation centerpieces, and splurge on colorful glassware and colorcoordinated vintage wine bottles. For the more classic beside-the-sea take, turn the page. Smooth sailing ahead!

Photographer: Kyle Barnes (, Styling: Bliss Event Group (, Flowers: Fifty Flowers (, Floral Designer: Fisher's Flowers (, Caterer: Cafe Thirty-A (, Hair and Makeup: Two Fishes Artistry ( Venue: The WaterColor Resort (



kyle barnes

DESIGN TAKEAWAY Though not for everyone, arranging flowers yourself can be a great moneysaver. For this shoot, we ordered a variety of monochromatic blooms from the wonderful Keep things simple for yourself by ordering just one type or color of flower and make sure to leave plenty of time for processing once the flowers arrive on your doorstep a few days before the wedding.



DETAILS: Calligraphy strips: MM Ink (, Groom's suit: Paul Fredrick (, Groom's tie: Paul Fredrick (paulfredrick. com), Bride's dress: Nicole Miller ( from Nouveau Flowers (, Bride's jewelry: Adorn Brides Fine Jewelry Rental (, Painted custom runner: Customized Wedding Creations (, Embroidered runner and napkins: Filigree Monogram Designs (, Rentals: The WaterColor Resort (, Linen: La Tavola Linen (, Blue glassware: World Market (, Red heels: Christian Louboutin (, Glass jars: Beau-coup Favors (, Truffle favors: Nonnie Waller's (, Red leather favor boxes: World Market (, Shell ring holder: Muscari (


DETAILS: Calligraphy strips, menus, and placecards: MM Ink (, Groom's suit: Paul Fredrick (, Groom's tie: Paul Fredrick (, Bride's cuff and earrings: Avelle (, Bride's necklace: Adorn Brides Fine Jewelry Rental (, Bride's Dress: J. Crew (jcrew. com), Painted custom runner and boat banner: Customized Wedding Creations (, Embroidered runner and napkins: Filigree Monogram Designs (, Rentals: The WaterColor Resort (, Linen: La Tavola Linen (, Blue glassware: World Market (, Mini lanterns and glass jars: Beau-coup Favors (, Manzanita branches: Fiore of Pensacola (


Jennifer Ericksen



For your once in a lifetime moment

Based in North Carolina Available for travel worldwide


c h a r l e s t o n / s a n ta b a r b a r a / w o r l d w i d e


phone 877.641.4355


u n v e i l i n g t h e n e w W W W. C O R B I N G U R K I N . C O M t h i s fa l l


ways to have a

a guide to southern style for the modern couple



WE LIKE TO THINK we know a lot about weddings in the South. We are, after all, Southern Weddings Magazine. But when we turned to some of our favorite experts across the country and asked what they thought put the “Southern” in a Southern wedding, we couldn’t have predicted the response we’d get. People had opinions (oh boy, did they have opinions!), but they also had fabulous ideas for how to bridge the space between traditional and modern, handmade and luxe, current and timeless. Luckily, all of our experts agreed on one point: though fashion and menu choices may change, grace, warmth, and style—those eternal hallmarks of a true Southern wedding—will never go out of style. We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. 1. Tell a story. “When I first moved to the South, one of the most striking things I noticed was the southerner’s ability to tell a story,” remembers North Carolina florist Jennifer RoseSandy, owner of Salt Harbor Designs. "I marveled at the humor and insight inherent to the Southern story and, when I began to design weddings, I quickly came to realize that events here were no different: it’s all about the story! My favorite weddings are those that embrace this concept, where each and every detail plays a role in the larger story.” 2. Choose a venue for its looks… Locales in the South are often as good-looking as southerners themselves. From rustic farms in Virginia and Asheville’s Biltmore Estate, to a bungalow on Florida’s Emerald Coast and a stately park in one of Savannah’s squares, there’s a place that will appeal to every bride and groom’s aesthetic. 3. Choose a venue for its history… And sometimes that history comes very naturally, as Los Angeles photographer Jory Cordy well knows: “My favorite locations I have ever photographed are some of the original plantation homes in south Louisiana. The live oaks rooted on the properties are unreal—you could set up an entire wedding sheltered by those gorgeous trees.” 4. Or choose a venue for its sentimental value… “I worked with a bride and groom who held their reception at her grandfather’s farm,” says North

Carolina photographer Millie Holloman. “Look to family members and old friends for unexpected venues with meaning.” California wedding planner Lisa Vorce, owner of OH HOW CHARMING!, suggests utilizing these smaller, more personal venues for events like the rehearsal dinner or bride’s luncheon. 5. But stay true to its character. It’s possible to go all-out with your décor budget, turning a dilapidated barn into a ballroom or a clearing in a cornfield into a night club, but it can be equally as rewarding to work with your venue’s innate characteristics. After all, you chose it for a reason. Says Rose-Sandy, “I love weddings that allow the environment to dictate the design, creating an overall effect that feels organic. Nothing is prettier to me than millet and cotton bouquets at a farm wedding or a gathering of dogwood and lush garden roses at the local formal gardens.” 6. Mix things up. That’s not to say, however, that mixing modern and vintage elements to create an updated Southern look can’t be a wildly successful strategy. Sarah Darcy of wedding blog Classic Bride suggests placing stark centerpieces of cut wheatgrass on ornately carved antique tables, setting out Louis XV ghost chairs as seating in the courtyard of a centuries-old plantation, or using bold and striking color in a traditional setting like an antebellum mansion.

7. GO BIG. “Southern weddings are typically big in attendance, which means big cake, big band, big flowers, big tent,” notes North Carolina wedding planner Ivy Robinson. “I love the small town weddings – average attendance five hundred people!” If this is your style, embrace the chaos and spread the festivities over an entire weekend. We also love the idea of building in opportunities for your guests to chat each other up, like setting out conversation starting menus or buttons for each guest with a customized claim to fame (we like the offerings from Busy Beaver Button Company, online at www.busybeaver. net). Who knew that your mother’s great aunt and your groom’s childhood best friend were both horse-shoe throwing state finalists in their youth?

8. Stay small. Conversely, consider cutting down your guest list to only your closest family and friends, suggests Rose-Sandy. “This means that every guest has a vested interest in the stories that are told and the traditions that are upheld, which makes for a reception filled with hilarious toasts, emotional reactions and a sense of warmth that can only be created when a group of people have known each other for years.” 9. Stamped and sealed. “The traditional Southern bride loves engraved invitations on cream paper in black writing with the family crest centered at the top,” notes Robinson. “I like putting a spin on this by taking the crest and letter pressing it into a bellyband around the invitation.” Don’t have a family crest? Commission a designer to create a modern, light-hearted take on the oldschool imagery that you and your husband’s new family will be able to use for years to come. 10. Down the hatch. For something completely different, consider honoring one of your shared loves as a couple instead of your family’s history. Melanie Litchfield and Sara Brennan-Harrell, of North Carolina-based photography studio whitebox weddings, worked with a couple who used Hatch Show Print (online at www. to create an old-time Nashville-style music poster for their wedding invitation. Mail the oversize prints in a tube instead of an envelope for a frame-able keepsake. 11. Freshen up. Have ushers pass out La Fresh sunscreen and insect repellant wipes to your guests at your outdoor ceremony. The palm-sized packets are an inspired twist on Southern hospitality and are available for bulk purchase

on their website, www. 12. Gardenia girls. “Rather than dropping petals down the aisle, have your ‘flower girls’ hand a traditional Southern flower (magnolias, gardenias, freesia, wisteria) to each lady as she is seated for the ceremony,” suggests Vorce. “Gardenias are perfect for hair florals, and everyone loves the smell of them.” Pass out hair pins for ease of pinning.

13.NAME THAT TUNE. Caught between the pull of a string quartet and your desire to blast the Beach Boys for your walk back down the aisle? Vitamin String Quartet eliminates the need to choose: this classically trained ensemble has recorded tributes to major pop and rock artists like COLDPLAY, BON JOVI, and WEEZER. A familiar melody reinterpreted for your ceremony audience could be the perfect compromise.


“Wouldn’t It Be Nice” on the violin, anyone? 14. Tears of joy. Southern weddings, even more so than weddings in other parts of the country, are often a gathering together of two already close-knit families. This can make for a very meaningful and emotional ceremony. Be prepared for tears by leaving a small packet of tissues or a delicately folded vintage handkerchief on every seat at the ceremony. 15. Ring a ding ding. Likewise, to channel all of that emotion into a demonstrable act, incorporate a ring warming into your ceremony. Thread your wedding bands onto a ribbon and have guests pass them down the aisles, with each family member or friend stopping to say a brief prayer or wish for your future before they pass them down the line. 16. Tea-rific. Have wait staff standing by at the end of your ceremony with trays of sweet tea. Go rustic and serve it in mason jars or classic in pewter mint julep cups (they can do double

duty!). For the adults, alternate trays of Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka (online at, which comes in delicious flavors like peach, raspberry and muscadine. 17. Punch it up. “Bring back the punch! Champagne punch used to be practically required at Southern weddings,” laments Vorce. “I say bring it back as the signature cocktail. There are some great recipes in old Southern community cookbooks. Serve the punch in an unexpected vessel, like Moroccan tea glasses, to keep things modern.” 18. Wet your whistle. Round out the day’s drink offerings with a cocktail hour or late night bourbon and whiskey bar, suggests Jung Lee, principal with Fete NY and star of the TLC reality series Wedded to Perfection. While you’re at it, set up a cigar rolling station for the Southern gentlemen in the crowd. 19. Move the feast. Once you’re ready to eat, embrace the Southern tradition of a “moveable feast.” Stations and buffets are two of New York cake master Sylvia Weinstock’s favorite things about Southern weddings, because, as she says “you can float and talk to people instead of sitting for four hours with people you might not even want to speak with.” Weinstock also appreciates the outgoing nature of southerners: “They talk to each other and introduce themselves. You often don’t even realize you’re talking to someone from the other side of the family, whereas usually the two sides are separated.” 20. Minimize and diversify. Tara Guerard, however, principal and lead designer at wedding planning company Soiree, would encourage you to find everyone a seat and serve a tapas style meal at the table, eliminating the need for your guests to figure out how to eat from a plate and drink at the same time. “We like to serve about three courses of smaller entrees so that there isn’t an overabundance of food, and so that everything from a meat to a seafood gets served.” 21. Southern comfort. “Providing good food is an extension of love in our family,” says Georgia wedding planner Terrica Skaggs of Fabuluxe. “It could be the same way for your wedding.” Skaggs suggests working with the caterer to serve recipes that have been passed down through your family. We suggest noting the origin on the menu or food display to make sure your guests are aware of the personal touch. 22. Grit and bear it. Mashed potato bars? Delicious, but not particularly Southern. A grits bar? Southern through and through. Set out cheese, gourmet salts, bacon, honey, brown sugar, hominy, and shrimp for mix ins, and have an attendant standing by

ready to grind fresh black pepper. 23. Down-home delicious. There’s (often) no getting around it: at a true Southern wedding, your guests will expect some true Southern foods. For Preston Bailey, the premier event designer whose favorite thing about the South is its distinctive cuisine, authentic down-home weddings are all about incorporating Southern traditions (and a dash of opulence and elegance) in the food you serve. Appease your guests' appetite for fried-everything by dressing up the classics: serve macaroni and cheese in mini prosciutto cups or cheese straws splayed in cut crystal. Robinson suggests cutting pimento cheese sandwiches into fun shapes.

24. PASS IT PRETTY. No matter what you’re serving, presentation makes a huge difference (it can even make food taste better, we swear!). Robinson tells us the newest late-night trend is “butlerpassed FRIED TWINKIES. They MUST be passed on sterling silver platters—the real silver, not the fake stuff. Southerners pull out any and every piece of silver that they own (plus the pieces owned by their aunts and grandmothers) and press them into service at their wedding.” We suggest rounding up your bridesmaids for a silver polishing party in the weeks before the big day. It could be fun. Right? Right! 25. Home(town) girl. Dress designer

(and Texas native!) Lela Rose suggests tracing your roots through reception food choices. “If she is from Georgia, do a pulled pork appetizer smoked with peachwood. If he’s from Charleston, make sure there are local oysters or benne wafers.” We suggest combining Rose’s suggestion with Guerard’s, above, and serving three small plates: one to represent the groom, one for the bride, and one to honor the wedding locale. 26. Well groomed. With all of these other dessert options, there’s almost no need for a groom’s cake, that Southern staple, at the actual wedding reception. Guerard suggests serving it at the rehearsal dinner, instead. “A new take is to have the groom’s family host a smaller, more intimate dinner, then have either the bride or the groom’s family host an after party with dessert and champagne for all guests.” 27. Red alert. Another mainstay, the red velvet cake, is non-negotiable for many Southern belles. But expert Weinstock urges brides and grooms to reconsider: “It’s not a fine cake; it's inexpensively made. It’s made with cocoa and

food coloring, whereas a fine cake is made with imported chocolate.” A truce? Serve red velvet cupcakes at your bridal luncheon and stick with buttercream and almond filling for the wedding reception. 28. Just desserts. “In lieu of gifts,” Vorce suggests, “have family members and guests make desserts (pies, bars, cookies) from an heirloom family recipe and lay out a homemade dessert table. Use a beautiful vessel, and encourage guests to drop a copy of their recipe in. After your wedding, you’ll have an amazing collection of recipes from all of your dearest loved ones.”

29. SEND THEM HOME SWEET Favors? Love them or leave them, but we’re digging Michelle Rago’s suggestion: Rago, event designer and founder of Michelle Rago Ltd, encourages couples to hand out a bakery box of each grandmother’s best treat recipe at the end of the night. We love the letterpressed kraft paper cupcake boxes from simplesong designs (online at simplesongdesigns.etsy. com). 30. Sno-to-go. Rent a sno-cone truck, suggests Erika Firm, designer and president of Delphine Press. “Mint julep sno-cones are fabulous and pretty. Be sure to add a sprig of mint on top, and hand out short straws, as well.” Perfect for hot Southern summers! 31. Just desserts, part two. If your aunt or sister needs recipe inspiration, look no

further than chef David Guas’ recipe for salted caramels. His new cookbook, DamGoodSweet, is full of great updates to classic Southern recipes. 32. For peanuts. Another favor option, this time from Firm. “At our rehearsal dinner (outdoors, on the beach), we had giant pots of boiled peanuts for our guests to enjoy. It was the first time most of them had ever had this Southern treat, and we ended up writing the recipe down over and over. If I had known then what I know now, I would have printed the recipe on cards, tied them with twine to little bags of raw peanuts and handed them out as people were leaving.” 33. Break out the tabletop. And what to serve all this delicious food on? “Collect or borrow meaningful tabletop pieces to use at your wedding for an immensely personal touch,” recommends Calder Clark, founder of Blue Moon Events in Charleston. “Antique china plates, vintage crystal toasting flutes, mix-andmatch embroidered cocktail napkins, a sterling loving cup – any of these items could be used to personalize your reception and add a darling twist.” Our favorite part about this tip? It can be reinvented for every wedding style, from classic to modern, kitschy to rustic. 34. Powder puff. “We like putting a modern twist on what ‘typical’ Southern looks are. Recently, instead of using older silver pieces that seem a little outdated, we powder coated them white. It freshened them up, made them pop, but still retained that heirloom feel,” notes Guerard. 35. Paper cut. Another idea from Guerard: “Instead of silver passing trays with paper doilies, we find simple but updated trays and dress them up with custom printed paper liners that match the look or theme of the wedding.” We love the patterns from Paper Source (online at

36. SWING LOW. “Swings are so Southern! Hang a few wooden swings at your cocktail hour, group chairs around them, and a Southern crowd will immediately gravitate to the area, sip on their cocktails, and tell stories,” says Renee Armour, makeup artist and proprietor of Florida’s Two Fishes Artistry. 37. Chime in. Want to make a seating area even more inviting? Rago suggests hanging wind chimes and ribbons from the tree’s branches. Ribbons are a great design element for low country weddings; their long tails are reminiscent of dripping Spanish moss swaying in the breeze. 38. Get crafty. The southern states are known for their tradition of handcrafted treasures. “One of our couples was married in the family apple orchard,” remember whitebox photographers Melanie Litchfield and Sara BrennanHarrell. “They hung heirloom quilts in between the trees. It looked beautiful and made a great backdrop for portraits.” We love the idea of subbing in lace or a patterned fabric if you can’t lay your hands on a set of quilts—find great options at Purl Soho (online at 39. Let the light shine in. “What southerner doesn’t love a good sunset, whether it’s over the Atlantic, the marsh, or your own backyard? Bring the same ambiance to your wedding reception,” suggests Clark, “by remembering the three rules of lighting: you need ambient, task, and overhead lighting. If you can, hire a professional to uplight your venue, highlight its strengths, and downplay its


weaknesses.” 40. Light the night. Lee suggests lighting your tables with a long row of elegant silver candelabrum fitted with tall taper candles. We like the options from Creative Candles (online at creativecandles. com). 41. Lamp lit. Clark recommends scouring home goods and discount stores as well as flea markets and garage sales for great lamps to place on the bar or in the center of a furniture vignette. “Flood tables with votives and hang lanterns along pathways and in nearby trees. Drop chandeliers over dinner tables, stations, or your cake.” 42. Reduce, reuse, repurpose. While you’re on the hunt, try to look at ordinary antiques with fresh eyes. Holloman loves when her couples give tired pieces new lives: old nightstands to hold jelly jar favors, a hay wagon pulled as a gift repository, tractor seeders for oversize planters. 43. Fruit by the foot. “Why limit yourself to just floral? I love to incorporate food elements into my tablescapes,” says California-based floral designer Mindy Rice. “To break up the monotony of flowers, as odd as it may sound, fresh mint, ripe peaches, beautiful okra pods, unshelled pecans, blueberries on the vine—all can be beautiful to look at and will complement the various flavors of the evening, as well.” Rice recommends collaborating with your chef to both source elements and coordinate with the menu planned. 44. Native son. “I find it lovely to honor Southern heritage by embracing native foliage and flowers,” comments Darcy. “A single magnolia bloom makes for a striking bouquet, and wisps of wisteria look oh-so-heavenly draped across a chuppah.” In addition, Rice suggests incorporating dogwood branches, oakleaf hydrangea, phlox, gardenias, trailing passion vine, and Carolina jasmine for an authentic Southern feel. 45. Contain yourself. Rice loves working with unusual containers, especially for Southern brides. “Flower frogs were often used in the South during the early twentieth century. Simple blooms in a collection of frogs creates such an impact while remaining relatively impact-


free for your budget!” She also adores baskets: for florals, for bottles of lemonade, for hors d’ouevres, for parasols. 46. Laissez les bons temps rouler! “To infuse some added spirit to a reception, I love when couples include a vivacious New Orleans jazz band!” notes Darcy. Cordy agrees: “I have had some rad weddings in New Orleans’ jazz clubs. An authentic jazz and brass band and an expansive dance floor can go a long way towards putting on a great party.” 47. Down home duet. Bluegrass and country, that is. No matter how swanky your reception, a classic five-piece bluegrass band during cocktail hour could be just the right counterpart. Better yet, they are often surprisingly well-priced. And for the bride and groom that spend their Saturday nights linedancing, a country music band is an easy decision. 48. Loud outside. Weinstock, always the guardian of Southern hospitality, appreciates when the area for music and dancing is separated from the area for quiet conversation, especially at a larger event. We like the idea of setting up a lounge area outside or in an unused corner inside and stocking it with borrowed, inexpensively bought, or rented chairs, couches, and low tables. Ikea has some great options for the more modern couple (online at

49. FUN AND GAMES. Let’s face it: southerners are somewhat famous for their ‘staches, as whitebox

weddings reminded us. Play on that stereotype and stock your smile booth with ‘staches on a stick. We love the ones from Something’s Hiding in Here (somethingshidinginhere. For even more diversions, Cordy suggests lawn games: horse shoes for the ranch wedding, croquet and bocce for the garden party or Frisbee for the laid-back picnic. 50. Seer thing. “There is nothing sweeter—or more Southern— than a group of flowergirls dressed in their tailored linen dresses with monogrammed sashes accompanied by a dashing ringbearer decked out in a classic blue and white seersucker suit,” says Darcy. If you’re wary of seersucker overload, consider a ring pillow made from the iconic fabric. We love the version from Sweet B Papers (online at tinarie21. 51. Hat trick. Lee is a fan of chic gloves and hats on bridesmaids. Armour likes short, white lace gloves as an update on tradition. 52. Beg, borrow, or steal. We’d prefer the middle option, of course, but we’ll turn a blind eye as you do what you need to do to incorporate heirloom pieces into your wedding day ensemble. Clark suggests a grandmother’s point d’esprit veil or a sister’s shell cameo brooch, while Guerard would have you take the lace from your mother’s dress and incorporate it into your handbag or veil.

53. Quick change artist. “It’s hot as hell in the South,” observes Rose, “especially on the dance floor of a Southern wedding. Change dresses for the reception (something shorter), and be kind to your bridesmaids—make sure the fabric is breathable.” Look for gowns made of chiffon, organza, georgette, silk and crepe. 54. These boots are made for walking. Walking down the aisle, that is. Louisville-based photographer Todd Pellowe suggests a vintage pair of cowboy boots as the perfect complement to a lacy Monique or gauzy Amsale. Not brave enough to rock them at the ceremony? Pull them on during the cocktail hour so you’re ready to dance the night away once the reception kicks off. 55. Portrait of a lady. Rose also has an opinion about the traditional display of bridal portraits. “Please, we already know what she looks like in that dress, we were looking at her all through the ceremony. Instead, display handmade silhouettes of the bride and groom. They make for an elegant keepsake long after the wedding’s over.” We like the ones from Jenny Lee Fowler (online at jennyleefowler.

56. MAN ABOUT TOWN. “Elegant, charming and gentlemanly ushers and groomsmen are inherent to a Southern wedding,” remarks Marcy Blum, event planner and entertaining expert. Help your male counterparts rise to the occasion by gently reminding them of their responsibilities on the big day, and keep them on task by printing out a wallet-sized schedule of the day’s events for reference when guests inevitably ask them for assistance. 57. It takes a village. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Southerners are used to growing up around an extended family (whether biological or chosen), so don’t hesitate to showcase the talents of those you love. “I love the feeling at many Southern weddings that the entire town has come together to put on the event,” says Holloman. “Seeing neighbors bring dessert and step in as

parking attendants warms my heart!” Other great friend-or tasks: corsage pinner, program passerouter, guest book watcher and grand entrance introducer. 58. Get pinned. Speaking of corsages: this Southern staple is a great way to honor those who are graciously lending their time and talents. “Southern girls receive corsages early on: for Easter Sunday, for middle school dances, for high school football games,” notes Armour. “A Southern girl isn’t afraid of a corsage, and it certainly won’t overpower her personality, no matter how big.” Don’t just stop with your attendants, either; we love the idea of setting a tray of simple blooms (perhaps stems of lily-of-the-valley) by the entrance to the ceremony and encouraging each guest to pin one on. 59. For your shoe. No matter how many iterations they go through, Southern weddings will always be about traditions – whether that means following them to the letter or scattering them six ways till Sunday. Our advice? Choose which ones work for you, your groom and your family, and forget the rest. We do, however, love this idea from Clark: “Don’t have

a sixpence lying around in the family catch-all drawer? Buy one online for yourself and pass it along to each of your closest girlfriends for their future weddings. Start your own tradition!” 60. Good gracious. “Most of all, something Southern that will never change is being a gracious host,” summarizes Guerard. “It’s all about being attentive to your guests and their experience at the wedding—making sure that the lights are never too bright, the music never too loud to have a conversation, the food and drink plentiful and easy to access, the entertainment well organized and appropriate. It’s making sure that there is comfortable seating, a great view of the setting and a clear understanding of the evening’s schedule. You want your guests to feel happy that they attended your wedding, and not that it was a chore.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

61. “SERVE MOONSHINE.” Tara Knieser, Dixie Pixel. sw


WWW.CY N KAI N PH OTO G RAPH Y.CO M • 8 0 0 . 5 5 9 .6 812

Real-life couple, JORDYN + BRADLEY, got married! See page 90 for their delightfully southern wedding details.









Ann Whittington Events



Events Planned for royalty, rockstars and you.

w scott chester photography

the most glamorous Southern brides and beaus by katharine waterman

real wedding


hen a model marries a rock star, it’s understood that the resulting wedding will be a scene-stealer. Though Aubrie, a Deal or No Deal stunner who holds case number 23 in the show’s weekly competition, initially dismissed Josh, the front-man of international rock band Trust Company, as a stereotypical musician during their first meeting, the connection was magnetic when their paths crossed again after five years. Engaged just eight months later, Aubrie + Josh took long-distance wedding planning to a new level, flying back and forth from L.A. to the groom’s hometown of Montgomery, Alabama once every two weeks. When asked why she decided to incorporate fresh lemons into nearly every aspect of her spring wedding at the historic Oaks Plantation, Aubrie didn’t hesitate: “Easy! My middle name is Lemon and I wanted to play on that playfulness.” Indeed, everything from the handdrawn sketch of a lemon tree on the couple’s letterpress invitation to the lemon yellow dresses Aubrie’s bridesmaids selected played up the bride’s cheerful middle name. But while Aubrie + Josh spent months planning their ultraSouthern, lemon-inspired wedding, the one thing the couple couldn’t prepare for was the string of flash flood and tornado warnings that plagued Alabama in the four days leading up the wedding. Luckily, though Aubrie’s mother spent the morning scooping up puddles to clear the way for the bride’s walk down the aisle, the sun broke just in time for the couple to exchange their vows beneath the groom’s favorite oak tree in a ceremony officiated by the bride’s grandfather. Hoping to preserve the relaxed, home-spun feel of their outdoor Southern ceremony, Aubrie + Josh celebrated their new marriage with a down-home tented reception on the sprawling lawn of the Oaks Plantation. “Our reception, in a word, was fun!” Aubrie and Josh gush. Convinced guests take their cue from the bride and groom and hoping to encourage everyone to hit the dance floor, Josh jumped on-stage and stole the band’s mic to invite family and friends to join the newlyweds during their first dance to Jason Mraz’s “I’m Your’s.” Thanks to the groom’s impromptu invitation and the musical stylings of Just a Few Cats, the dance floor was full the entire night. Fresh summer cupcakes in chocolate, peanut butter and key lime and a candy table complete with an old-fashioned cotton candy machine offered a sweet ending to Aubrie + Josh’s star-worthy celebration. sw


photography by

kim box photography

DETAILS: Photographer: Kim Box Photography (, Planner: Southern Wedding Designs, Venue: The Oaks Plantation (theoaksplantation. com), Tent and Rentals: American Rental and Tent Company (, Florist: Southern Wedding Designs, Wedding Cake Baker: Icing Illusions (icingillusions. com), Caterer: Marchelle’s (334-365-8325), Bride’s Dress: David’s Bridal (, Accessories: Bel Aire Bridal (, Hair + Makeup: Christine Colucci of Makeup Mafia (, Reception Music: Just a Few Cats (


real wedding Sneaking in a quick nap before their mid-afternoon ceremony at the groom’s childhood church (and causing guests to speculate about the possibility of a runaway bride), Mary + Chris almost overslept their June 13th nuptials before finally joining their family and friends at the small, intimate ceremony where guests already knew one another by name. The bride and groom exchanged vows following emotional readings from Mary’s grandmother, mother and aunts and classical music selections chosen by the bride’s father.


or these Carolina natives, the allure of the laidback coastal lifestyle of Wilmington, North Carolina was enough to bring Mary Catherine and Chris back to live on the same street after their respective college graduations. As neighbors, the two started riding bikes along the beach with a group of ten friends, affectionately nicknamed the Bike Brigade. As Mary + Chris spent more and more time together, however, it wasn’t long before the Bike Brigade inevitably shrank from twelve to two. Several foiled proposal attempts and one romantic waterfront engagement later, the two-wheeling twosome found themselves planning a summer wedding where they first fell in love: Wrightsville Beach in Wilmington, North Carolina.

photography by

Millie Holloman

While their ceremony at the quaint Wilmington United Methodist Church was simple and ultra-traditional, their tented reception at the Bottle House Lawn in Airlie Gardens was a unique blend of Southern, oceanfront hospitality and modern flair. Hoping to bring the glamorous turn-of-thecentury garden parties of Old Wilmington back to life, Mary + Chris began their early evening soiree with a cocktail hour accented by chic umbrella-covered tables. Guests lounged on oversized picnic blankets spread across the lawn as the bridal party played croquet and bocce ball before moving to the large mahogany banquet tables for the evening's festivities. Guests noshed on a summer menu of roasted potatoes, seasoned asparagus, strawberry and pecan salad, and baked macaroni and cheese while family and friends toasted the happy couple and hit the dance floor.





DETAILS: Photographer: Millie Holloman (, Ceremony Venue: Wrightsville Beach United Methodist Church (, Reception Venue: Airlie Gardens (, Caterer: A Southern Thyme (, Florist: Salt Harbor Designs (, Planners: Salt Harbor Designs ( and Stellar Events (, Wedding Cake Baker: Nicki McRae (, Lighting: High Performance Lighting (, Paper Design: Salt Harbor Designs (, Tent and Rentals: Party Suppliers and Rentals (, Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Thread Social (, Bride’s Dress: “Ingrid” by Badgley Mischka Bridal (, Groom's Attire: Oscar de la Renta, Hair and Makeup: Head to Toe Day Spa (


B R. IDAL . . . S U I T E



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or Karen, a journalist from Washington, D.C., and Andrew, the Boston movie nut who makes a living making films, it wasn’t quite love at first sight. Indeed, though the couple met at a mutual friend’s party soon after their respective relocations to Austin, Texas, there was little reason to suspect a romance might follow their initial introduction to the Deep South. Eight years and a casual cyberspace friendship later, however, Karen + Andrew ran into one another at a bar in downtown Austin. While it was a month or two before either realized they had feelings for the other, things moved dizzyingly quickly soon after their reunion, with Andrew presenting a ring only a few months later while decorating their Christmas tree. To celebrate the city where they met and fell in love, Karen + Andrew decided to exchange their vows in a midMay ceremony at the Three Points Ranch just outside of Austin. The stunning natural beauty of the ranch and the surrounding Texas Hill Country meant the couple didn’t have to do much decorating – a blessing considering the pair only had four months to plan their wedding. To accentuate the stark landscape and create a warm, inviting event for the guests, Karen + Andrew designed their wedding around a bright orange and red color palette. After saying their I-Do’s, the bride and groom passed out tambourines to their guests who joined together for a happy rendition of “Put a Little Love in Your Heart” as the newlyweds processed out as Mr. and Mrs. Bujalski. At the evening cocktail hour, guests happily traded their tambourines for a live Mariachi band that serenaded the happy couple and added some distinct Texan flavor to the shindig. Guests were delighted with vegetarian appetizers and a full vegetarian buffet. Even after all the excitement of the newlyweds’ reception, the groom’s favorite part of his wedding day was hearing his bride’s laughter during the ceremony and witnessing her unscripted emotion. Some friendly advice from the bride and groom for all the other happy couples planning weddings? “Take wedding dance lessons!” sw

photography by

Q weddings

DETAILS: Photographer: Suzy Q (, Venue: Three Points Ranch (, Florist: Nancy Govro, Wedding Cake Baker: Faith Chan of Cissis Market (, Caterer: Graze Catering (, Bridesmaids' Dresses: Carmen Marc Valvo (, Bride's Dress: Nicole Miller ( from Unbridaled Salon (



real wedding


here’s no denying there was an instant chemistry between Shayla, the brunette beauty from Florida, and Kyle, the relief pitcher for the Kansas City Royals. While the bride insists it was her sassy snakeskin pants that first caught the baseball star’s eye, the couple quickly bonded over their mutual love of hunting and fishing. After seven years of domestic bliss with their three children from previous marriages, Shayla didn’t give much thought to a romantic proposal or an elaborate wedding. “I always figured we’d just go to the courthouse to get married someday,” Shayla confesses. Imagine her surprise on Christmas morning, then, when she unwrapped an engagement ring (cleverly disguised in a sunglasses box!) in front of her entire family. After their memorable Christmas proposal, it’s only appropriate that the happy couple decided to wed in an outdoor December ceremony in historic Hyde Park. The elaborate three-day affair began with a trolley ride through downtown Savannah that transported guests to a pre-wedding softball game, complete with custom team jerseys and a cotton candy machine. In a huntinginspired and pink-infused ceremony that celebrated the duo’s respective personalities, Kyle + Shayla exchanged their vows alongside their three children at the foot of the famous Forsyth Fountain, turned pink especially for the occasion. Before the bride’s grand entrance on her father’s arm, the couple’s children walked down the aisle to the Tarzan theme song, “You’ll be in My Heart” followed by the bridesmaids’ arrival to “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.” Shayla, in an intricate Pnina Tornai gown, carried a bouquet of hot pink peonies as she made her way down the altar to her tuxedoed groom. The newlyweds celebrated their perfectly pink wedding with an elaborate reception at the Mansion at Forsyth Park planned and designed by celebrity planner, Steve Kemble. The magic behind countless star-studded

photography by

scarlett Lillian

Shayla's love of pink and the couple's mutual love of hunting and fishing found expression in the wedding's signature motif (top middle).

Left: the historic Forsyth Park fountain flowed pink for the ceremony. Above: celebrity planner, Steve Kemble, heads down the aisle.




Subtle baseball-themed details were an elegant nod to the groom's career.

The signature motif even showed up on the dance floor as a custom gobo.

events for over twenty years, Kemble has planned dream galas for the likes of NFL superstars and U.S. Presidents. Cementing his status as America’s favorite wedding planner, the wedding guru has starred in a string of popular television series, including, most recently, Style Network’s Whose Wedding is it Anyway? With the help and expertise of Kemble, founder of the Dallas-based Steve Kemble Event Design, the new Mr. and Mrs. Farnsworth treated their guests to a truly oneof-a-kind wedding celebration that lasted until the wee hours of the morning. Despite the fanfare of Kyle + Shayla’s Savannah event, one of the most memorable moments came on the heels of the couple’s young sons joining celebrity favorite, DJ Reach, on stage during the formal dinner to entertain guests with a special spur-of-themoment break dance routine. To reclaim the spotlight from their children, Kyle + Shayla shared an intimate first dance to Brad Paisley’s “Mud on the Tires” before cutting into their respective themed confections: a hunting-inspired turkey cake for the groom and an intricate black cake trimmed in hot pink lace for the bride. After their three day wedding celebration, Kyle + Shayla jetted away to Sedona, Arizona with their children on a trip they affectionately nicknamed a “kiddie-moon.” sw

Acrylic ghost chairs added an extra dimension to Shayla and Kyle's opulent reception.

DETAILS: Photographer: Scarlett Lillian (, Ceremony Venue: Forsyth Park, Savannah, GA, Reception Venue: Mansion on Forsyth Park Hotel (, Wedding Event Designer: Steve Kemble (, Wedding Coordinator: Amber Nelson-Pert, Styled Events (, Dress: Pnina Tornai of Kleinfeld's (pninatornai., Florist: Harvey Designs (harveydesigns. com), Cake: Minette Rushing Custom Cakes (


K A L L I M A P H O T O G R A P H Y . C O M




real wedding


ust call Todd and Julie Romeo and Juliet. Theirs is the age-old story of star-crossed lovers, separated by many years and far too many miles, but this time with a happy ending and one of the sweetest courtship stories we’ve ever heard. For Julie + Todd, who met through mutual friends at a bar in downtown Austin, it didn’t seem like the instant connection they felt at their first meeting would be enough to overcome Julie’s recent relocation to California and Todd’s commitment to his Texas roots. Frequent visits home to see friends and family, however, sparked a very real friendship that inevitably turned into a full-blown love affair, all thanks to a single 3x5 black moleskin notebook. For the next two years, Julie + Todd became acquainted with the mundane details of each other’s lives through a pocket-sized notebook one of them carried at all times. After filling the pages with weeks’ worth of love letters, drawings, ticket stubs, music recommendations (complete with a mixed CD and personal playlist) and even a question-and-answer section (“What is your earliest childhood memory?” “What’s your favorite color?”), Todd would mail the notebook to Julie in California, who then would keep the book for a month before sending it back to Texas. Two years, 5 notebook and 960 pages later, Julie + Todd were not only best friends who knew almost every detail about each other, but also ready to move to the same city and finally begin their life together. The couple who began their relationship in their native Texas came full circle with an intimate wedding officiated by the bride’s mother at the Mansion at Judges Hill in Austin, Texas. Hoping to plan a wedding that would reflect their shared love of nature and the outdoors, Julie + Todd chose a sunny yellow and chocolate brown color palette that perfectly complemented their sophisticated bird theme. The bride carried a bright bouquet of yellow Texas roses and craspedia accented by guinea feathers from a local cruelty-free farm while her maids, in chocolate boatneck sheaths, held smaller versions of the bride’s bouquet designed by Julie’s sister-in-law. Following the outdoor ceremony, guests enjoyed a buffet of cheese and fruit while the couple’s favorite songs from Sufjan Stevens, Band of Horses and Sigur Ros set a relaxed and intimate mood. To bring the outdoors into their early evening reception and create a rustic, whimsical feel, the couple decorated the large, round banquet tables with handmade centerpieces of slender willow branches set in bird seed-filled glass vases and decorated with hundreds of tiny yellow bird figurines and crepe paper flowers.


pered Bakery with tentative ideas for an avianthemed confection. Much to their delight, the bakery more than delivered, presenting an impossibly intricate, impossibly cute chubby owl with delicate feather detailing. The owl was a lovely complement to the couple’s wedding cake, a simple three-tiered dessert set off with locally-harvested branches and tiny mushroom owls. sw

Julie and Todd, hoping for a groom’s cake that would make their guests smile, approached Sweet Temphotography by

whitney lee photography



DETAILS: Photographer: Whitney Lee Photography (, Venue: Mansion at Judges Hill (, Caterer: Sterling Affairs (, Florist: Heather Hollifield (bride’s sister-in-law), Bride's Dress: Casablanca Bridal (, Planner: Casey Callaham, Wedding Cake Baker: Sweet Tempered Bakery (, Photobooth: Say Cheese for Fun (, Invitations: Letterpress Delicacies (, Musicians: Leggiero String Trio


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Southern Weddings


The COLLECTION, showcasing V1-V4, will launch late in 2012 with the release of V5.

We’d be honored to have you join The Southern Weddings Family. Call or email anytime, y'all!


Marissa Kloess

Director of Advertising twitter: @marissakloess



real wedding


s Tara + Jeremy, whose whirlwind courtship lead to an engagement seven months after their first meeting and a marriage just nine months later, remind us, sometimes it really is just all about the love. Though Tara glimpsed Jeremy from the stylist's chair during a session at the Divine Appointment hair salon, the Texas natives’ paths didn't cross again until several years later, when both were serving as student ministry pastors at their local church. Convinced there was something special about the dark-haired minister-in-training, it wasn’t long before Jeremy asked her father’s permission to officially begin dating Tara and began planning what can only be described as one of the most romantic proposals of all time. When Jeremy arrived at Divine Appointment, Tara thought her sweetheart had come to keep her company while she got her hair done. Before Tara could take a seat in the stylist’s chair, however, Jeremy hit one knee and pulled out a small black box with a single piece of thread the self-described jewelry-minimalist would wear as a symbol of their love and engagement. Jeremy tied the string around Tara’s finger before knotting it and telling his fiancé he loved her for the very first time. Amazingly, the couple’s sentimental ring stayed on perfectly for their nine month-long engagement, until Jeremy + Tara cut if off the night before their wedding to make room for the two Saundra Messinger wedding bands the bride would wear as the new Mrs. Jeremy Marrone. As eight is the symbolic number of new beginnings, Tara + Jeremy's afternoon ceremony at a family friend’s Texas home on November 8th couldn’t have taken place on a more meaningful day. Inspired by the simple, natural beauty and earthy details of their ceremony site, the wedding perfectly expressed the couple’s sweet personalities. To complement the organic wheat fields and pristine pond of the family estate, Tara choose an ethereal Vera Wang gown and dressed her maids in champagne, ivory and brown while Jeremy and his groomsmen sported brown herringbone suits and handmade button boutonnières. Tara’s father walked the bride down the aisle to Jason Morant’s “Love Song,” where she was greeted with a standing ovation from her three hundred guests. Before friends and family, Jeremy + Tara exchanged traditional Christian vows (and a special promise to always root for the Florida Gators!) in a ceremony blessed by the groom’s father. For the couple whose first “I love you’s” followed their engagement, it was only appropriate that Jeremy + Tara’s very first kiss came on the heels of their official pronouncement as husband and wife. And that first kiss “was well worth the wait!” Jeremy laughs.


photography by



DETAILS: Photographer: Erik Clausen (, Venue: Private home, Florist: Bloomies, Wedding Cake Baker: Edible Art (edibleart.zoomshare. com), Caterer: Kay Little, Bride's Dress: Vera Wang (verawangweddings. com) from Nordstrom in the Dallas Galleria (, Accessories: Kenneth Cole earrings ( and Aldo flats (aldoshoes. com), Hair + Make-Up: Divine Appointment

To celebrate the new Mr. and Mrs. Marrone, guests dined on an Italian-inspired buffet and danced the night away while the younger guests enjoyed an elaborate children’s station complete with oversized pinwheels, games and coloring books. At the evening’s end, guests tossed mustard seeds as the newlyweds left the reception in a vintage 1930 Model A convertible. The groom’s advice for enjoying this kind of fairytale wedding? “Let the bride do whatever she wants!” sw



real wedding


ho would have thought a childhood dream of opening a bakery would one day lead to a dessert-themed Southern wedding? For Stephanie, a Florida native who had relocated to Birmingham, Alabama for work, and Wil, a drummer for an Alabamabased rock ‘n roll band, their shared sweet tooth was just the thing that brought them together. After asking their respective friends to introduce them to the other, Stephanie + Wil made an instant connection collaborating on their dream bakery. Appropriately, the couple’s first date was over a batch of homemade cupcakes. “Our meeting truly was the beginning of something very sweet,” the bride happily muses. After an equally sweet courtship and a rooftop proposal, Stephanie + Wil began planning a simple (and sugary!) September wedding. Naturally, the emphasis was on dessert! From the French macarons, cupcakes and cookie truffles to the candied apples, groom’s cake and multi-tiered wedding cake, the culinary duo made everything themselves. The big day wasn’t entirely about cookies and cakes, however. When it came to designing the wedding of her dreams, Stephanie based everything on a single color: PINK! “Ours definitely wasn’t your typical wedding,” Stephanie says of her decision to trade bridal white for princess pink. Like her color scheme, the bride’s choice of a dress was also wonderfully unconventional. “I never walked into a dress shop, never tried on any big, white gowns or long, flowy veils.” Instead, after seeing a beautiful Vera Wang bridesmaid dress in a magazine, Stephanie immediately found a seamstress who could copy the design. The only catch? The dress was pink, of course! Following the Sunday evening ceremony at the Sonnet House in Leeds, Alabama, the new Mr. and Mrs. Drake treated their guests to what the bride insists was nothing short of a “P.A.R.T.Y!” After the bridal party broke into the couple’s first dance as husband and wife with a fun choreographed number, guests posed for Our Labor of Love’s famous Smilebooth. The bride, who in the end did don a white dress in the form of a summery eyelet Betsey Johnson frock for her reception, says having their family and friends there to celebrate their wedding was like having “all of


photography by

our labor of love

Stephanie's maids carried thick clusters of white carmations.

DETAILS: Photographer: Our Labor of Love (ourlaboroflove. com, Venue: The Sonnet House (, Reception Dress: Betsy Johnson (, Caterer: Carolyn Counts Catering

The bride's pink custom-made dress was a replica of a Vera Wang bridesmaid gown.


the high school stereotypes eating lunch at the same table in the cafeteria. Our tattoo artist sat next to our grandparents. Our wedding really brought together people we love most from all different walks of life.” After enjoying a cornmeal butter cake with strawberries and mascarpone cheese filling (made by the newlyweds!), Stephanie + Wil set off for their San Francisco honeymoon with a touching, hand-written letter from the bride’s father. The easiest part of their wedding? Describing it: “Sweet, sweet, sweet!” sw



Stephanie and Wil served a delightful dessert buffet: meringue puffs, cupcakes, doughnuts, candy apples, coconut cake, macarons and marshmallow ice cream cones. Sweet!

real wedding


or Heather, the SoCal native and international jet-setter, and Preston, a real-life cowboy who wore his rodeo belt buckle on his wedding day, merging their respective city and country roots created the perfect balance. While Heather was instantly taken by the country boy’s charming “yes ma’am’s” and sweet Southern drawl, Preston couldn’t get enough of Heather’s endless supply of movie trivia and fast-paced sarcasm. After a Memorial Day get-away and an intimate laundry room proposal, the happy couple set out to plan a wedding that would celebrate their diverse backgrounds. Guests were transported to an earlier time with Heather + Preston’s late afternoon ceremony in the expansive gardens of the Heirloom Inn. The Southern-style 19th century mansion was the perfect venue for the couple’s July nuptials, celebrated with the groom’s young sons. Though her veil snagged in a tree as she walked down the arbor-covered aisle to an acoustic rendition of Pachelbel’s Canon in D, the bride didn’t skip a beat. With mist fans humming in the background to protect guests from the ninety degree heat, the cowboy, in sable-colored western pants, and the city girl, in a dreamy lace-trimmed satin gown, became husband and wife. To honor Preston’s Texan roots and celebrate Heather’s urban upbringing, the newlyweds treated their guests to an authentic west coast party with a hint of Southern sensibility. Before kicking off the night with some good oldfashioned Southern comfort food and Lone Star Beer, guests spent the rest of the afternoon lounging in white rocking chairs borrowed from the bride’s parents’ front porch. The oversized banquet tables, named after different Southern pies, were given a subtle down-home feel with loose centerpieces in old-fashioned milk bottles and antique mason jars. Naturally, the

highlight of the evening for this country boy was the vintage cake topper (complete with a western groom in a hat and cowboy boots) on top of the newlyweds’ horse-shoe confection. Guests got to take home a little piece of Heather + Preston’s Southerninspired shindig with personal fruit pies wrapped in twine. sw


photography by

jennifer longaway

DETAILS: Photographer: Jennifer Longaway (, Florist: Blooms by Martha Andrews (, Wedding Cake Baker: Ingrid Fraser (, Bride's Dress: Paloma Blanca ( from Clarissa’s Bridal Salon (clarissabridal. com), Hair + Makeup: Sherrie Long Makeup (

get marr ed making wedding planning a piece of cake

C h a r l e s t o n



C h a r l o t t e

. e l i z a b e t h s c o t t p h o t o g r a p h y .


c o m



real wedding


harmacy students who met while studying at Samford University in Birmingham, Anna + Tyler always assumed they would marry where they met and fell in love. After all, it was in Birmingham where the couple became regular study buddies, then fast friends, then ultimately an item on their return from Christmas break. An unexpected internet discovery of a breathtaking wedding at Carrillon Beach in Florida, however, led Anna + Tyler to scrap their B’ham dreams and plan an elegant and ultra-chic oceanfront wedding. Anna + Tyler beat the Florida heat and humidity with a 5:00 oceanfront ceremony. Guests held hands and recited the Lord’s Prayer during the traditional Methodist ceremony officiated by the groom’s hometown pastor. Even Tyler, in a lightweight summer suit and monogrammed tie, was teary-eyed as the bride, in a vintage embellished Amsale gown and garter handmade from scraps of her bridesmaids’ dresses, was walked down the aisle on her father’s arm. “Love personified,” Anna happily explains of her groom’s emotional response to her walk down the aisle. “My favorite moment of the whole day,” the groom chimes in.


photography by

vue photography

Anna and Tyler's photographers affectionately nicknamed Anna's veil "the puffer." Anna chose it before finding her dress!

• DETAILS: Photographer: Vue Photography (, Venue: Carillon Beach Meeting House and Village Green (carillon-beach. com), Caterer: Donna Townsend of Townsend Catering (doitgulfcoast. com/destin/townsend-catering), Florist: Christina of Nouveau Flowers (, Planner: Victoria Valpone of Carillon Weddings (, Wedding Cake Baker: Rhonda Joodi of Confections on the Coast, Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Watters ( from Bridesmaids, Inc. (, Bride’s Dress: Amsale (amsale. com) from Bridals By Lori (


Anna + Tyler toasted their seaside nuptials with a swanky outdoor reception complete with glittering chandeliers and lush hydrangea and lily arrangements . As guests passed trays of fresh fruit skewers and tropical drinks, the wedding party, in classic silk sheaths and tan suits, snapped photos. Weathered windowpanes hanging from tree branches directed guests to their respective tables for beach-worthy fare of fizzled shrimp, grits martinis, crab cakes and, of course, wedding cake. The multi-tiered “Butterfly Cake” with fresh strawberries and cream vanilla filling was so good even the bride didn’t get a piece! After an evening of dancing, well-wishers lit up the night with sparklers as the newlyweds sped away from the reception tent in a golf cart. For an avid golfer like Tyler, there couldn’t have been a better ending to his Florida I-Do’s. sw


Guests enjoyed the sweet scent of freesia, sweet pea and lillies while they dined in the chandelier-clad tent.


real wedding


here are few things in this world sweeter than high school sweethearts who actually make it to the altar. From their shared circle of friends to the numerous text messages and countless late-night phone calls they shared, it was only a matter of time before Carrie + Brian became Roane County High School’s “it” couple. Indeed, over ten years later, the only question the Tennessee natives now have is why it took them so long to figure out they really were perfect for each other. Once engaged, however, the couple certainly didn’t waste any time tying the knot: just two months after Brian presented Carried with a diamond ring in an intimate July proposal, the two were a short aisle walk away from becoming Mr. and Mrs. Curry. Not wanting to miss a game during college football season, the duo abandoned the traditional Saturday wedding day in favor of a Friday evening ceremony. But swapping vows on a Friday night certainly wasn’t the only unconventional aspect of Carrie + Brian’s vintage-inspired affair at the Adelaide Mansion. Instead of waiting until after the “I-Do’s” to celebrate with a romantic honeymoon, the soon-to-be newlyweds snuck away together a week before the wedding to catch the Tennessee-Florida game. When it came time for their ceremony, Carrie + Brian decided they would rather spend the morning and afternoon getting ready together instead of waiting for her walk down the aisle to see one another. Indeed, by the time the bride and groom were walking down the aisle armin-arm to an instrumental version of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing,” Brian had been the only person to see Carrie in her yellow J. Crew wedding dress. But the most unusual thing about their Tennessee nuptials? “Our invitations said the ceremony started at 6 p.m., but we actually got married at 4:00,” the bride confesses. “By the time our guests arrived, we were already married and ready to party!” Without any guests or even attendants, the couple exchanged vows in front of only their parents, grandparents and brothers. “Short and sweet,” the new Mr. and Mrs. Curry happily muse. Just as they were hoping, the newlyweds’ evening reception was “one big happy party” that brought 150 of the couple’s closest family and friends together in one place. With a special wedding day playlist streaming from the couple’s personal iPod, guests opted for keg stands in lieu of the traditional cakecutting and first dances. Certain she’s found the key to a fun and uniquely personal wedding, Carrie reminds other brides to make their wedding their own. “No rules apply!” sw

DETAILS: Photographer: Dixie Pixel (dixiepixelphoto. com), Venue: Adelaide’s ( Adelaide.aspx), Florist: Tommy at Gateway Florist, Wedding Cake Baker: The Gibson Girls of Southern Goodies (gibsongoodies. com), Caterer: The Gibson Girls of Southern Goodies: (, Bride’s Dress: J.Crew (jcrew. com), Invitations and Thank-you Notes: Baumbirdy (

photography by

dixie pixel


rooted in huntsville, alabama ~ available for travel worldwide


real wedding

photography by tec petaja *our former cover groom!

DETAILS: Photographer: Tec Petaja (, Venue: Burritt on the Mountain (, Florist: Wholesale Florist of Huntsville (, Wedding Cake Baker: Bradley's Aunt, Caterer: Creative Catering (, Bridesmaids' Dresses: Urban Outfitters (urbanoutfitters. com), Bride's Dress: David's Bridal (, Bridesmaids' hair pieces: Anthropologie (, Groomsmen's bowties: Billy Reid (


ordyn + Bradley never would have imagined that a casual encounter at a local Mexican dive-bar on Margarita Monday would one day lead to a festive Southern wedding in Huntsville, Alabama. But one romantic New Year’s Eve proposal at a swanky downtown restaurant overlooking the Tennessee River and a wonderfully vintage ring later, the Alabama natives were well on their way to wedded bliss. For Bradley, a lifelong tri-athlete who grew up running and training on Burritt Mountain, an outdoor wedding at the mountaintop museum could not have been more fitting. It seems the weather agreed: “It just so happened to be a perfectly breezy and cool day on our wedding!” Jordyn shares. “It was absolutely unseasonable weather for a mid-July wedding in notoriously hot and humid Alabama.” To Bradley, this surprisingly cool weather was a clear sign that it was the perfect time to marry his bride. In a sweetly romantic sunset ceremony overlooking Burritt Mountain, Jordyn + Bradley, joined at the altar by their four brothers and sisters-in-law, said traditional Christian vows for fear they would get too emotional if they tried to write and read their own. For a couple that both work at an up-and-coming Southern luxury clothing brand, it’s no surprise that Jordyn + Bradley were head-turners on their big day. Jordyn, who bought the very first dress she found on a spur of the moment shopping trip and who insists selecting her dream dress was the easiest part of the entire wedding, wowed in a summer-perfect halter gown from David’s Bridal while Bradley beat the heat in a lightweight tan suit and bright blue paisley tie. When it came time to exchange their rings, Jordyn realized her bridesmaids had forgotten to bring Bradley’s wedding band. Not about to let this oversight interrupt the couple's big moment, the quickthinking attendants borrowed a guest’s ring and passed it up to the bride just in time for her to place the make-shift band on her groom’s finger. The couple’s favorite moment of the entire day came a few moments later, when the preacher pronounced them husband and wife.


The new Mr. and Mrs. Bradley Dean celebrated their July nuptials with a vintage-inspired reception complete with distinctly Southern decorations from the bride and groom’s families and local antique shops. To liven up their ultra-traditional reception of first dances, toasts, cakecutting and tossing of the bouquet and garter, Jordyn + Bradley served Southern comfort food, courtesy of Creative Catering. After enjoying a home-cooked meal of chicken ‘n dumplings, corn casserole, biscuits with hot apple butter and even banana pudding, guests savored the simple white Italian cream cake made by the groom’s aunt. The newlyweds happily concluded their wedding festivities with a dream vacation to Oahu. sw



Mismatched buttons, spools of thead, balls of yarn and retro doilies found new life in Jordyn + Bradley's reception.

y o u r s t o r y i s a r t, p a i n t ed


K R I S T Y R ICE / W W W. M O M E N TA L D E S I G N S . C O M v



Imagine one location for guest accommodations, rehearsal dinner, bridesmaid’s brunch, a special ceremony, and exquisite reception. Located in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains, the Lodge is the ideal backdrop for spending time with family and friends during this once-in-a-lifetime event.






michael norwood jory cordy

sandgasm images by the image is found . photography

kyle barnes fred egan jeff newsom

WHERE: Everywhere! Made up of some of the best and most renowned photographers in the country, the Mammoth Men reunite for an annual trip to anywhere and everywhere. This year? The Dirty South!

matt sloan

WHEN: A group since 2008, the twelve Mammoth Men come together once a year to travel, take pictures and have (a little) too much fun.

jeremy parsons

WHAT: It’s a lifestyle, remember? (And some pretty good photography, too!)

mark brooke

WHO: Twelve photographers (of the wedding and portrait variety) + one rock star tour bus + an annual adventure + many far-flung destinations = a lifestyle.

gabriel ryan

justin lyon

In their own fashion choices, the Mammoth Men range from perfectly preppy and skinny tie indie to dashingly

suave and what can only be described as “we hope your mother still dresses you.” This variety made for some opinionated and hilarious responses. Want answers to the rest of your groom fashion questions? (Is it okay if my fiancé wears cowboy boots to our wedding? What if he doesn’t want to wear a suit coat or even a tie? He asked to wear sneakers… and a skinny tie… HELP!) Read on to find out which Mammoth Man advocates for the classic three-piece seersucker suit, which denounces the tails and top hat look as a “FAIL” and which fashion find all of the Men agree is a great addition to any wedding. Because let’s be honest: your groom (probably) isn’t going to dress himself.

nate kaiser

ost wedding magazines are all about brides, all the time. But after you’ve selected the flowers, booked a venue and found your dream dress, it’s time to start thinking about your husbandto-be’s attire. (After all: pictures last a lifetime, so you’ll always remember what your groom was wearing on the big day!) When the Mammoth Men, our favorite troupe of all-male photographers, announced they’d be heading our way for their “Dirty South” tour, we knew it was the perfect time to have all of our burning groom fashion questions answered.

michael chan


top image by the image is All other images by jeff newsom


THE MAMMOTH MEN answer your burning SOUTHERN FASHION questions

Let’s start with something easy: what do you think of bowties? Jory Cordy: In my opinion, bowties capture the sum and substance of modern style. Mark Brooke: Yes. Please. Nate Kaiser: AWESOME! Every morning I wake up wishing I were cool enough to sport one. Michael Norwood: Make sure you put some effort into learning to tie the things! Jeremy Parsons: Bowties are a great idea. Buy me a bowtie, and I’ll wear it.

Complete this sentence: Men who wear bowties are: Jory Cordy: Confident in their neckwear. Justin Lyon: Carrying the torch from generations past. Mark Brooke: Dashing. Jeremy Parsons: Way cooler than me. Matt Sloan: Cute.

Would (or did) you wear a bow to your own wedding? Jory Cordy: I did not and, yes, I regret my decision. Nate Kaiser: Unfortunately I was “styletarded” when I got married and didn’t. Now, I would definitely rock a bowtie! Michael Chan: Bowties are for anyone who loves fun. Fred Egan: Of course.

We’ve talked about bowties, but what about tails, top hats and, yes, even white gloves? Kyle Barnes: Wrong, wrong, so very wrong. Don't even think about doing that. You are not Jiminy Cricket. You are not Mr. Peanut. You are a groom. Michael Chan: Leave the white hats and gloves for the ladies and the tails to the butler. Gabriel Ryan: Maybe if you're a member of the British Parliament. Nate Kaiser: FAIL. FAIL. And lots more FAIL! Michael Norwood: There’s always those guys that can pull something like that off, but I’m not one of them. Jeremy Parsons: White gloves? On a man? What’s he going to do, challenge another man to a duel?


true bride confession: he still wants a magician.

Tails, top hat and white gloves. I would wear this get-up to... Jory Cordy: ...this year’s Halloween party. Or maybe next year’s. Kyle Barnes: ...ride on a riverboat… if you paid me. Mark Brooke: ...a piano recital, movie premiere or frozen yogurt date. (Depends on if it is Wednesday… Wednesday is frozen yogurt day.) Nate Kaiser: ...a "Thriller" theme party, or a Michael Jackson memorial service. Gabriel Ryan: my job. If I worked at Disney Land.

White smoking jackets: ye or nay? (Think Hugh Hefner, James Bond, Humphrey Bogart.) Mark Brooke: Hmm. I am going to go with nay, only because there was no mention of slippers. Fred Egan: Um, yes, definitely yes. Did you see Brad Pitt’s Armani jacket in Inglourious Basterds?! Jeremy Parsons: Now you’re talking! But you definitely need a good scotch in your hand and a pipe in your mouth.

And now for something a little more controversial: the ultra-Southern (and admittedly brow-raising) three-piece seersucker suit. What are your thoughts on this fashionable Southern staple? Jory Cordy: Wear the seersucker! Wear the white bucks! It’s the 21st century. The older classics are being reintroduced as a form of personal style, while some of the traditional rules are tossed to the wayside. Justin Lyon: At a few weddings this summer, there were several well-dressed men sporting seersucker suits. I had suit envy, I will admit, as they had a cool, Southern feel to them and looked quite good. Mark Brooke: “Wow, he must own Kentucky Fried Chicken!” Michael Norwood: I’m a huge fan of the seersucker suit. If I’m anywhere near sailboats or magnolia trees, I’m sure to have it on. Jeremy Parsons: I’m all for it!

When I see a man in seersucker, I think: Justin Lyon: “Wow, he has good taste!” Nate Kaiser: “He didn’t have to iron his clothes this morning and I did, dangit!” Fred Egan: “He beat me to the punch!” Michael Norwood: “Where did he get that suit?!” Jeremy Parsons: “He is freaking handsome!” Gabriel Ryan: “Wow, he’s my hero!”

The perfect time and place for a seersucker suit is:

Fred Egan: Time? Summer. Place? Weddings. For more casual affairs, I choose a madras cummerbund in lieu of the vest and occasionally substitute shorts for the trousers.

Be honest: who can wear seersucker suits? Can non-Southern gents trade on this favorite Dixie tradition or must you be south of the Mason-Dixon line to rep this ensemble? Jory Cordy: Seersucker is not restricted by the origin of its wearer. When designers like Alexander McQueen and Jil Sander start racking the seersucker, you can walk down Mercer St. feeling like a pure Southern gentleman. Kyle Barnes: If the temperature on your wedding day is over 75°, you can wear seersucker…. write that down. Fred Egan: Hailing from south of the MasonDixon line isn’t required to look great in seersucker. Confidence and a good tailor are, however. Michael Norwood: I was born and raised in the South, but I think anyone can pull off a seersucker suit. It sure does feel a whole lot more natural with a glass of sweet tea in your hand, though! Jeremy Parsons: Seersucker does not discriminate.

We’ve all seen it at least once: cowboy boots at a wedding, oftentimes paired with a suit. Can grooms and their attendants wear this Western staple without looking like a wannabe cowboy? Jory Cordy: Unless you're saddling up postvows to gallop off into the sunset, I would stick with a classic shoe that complements both your suit and your pride. Kyle Barnes: This one’s easy: if boots are your everyday attire, you can wear them to your wedding. But don’t wear your everyday boots…. choose different (special) ones. Nate Kaiser: Nope, it defies the very laws of the universe. Mark Brooke: It really depends on the size of your belt buckle. Michael Chan: If skaters can wear Vans with a suit, cowboys can wear boots. If you don’t skate or wrangle cows, a wedding isn’t a great time to fake it. Fred Egan: No. The only men allowed to wear cowboy boots are actual cowboys. And by actual cowboys, I mean you rode your own horse to the wedding. Michael Norwood: Nope. Don’t do it unless you’ve actually got a ranch with a couple thousand head of cattle. Even then, think twice. Jeremy Parsons: Not unless your suit is made of tight wrangler denim. However, girls can definitely rock them! THE NEXT PAGE IS AWESOME >>>



Let us manage all the details so you can enjoy the day you’ll never forget.






Colorful and classic, these pocket squares come in prints like pheasant, shotgun, magnolia, and palmetto. Because every Southern gentleman knows that no pocket should be left empty! ($35 each,

Hidden message colar stays. Made of stainless steel, these collar stays feature twelve different love notes, like "You're so handsome" and "You share your dessert," to tuck in your man's collar. ($39.95 for a set, Polish off your groom’s wedding day look with an ultra-stylish cufflink set from Left to right: Crimson Burst Cufflinks ($150, from the LOMA collection), Deco Maltese Cross Cufflinks ($150, from the LOMA collection), Sterling Sailboat Cufflinks ($150)

kyle barnes

J. Crew


Top to bottom: solid and printed neckties from The Belle and the Beau ($21.95 each,, recycled fabric bowties from XOElle (starting at $30,

Perfectly preppy bowties from the Beaus Collection by Southern Proper ($48 each, southernproper. com), photographed by Fred Egan

Roses not your guy’s thing? These fun and funky boutonnières from Peppermint Cloud will add a uniquely personal touch to your wedding day photos. (Custom colors and designs available upon request. Starting at $20.

The appropriately named "Southern Drawls" from Southern Proper come in each of their signature prints ($25 a pair,

Hard to ignore since 1974. Custom Converse starting at $45.00 from, Photograph by W. Scott Chester Photography


Jory Cordy: “I don’t own any shoes besides my Chuck Taylor’s.” Justin Lyon: New school cool. Kyle Barnes: Bowties and shorts. There are a very limited number of places where this is okay, so usually the answer is no. Mark Chan: 1999. Nate Kaiser: Sure! Paired with a slim-cut suit and the right accessories, you’re good to go! Fred Egan: Welcome to Los Angeles, CA. Jeremy Parsons: A bad idea. It’s like wearing white socks with black pants. Wear nice shoes to your wedding, please. Gabriel Ryan: Very few can make this work. Shoes are your most important accessory.

Bright, patterned knee socks, boutonnieres made of cotton blossoms and suspenders: perfectly preppy or a little too colorful for your taste?

Can men (other than your grandfather) wear pocket squares without looking pretentious or really out of place? Jory Cordy: My grandfather has given me every pocket square I own. I wear them with sentiment regardless of how pretentious I may look. Kyle Barnes: ABSOLUTELY. Pocket squares are a handsome addition to any outfit. Just don't blow your nose on it. Mark Brooke: Absolutely. Wait, are they not okay in a pocket t-shirt?! Should I take mine out right now? Fred Egan: I hope so. I just wore one the other day. But then again, maybe I am pretentious and out of place altogether.

What’s the verdict on skinny ties? Too 1980’s or totally awesome? Jory Cordy: Skinny ties are totally awesome, but they’re all about proportion. The slimmer the suit, the slimmer the tie. Some might say the slimmer the man, the slimmer the tie, but the rule of thumb here is the widest point on your tie should match the widest point on your lapel. Kyle Barnes: Wear a tie shaped like you: skinny ties for skinny dudes, wider ties for not-so-skinny dudes. Fred Egan: The proper width of your tie depends on the spread of your collar and the fit of your suit. Planning to sport a slim cut suit? A skinny tie would be appropriate. Michael Norwood: If you can’t tell which is the wide end while tying it, it's too skinny. Jeremy Parsons: I hate them. But what do I know … I’m from the Midwest! Gabriel Ryan: Keep flossing the skinny tie, but be careful not to go too skinny. Matt Sloan: Rad. I love this look.

Complete this equation: Sneakers + Suits =

Michael Chan: “One does want a hint of color.” – The Birdcage Nate Kaiser: Perfectly preppy! Justin Lyon: The socks and suspenders are both perfect in my book and something I, myself, enjoy wearing. As for the cotton blossom boutonnieres: I’m not sure this is ever going to be okay by me! Kyle Barnes: It sounds fun enough, but not my cup of sweet tea. Jeremy Parsons: Totally my taste. I definitely hit up the ankle flair. Gabriel Ryan: Right up my alley. You can tell a lot about a man by his socks.

Some Southern men are known as much for their distinctive fashion and country drawls as they are for their polished manners and perfect execution of Emily Post’s rules for proper etiquette. So settle a debate for us: If you are not part of the wedding part, is it okay to wear white to a wedding? Jory Cordy: I’m going to say too close for comfort. Kyle Barnes: Some white, yes. All white, no. Justin Lyon: I would say yes. It’s not often that the groom is even wearing white. I would say add a little bit of color to it and make it your own. Fred Egan: Generally speaking, if you’re not the bride, wearing white is frowned upon; however, I did wear a white casual suit at an August wedding in Atlanta. Oops! Jeremy Parsons: No. Never. Matt Sloan: Yes, as long as it is not fully white and is paired up with some color.

Kyle Barnes: No, a penguin suit isn't a “must,” but if a guy is not in some kind of a two-piece suit the only alternative is a navy blazer and well-pressed khakis. Michael Chan: Consistency is key. If your wedding is clown-themed, a watersquirting trick daisy might be your best accessory. Nate Kaiser: A more appropriate answer would be, never rent! I have yet to see a groom look anywhere near as put together in a rented suit or tux as one in a purchased and tailored one. Jeremy Parsons: This should not ever be debated… ever. Let the groom wear what he wants, as long as the bride is on board. Fred Egan: A full tux is a must. A coat and tie are okay for church, Sunday brunch and your high school reunion, but not your wedding. Matt Sloan: I don’t think any groom should ever have to wear a tux if he doesn’t want to. If he doesn’t feel comfortable wearing it, he shouldn’t.

What if the husband-to-be doesn’t even want to wear a tie? Kyle Barnes: This can be acceptable under the right circumstances. To quote the 2006 movie The Pursuit of Happyness: "What would you say if a man walked in here with no shirt? He must have had on some reaaaally nice pants." Fred Egan: Learning to knot a tie is a rite of passage. Man up.

For my own wedding, the one thing I’d be sure to wear is: Kyle Barnes: Without question, seersucker. Seersucker is THE only way to go. If you live in the South and your wedding is too formal for seersucker, then guess what? Your wedding is too formal. Michael Chan: Boxer-briefs. Mark Brooke: Deodorant. Gabriel Ryan: A great pair of shoes! Michael Norwood: Pants. I always wear pants.

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through the "Dirty South" or for epic weddings

Must a groom always don a full tuxedo to his wedding or will a coat and tie do as well? What if the husband-to-be doesn’t even want to wear a tie? Justin Lyon: Your wedding is all about you, the husband-to-be. If you don't feel like wearing a tie, or feel like going with just a coat and tie, own it, make it look good and enjoy your day!


true bride confession: I confess I think The Chicken Dance is fun. Silly, yes, but fun. I like how awkward it gets during the promenade. Nobody ever knows what to do and just ends up laughing. I'm not having it at my wedding, though, because my toocool friends will beat me senseless.

Top left: bowties from XOElle (

photography by jeff newsom


Serving the Southeast and Worldwide • • 850-699-3403 


Judi Painted it





TOP ROW, LEFT TO RIGHT: Elizabeth Messina (elizabethmessina com), Bonnie Tsang (, Sean Flanigan (, Leo Patrone (leopatronephotography. com), Meg Perotti (, Leo Patrone, Jeff Newsom (, 1A: W Scott Chester Photography(wscottchester. com), Jeremy Parsons (, 2ND ROW: Scarlett Lillian (, Melissa Schollaert (, Sarah Rhoads Photographers (, Jeff Newsom, Fred Egan (, W Scott Chester Photography


true bride confession: he took my name when we got married.



3RD ROW: Gabriel Ryan (, Denise Bovee (, Ulmer Studios (, Christine Meintjes (, Jeff Newsom, Leo Patrone, Jeff Newsom (


of wedding planning by simon t. bailey

I’m a guy, right? So during the planning of my own wedding, I am pretty sure I was merely there to show up and shut up, but certainly not to voice an opinion or offer suggestions. And, really, that was fine with me. I didn’t care so much about picking out a china pattern or deciding between shrimp and chicken croquettes (which were big at the time) for the reception. I just wanted to go ahead and marry that beautiful, intelligent and caring woman before she changed her mind. But it was totally different for my wife, and, as a liberated, twenty-first century guy who is in touch with his feelings, I also know that putting on a wedding (and especially a Southern wedding) is much more complicated for every bride out there. First of all, Southern weddings are often steeped in formalities and traditions that don’t always allow for much free choice or individuality. Then there’s the financial concern: weddings can cost a bundle. It’s no wonder the whole process – which foreshadows a couple’s future and symbolizes the sacred joining of two souls, two minds, two bodies and two families - can be stressful, hurtful and, sometimes, anything but unifying. My BFF Ivy Robinson, CEO of Ivy Robinson Weddings and Events in Charlotte, North Carolina told me once that she spends 90 percent of her time as a wedding planner acting as a therapist and a mediator between brides and their mothers. Wow! Does that surprise you, too? A mother of one of her clients even threatened that if Ivy didn’t do exactly as she (the mother) wanted, she had an attorney standing by. (And that was right after the mother had graciously told her daughter she could have whatever kind of wedding she wanted!) At best, Ivy said, it is a challenge to get Southern moms to let go of the old conventions and rules that guided their decisions, let the wedding be more about their daughters than about them, and accept the new ideas and trends out there now. So, the real question for brides today is how do you get the wedding you want while still respecting the desires and expectations of your mothers, grandmothers and even your future mothers-in-law? How do you put on a wedding without pulling your hair out? How do you revamp and personalize old traditions? In other words, how do you marry the Old South to the New South in a wedding? And most importantly, how do the


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bride and groom and their families emerge from the planning process stronger for it? Right now, you may be thinking that elopement is the right answer. Don’t worry, I promise it’s not. Between my own experience as a happily married man going on seventeen years and advice from Ivy and Sylvia Weinstock, who is yes, you got it, the famous cake lady who has been married for sixtythree years, there are several things you can do to make the engagement and wedding planning process harmonious, enjoyable and fitting. Think of it as untying the “nots” so you can apply the skills that will help you and your future husband become one. 1. COMMUNICATE, WITH A CAPITAL C. Sit down with your mother, your grandmother, your mother-in-law and anyone else in the family who matters and talk to them. Ask them about their own weddings and the most memorable moments of that day for them. Be kind, care, really listen and refrain from judgment. Explain what you want from your own ceremony and the surrounding festivities and why. Talk with your fiancé, too. Find out what he wants. Make sure he has a say. Also understand there is a significant difference between communication and understanding. At my own wedding, my sole assignment was to secure a photographer. My wife had asked that I take care of that one simple task. I hired one, alright. The problem was that he was the cheapest person I could get (Renee and I paid for our own wedding and reception), and he had never even photographed a wedding before. As a result, we have very few pictures we can proudly show off from our wedding. She communicated what she wanted, but I blew it because I hadn’t understood the real issue. 2. COMPROMISE – AGAIN WITH A CAPITAL C. The marriage isn’t just about you so, really, why should the wedding? It’s always about give and take. Don’t be a Bridezilla! Decide what is most important to you. Stand up for yourself when it matters, but be willing to listen to other ideas and the emotions behind them. If your mother and grandmother want you to wear the dress they wore, but it won’t work for you, ask about wearing their veil or carrying flowers from their garden. Don’t try to please everyone, but do identify who is worth pleasing. As a spouse, I realized very early on that I needed to release the need to be right and that I needed to understand my wife’s way of doing things and what mattered to her in order for us to get along. 3. RESEARCH. ASK! ASK! ASK! Never take the first offer. Nowadays, everyone’s price fluctuates. Most everyone is ready to make a deal and you never know unless you ask. Don’t be afraid to shop around and find creative ways to save money. I have a friend who traveled to another state to buy wine and spirits for her daughter’s reception because it was cheaper. She also asked a close friend to help her sew satin ribbons onto the table toppers. Finally, don’t rush things. Give yourself enough time to find good deals and enjoy the process. 4. TWEAK TRADITION. Incorporate what was special in your past with what will continue to be special in your future. Share family traditions and create new ones for yourselves. Use your grandmother’s beauty secrets, just update them. Wedding cakes, as Ivy pointed out, are another chance to improvise. Usually in the South, wedding cakes are all white, perhaps with cascading flowers in a pastel hue, but one of her brides decided to be different. She had hers decorated with lady bugs (made of icing, of course) because her mother, who had died when she was in high school, had nicknamed her “Ladybug.” It was


a way for the bride to have her mother present at her wedding. Personalizing the groom’s cakes is also a way to honor individual inclinations, Ivy said. If your groom loves a particular football team, decorate his cake accordingly. Or, if he is an avid golfer, you can have one made in the shape of a bag of clubs. Ivy offered a few other suggestions for combining Southern customs with new twists: serve sweet tea as a cocktail mixed with vodka; send out letterpress invitations on thick weight paper with a pop of color instead of the conventional engraved ones on cream paper with black writing; have a garter custom-made; and serve anything fried – fried green tomatoes, fried okra, fried chicken, even fried Twinkies! 5. REMEMBER THAT NOTHING IS PERFECT! Chances are good the wedding won’t be and neither will the marriage. At one of my friend’s weddings, three bridesmaids quickly, but gracefully, left in the middle of the service because they had been bitten by the stomach bug – compliments of the maid of honor, it was later discovered. At another wedding I attended, the best man fainted and, at yet another, the sixyear-old ring bearer growled loudly all the way down the aisle because he thought his job was to be the “ring bear!” 6. KNOW THAT YOUR WEDDING IS AN EVENT, BUT YOUR MARRIAGE IS A RELATIONSHIP. In addition to creating a wedding plan, create a life plan. Ask yourselves how you will support each other in these seven crucial areas: spiritually, educationally, emotionally, socially, financially, career-wise and health-wise. Expend as much, if not more, energy on securing the longevity of your relationship as you do on the successful execution of that one momentous, but single, day. Work toward becoming a family. I think falling in love is the easy part. What’s hard is staying in love and making sure that the wedding – the first day of the rest of your lives together – and the planning of that day is an enriching experience and a harbinger to becoming whole through each other.

advice from one of our favorite newlyweds, Dana a.k.a the broke-ass bride

Best advice for couples in the planning process: A wedding is not the sum total of design elements. It’s an energy, an emotion, a living breathing thing – not a static image. Weddings should be a reflection of the couple’s personalities. Some guests may have never even met you before – what do you want to celebrate about yourselves? What feelings do you want to evoke? How do you want to be remembered? At the end of the day, the only people you should worry about pleasing are yourselves. If you're happy, everyone will ride that train right along with you. Best tip for the day of the wedding: The best tip we received and we are so happy to have known it, was simple. On the way down the aisle, focus on nothing else but your partner on the other end. Holding Hunter's gaze in that moment was so powerful, especially because it was the first time we'd seen each other in our wedding attire. The whole world fell away and I was drawn to him. It felt like I was floating on air.

Top 5 tips for keeping laughter in your relationship during planning: 1. Every time we visited a venue, we stood at the altar, and performed the following ceremony: Dana: Do you? Hunter: I do. Do you? Dana: I do! *kiss* Both: Yay, we're married! It was a fun and silly way to remind us of what we were really doing, rather than stressing over every little detail of the location. We got to test drive each place in a sweet and memorable way. To this day, we perform the same ceremony at any altar we happen across. 2. Don't take anything too seriously. If the glue on your DIY invitations is showing, it just adds character and charm. If you're killing yourselves over details, just cut them out - no one will miss the glitter on your escort cards or the origami folded napkins. But if you must stay up all night sewing table runners, make it a party and invite some friends to drink sangria and sew along with you. 3. Throw etiquette to the wind. As long as you embrace respect, love and fun everyone will have a great time. Don't worry about what's "expected" or what is "traditional" unless that's your bag. Focus on what's important to you, highlight what makes you YOU and everyone will feel the love. 4. We tried to turn every planning outing into a "date"... it doesn't take much to make an outing special besides calling it a date, putting on some lipstick, maybe, holding hands and flirting throughout. When better to court each other madly than while planning your wedding? This works especially well for food tasting meetings, longer road trips to visit venues or meet with vendors, or flea marketing. At the very least, tag on a "date-like" reward, such as a movie, after meeting with potential coordinators. 5. Whenever you hear a song you think might be a good fit for your wedding, whether it's at home or in the grocery store, just start dancing to it and see how it feels. We were often spotted dancing in the freezer aisle or the line at the video store. Once in a while a song will surprise you and turn out to be perfect! Plus, it has the bonus of making anyone who spies you dancing smile. That's always a good thing! What were we thinking throughout your wedding day? Honestly, I was sort of just thinking "fun, fun fun!" in a little 2 year old voice. We both just felt completely showered with love, and filled with joy. It was truly the happiest day of our lives... One word to describe the wedding: Supercalifragilisticexpealidocious!!!!!! Best advice for happily ever after? Keep having fun. To borrow from our vows, turn to each other and not on each other during times of trial. Hold hands and make out. Apologize and mean it. Forgive and mean it. Find ways to surprise and delight each other, to keep showing your love in new and unexpected ways. Dance in your living room.





BONUS! BEST BUDGET ADVICE? Be creative about your approach. Connect with similar brides and try sharing items across your weddings to cut the cost, and the waste, in half. We shared lanterns, vases, votives and more with another bride, which inspired us to start Brideshare. net so other brides could do the same. Do you have any talents or skills you can offer in exchange for deep discounts or full trades on services? I bartered half the cost of my wedding dress by doing invoicing and cutting fabric for the designer, for instance. Don't misread 'asking price' as a vendor's final price. There is often room for negotiation, especially if you approach it fairly and with respect for the vendor. Buy local and handmade goods as much as possible: you'll often save money, and you're also supporting smaller and greener operations that way.

TOPOGREATROOM.COM 100 East Franklin Street, Chapel Hill, NC

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Jamie Sangar Photography



a day in the life: top


Y'all know we love a good wedding blog! We're online all day, all the time at, so we knew we had to include some blog love in our print edition, as well. We were lucky enough to have the chance to interview four of our favorite bloggers. Their answers were all we could have hoped for: joyful, warm, funny, and insightful. And the best part? These ladies are truly as joyful, warm, funny, and insightful as their answers make them seem.

How would you spend an extra $100? Because we have a baby due in early December, I'd spend an extra $100 towards all the little things we'll need for the baby bee!

BEE KIM What is the first thing you do in the morning when you “get to work” (knowing, of course, that most of you work at home…)? What’s the last thing you do in the evening before you sign off for the day? Here is a glimpse at my typical day! 10:30 - 11:00 am - Wake up. Luckily it’s only 8am on the West Coast! 11 - 11:20 am - I sleep with my laptop next to my head so I can check my work email, personal email, Weddingbee, Weddingbee PRO, Bloglines and Xanga as soon as I wake up without having to get out of bed. 11:25 am - Walk over to my desktop in my pj’s and start working. 11:59 am - Check out Gilt Groupe to see if there is anything interesting. Resist temptation… most of the time. 12:10 - 4:00pm - Write Mrs. Bee and announcement posts for Weddingbee and Weddingbee PRO, edit/schedule posts for PRO, dial into conference call meetings, answer emails (from Bees, PROs, PR agencies, vendors, users), coordinate/write existing Weddingbee blog features and think up new ones, comment on posts, start threads on the boards, coordinate various projects for our interns, go through blogging apps, try to keep 20+ Miss Bees (many more Mrs. Bees) and PROS happy, plan/test new blog/board/ classifieds/wiki/gallery/DIY features, dream up ways to increase traffic… 4:00 - 4:45pm - Walk Francis the pug. I decided one day that I wanted to become a dog walker so I’d be forced to take a break from work and go on a walk each day. I put up flyers at a local dog park, and after one long month someone finally contacted me. I’ve been walking Francis the 16 year old pug for 3 years — he is the funniest, cutest pug ever! 3:30 - 7:00am - Work until I get tired (I have insomnia), and fall asleep somewhere between 4:00 - 7:00.


What is the best part of your job? While Weddingbee has helped and inspired many couples who are planning their weddings, the best part of my job has been witnessing the countless friendships have been formed through the site. Bee meetups take place between bloggers and readers, and it's incredible to think that Weddingbee has made it happen. What are five things you can’t live without? My family, the internet, a digital camera, great red wine and ridiculously spicy food. If your blog wasn’t about weddings, what would it be about? I have so many hobbies, and I could turn any of them into a blog! Photography, cooking, decorating, scuba diving, scrapbooking... stay tuned because you will see something new from me very soon!


CHRISTY WEBER What is the first thing you do in the morning and the last thing you do in the evening? Working from home makes it easy to just roll out of bed and go directly to my computer. Most mornings I try really hard to make a cup of coffee, take a deep breath, look out the window, or do something else to greet the day first, but honestly, I’m usually sitting at my desk within minutes of waking up. I just can’t wait to know what’s going on out there! I’m a super hard worker and a night owl, just like all the other women in my family (I often get e-mails from my 88 year old Nana at 11:30 at night!) so I don’t often sign off until pretty late. But when I’m really, truly calling it quits, I shut the lid of my laptop so it can’t lure me back in. What do you like to have around you as inspiration? Pictures of the people I love, my favorite images from the weddings I’ve photographed, books, books, books, and great big windows so I can always look up see the world around me. How would you spend an extra $100? For me, for fun, it always comes back to fashion and food. I’d buy something to wear that engages my imagination and makes my heart race, or I’d go out for ridiculously delicious food with a friend. What is the best part of your job? Being exposed to the creative genius of other people (including my partners Blair and Kim- they amaze me!) I am endlessly inspired by creativity, no matter what form it takes. I love having the opportunity to promote that passion and help both brides and businesses find success. What is the most beautiful place you’ve ever seen? The places that strike me the most are the ones out in nature that are so incredible they hardly seem real. I’ve felt this way seeing the underwater world while snorkeling in Mexico, the mountains in Colorado, the animals on the vast dry landscape in Africa, the world covered in ice after an ice storm in Michigan. It’s all so astounding; it feels like looking at a miracle. What are five seven things you can’t live without? The things that feed my heart and soul- reading great works of fiction, having an outlet for my creativity (dancing, singing, crafting, baking, problem solving, photography, etc!) the taste of food that’s so yummy it almost hurts, laughing with the people that I love, quiet time alone, beauty, and hugs. I’m a big hugger. If your blog wasn’t about weddings, what would it be about? Showcasing the things that people are amazing at. Whether that’s fashion, photography, design, performance, discovery or innovation, if it’s their passion and they are in the zone with it, I think it’s one of the most beautiful things on earth. It’s the product that comes straight from their heart. Or maybe my blog would just be about shoes. I could talk about shoes all day long.


ABBY LARSON What is the first thing you do in the morning and the last thing you do in the evening? Work starts at the crack of dawn in the Larson house. The whole family gets up around 6AM and after breakfast, I hit the ground running while my husband plays with our one-year-old daughter, Audrey. My office on the couch is very comfy and I rarely change out of my PJ’s before 10AM. After checking the gazillion emails that come into my inbox, I begin formatting the day’s blog posts. I write between 8-10 posts everyday so the morning is totally devoted to making sure that photographs look great, copy is written and there is a bit of SMP style infused into each and every piece. My day ends at 5PM, then begins again at 8PM. Strange, I know…but standard for a mommy/blogger. Our nanny leaves at 5PM and from that point until my daughter goes to bed, it’s all about Audrey. We have a few blissful hours of walks, dinner, play time and baths before I put her down for the night and then pick back up where I left off for a few more hours. The days are unbelievably long in our house and yet unbelievably wonderful. What do you like to have around you as inspiration? Magazines. I obsessively scour magazines: Elle Décor, Martha Stewart Weddings, Southern Weddings and a few other staples and I am never left without tons of inspiration for my day. How would you spend an extra $100? My very favorite thing in the world is to go out to dinner with my family and close friends. There is nothing like sharing a bottle of wine and devouring fancy shmancy comfort food. What is the best part of your job? Everything. I work with my husband, I am at home with my daughter, I obsess over the most beautiful weddings in the world. There are few jobs that are as good as mine and I know just how fortunate I am. I say a big, fat thank you to the universe every single day. What is the most beautiful place you’ve ever seen? The view from our honeymoon hotel room in Greece. We had an infinity pool that dropped right off into the ocean. It was almost hard to believe that it was real. What are five things you can’t live without? My baby girl, my husband and our pup are the top three. Obviously. But my must have “things” are definitely Project Runway, back issues of Domino Magazine, my cozy Seven jeans, coffee and French fries. Oh, and email….that makes six. If your blog wasn’t about weddings, what would it be about? Probably home décor or babies. Both fascinate me to no end and I have to hold myself back from launching these blogs all the time.


What is the first thing you do in the morning and the last thing you do in the evening? I typically wake up sometime before 9:00am, and the very first thing I do is check my email and then browse through the many blogs I subscribe to in Google Reader. This also tends to be the last thing I do before signing off, usually around 9:00pm. What do you like to have around you as inspiration? Gardens, books, handmade things, clever graphic design - things that take me outside of my computer and push the limits of my creative thinking.


How would you spend an extra $100? Definitely cookbooks. I love books, I love food, and I love beautiful photos, but with so many recipes online, cookbooks are such an indulgence. They're the perfect splurge for me. What is the best part of your job? Aside from all of the awesome people I get to meet and work with, I'd say there are two parts of my job that I just love - I love the flexibility of it, that I can go wherever I want at anytime as long as I have internet access, and I love the creativity of it, pulling together beautiful posts for people to enjoy. What is the most beautiful place you’ve ever seen? The drive from Marin into San Francisco, just after you come out of the rainbow tunnel and before you get on the bridge. That view is equally beautiful on a perfectly sunny day, on a clear night, or with the fog rolling in. What are five things you can’t live without? If I'm limiting my list to things and not including people, I'd say ice cream, my favorite jeans, down pillows, good music, and a good book.




If your blog wasn’t about weddings, what would it be about? Definitely food. Or road trips.



100 Layer Cake ( A Practical Wedding ( Brooklyn Bride ( Classic Bride ( Green Wedding Shoes ( Flights of Fancy ( Once Wed ( Ritzy Bee ( Something Old, Something New ( The Wedding Chicks (

true bride confession: we got our wedding rings last weekend, and last night i took mine out for a test spin while he was at work. totally worth it!






the perfect Moment . the perfect Place . WWW.BOONEHALLPLANTATION.COM


Mount Pleasant, South Carolina

destination guide by Emily Ayer

While the South is often a destination in itself, we know that even Southern brides occasionally opt for weddings in far-flung locales. Destination weddings make for some of the most beautiful and personal affairs, but, when it comes to planning and packing, they also present some unique challenges. Read on for advice from the experts!


From wedding planner and event designer ALISON HOTCHKISS

1. Accept help. One of the best destination wedding investments is to hire at the minimum a day-of coordinator. He or she will take care of any last minute details, help everyone get down the aisle in time, and take responsibility off your shoulders so that everyone can focus on what's truly important: celebrating together. 2. Keep your guest list expectations realistic. Traveling to a remote destination is always expensive, but in these tough economic times it might not be feasible for more of your guest list than usual. Graciously accept both the “yeses” and the “nos,” and remember to be especially considerate of those who have recently lost a job or have a young family. 3. Arrive early. Make sure to arrive early at your destination. It’s important to allocate at least a day to relax, chill out, have margaritas or a glass of wine, and let go of stress and anxiety.


photography by thayer allyson gowdy

PROS AND CONS OF A DESTINATION WEDDING By Rebecca Grinnals, wedding industry expert and President of luxury wedding market consulting firm Engaging Concepts (

The destination wedding—loosely defined as a wedding held at least 250 miles away from where the bride or groom permanently resides— continues to be an exciting trend in weddings today. Before you decide if one is right for you and your families, have a frank conversation about the pros and cons. Here, some thoughts to get you started.

PROS NATURAL GUEST LIST CONTROL. Let’s face it: the single biggest factor that drives the overall cost of your wedding is the size. Choosing a destination wedding all but guarantees that your guest list will not spiral out of control and allows you to focus on those nearest and dearest to you as a couple. PERSONAL REFLECTION. Opting for a wedding away from home is a great way to express your personality. Whether barefoot on the white sand beaches of the Caribbean, in a Napa Valley vineyard, a private villa in Tuscany or a summer camp in Maine, some couples love the idea of sharing a place near to their hearts with their most cherished family and friends. ULTIMATE BONDING. The best way to blend family and friends is to bring them together in a neutral and fun location. Offer plenty of dynamic activities designed to encourage effortless interaction, and by weekend’s end—if all goes according to plan—your guests will be friends for life! AMAZING SETTINGS. By taking advantage of the natural beauty or unique atmosphere offered at the destination you choose, you can make a big statement with small and simple décor enhancements. INEVITABILITY OF TRAVEL. Many couples already live far from their hometowns. Planning a wedding in a stunning (neutral) location sure to delight is a great way to share a mutual experience—especially if most guests would have had to travel to attend your wedding wherever it was held.

CONS MORE "REGRETS." Those that have difficulty traveling—think elderly family members, very pregnant bridesmaids, and college friends with young families—will most likely not be able to attend. Be ready for some disappointing ‘regrets’ to your invitation. GUEST EXPENSE. In these less than flush times, taking time off from work and buying airline tickets and hotel rooms are luxuries some guests will not be able to afford. LIMITED OPTIONS. Depending on where you choose to marry, you might have to compromise a bit on some design elements, entertainment options, and even cuisine. A good rule of thumb: the most exotic the locale, the more limited your choices.

4. Take inventory. Make sure to unpack and take everything out of your suitcase when you arrive, so if you forgot something you have time to find a solution or replacement for whatever is missing. [Editor’s note: See page 113 for more packing tips!] 5. Make it legal. Marriage laws and licenses vary from destination to destination. Make sure to thoroughly research the laws of the country you’ll be marrying in in advance, and be sure to pack any required paperwork in your carry-on luggage. 6. Be kind to your bridal party. Choose light, breathable fabrics for both the ladies and gentlemen, and consider allowing them to choose their own attire for maximum comfort and ease of planning and packing. 7. Consider the weather. While loose curls can be a romantic look, they are not the most practical for a wind-swept outdoor ceremony. An up-do is much more practical and equally as beautiful. 8. Take care of yourself. Try to eat light in the week leading up to the wedding so you won’t get sick or bogged down from overeating or eating unfamiliar food. Drinks lots of water to stay hydrated, especially in the heat. 9. Set an example. Remember that your guests will follow the lead of you and your groom. If you are relaxed, they will be relaxed. If you’re on the dance floor all night, they’ll be boogying down, too. 10. Have fun. The most important tip to remember is to let loose and have fun. No matter how much you plan, no wedding is ever one hundred percent perfect. Keep in mind the real reason you and your guests are there, and enjoy every minute of your celebration.


From the experts at MINTED, an online stationery store offering fresh, modern custom stationery and invitations. 1. THINK AHEAD. Wedding planning begins with a save-the-date. Choosing one that is personal and unique will set the tone for the festivities ahead. Don’t be afraid to play around with color and theme, as guests won’t look to the save-the-date as much as they will to the invitation for a clue to the event’s formality.

2. PLAN OUT YOUR TIMELINE. Sending a save-thedate well in advance is a great way to get guests excited about a destination. Traditional etiquette says to send invitations out only six to eight weeks before the wedding, so sending a save-the-date out as early as one year ahead of time is advised for a faraway wedding in order to ensure your target acceptance rate. 3. GIVE DETAILS. When designing your wedding invitation suite, it’s a good idea to prepare guests for the complete itinerary with a special “Weekend Events” card. Inviting guests to multiple events, like a welcome party the Thursday before the wedding, the rehearsal dinner, and the Sunday brunch, at

the same time will help them plan their flight times and departures. Noting attire on the card is always appreciated. 4. BE A GOOD HOSTESS. Even when you’re the bride, you’re responsible for making your guests’ stay as comfortable as possible. Sending a “What to Pack” card can give your wedding a boost in the hospitality department. If your wedding involves horseback riding, fly fishing, and scenic hikes, don’t forget to tell your guests to pack their cowboy boots and jeans. 5. PICK A PLACE TO STAY. When your destination requires complicated travel to an island or foreign country, noting train, ferry or airline itineraries and suggesting accommodations is a much appreciated gesture. In addition to central hotels near the venue, listing a reputable property rental company in the area is another option should guests be traveling in groups. 6. TIE IT ALL TOGETHER. For the bride who wants to keep her invitation suite sleek even with all of these additional enclosures, we suggest our booklet, a groundbreaking new format with four pages bound with chic grommets and a tab for What to Pack, Accommodations, Travel Arrangements, and Weekend Events. A booklet makes a wonderful keepsake even after the festivities are over!



From Beth Helmstetter, Principal Event Producer and Owner of Beth Helmstetter Events A welcome basket placed in guests' hotel rooms or passed out at the rehearsal dinner is a lovely touch at any wedding. But for a destination wedding, when the majority of guests are traveling a significant distance to celebrate with you, a welcome basket becomes almost a necessity. Try to include something guests can drink and snack on in the bag. When they get off the plane, chances are they will be starving and will appreciate a little bite to eat. Make this more personal by choosing food and beverage items that are regional or inspired by the area in some way. Chips and salsa are perfect for Mexico, while granola works best for a Colorado mountain wedding. I also try to incorporate some sort of souvenir into the gift. When in Hawaii, I use these great woven bags and boxes made by a little old lady on the Big Island. It doesn't have to be something as large as pottery or a bag, however: it could be something simple like a stack of vintage postcards or a miniature photo album. Always make it personal in some way. Whether you include a handwritten note or a few hand-selected books for each guest to enjoy, they'll notice when you take the time to remember them as an individual. The most important thing to remember? Like all wedding details, the basket should reflect you and your groom and the wedding you're throwing, but also the location you're hosting it in. Here, our suggestions for three specific baskets. To each, don't forget to add the basics: a good itinerary, driving directions, and a little bag of essentials like aspirin and sunscreen. Bon voyage!

photography by thayer allyson gowdy

ITALY Wrought iron basket filled with olive oil, rustic rosemary bread, Limonata, fresh lemons and fresh basil. The itinerary includes a welcome letter from the couple and details of the destination wedding weekend. We padded the bottom of the basket with an ultra-soft pashmina. MEXICO A variety of Latin-inspired pottery filled with tortilla chips and fresh lime, pico de gallo and Mexican beer. Laura Hooper ( created a map of Mexico to accompany the welcome gift. SAVANNAH, GEORGIA Porcelain dish filled with fresh peaches, bottled apple cider, peanuts, rustic breads and peach preserves. The bowl is accompanied by a miniature pecan pie, tied off with a personalized gift tag with a peach graphic in the background. photography by steve steinhardt photography

destination guide

the slopes of the resort and the twinkle from the low-lit cabins were like stars in the snow. Giant fireplaces warmed the guests while they toasted marshmallows and grooved to a favorite DJ. My favorite part about the Sundance Resort and most destination locations is their size. It’s quaint and walkable and you run into guests all the time but stll feel a sense of space from the mountainside and giant blue skies. My favorite moment from this particular wedding was spontaneously getting the bride and groom to put their wedding attire on the next day and trek up to the top of the mountain. The lift operators loved it, cleaning off the chair to keep her dress clean and slowing down so they could savor the view. Thankfully I can snowboard backwards while shooting! PUNAM BEAN, PHOTOGRAPHER


Tensing Pen, an intimate, boutique hotel nestled in a private cove on Jamaica’s northwestern coast, was the scene of one of the most beautiful and dramatic weddings I have had the privilege to document. With a dozen or so seaside cabins and huts perched atop rocky cliffs, and a cozy restaurant overlooking the ocean, the resort is ideal for a small wedding of close family and friends. It was the absolute perfect arrangement for the nine guest celebration we photographed there. Though it’s a relatively small resort, the whole place is so picturesque we didn’t have to venture far off the property to get some amazing images. Just outside the main entrance, there’s even a wonderful little fresh curry hut - with the best goat curry I’ve ever eaten! My most favorite destination weddings have been the ones where you really get a sense of a place and its people, and Tensing Pen is perfect for that. Jamaica is an easy trip from anywhere in the states and the colorful drive from the airport to Negril is easily arranged.

photography by thayer allyson gowdy





The Hotelito Desconocido is a remote, chic eco-lodge with charming boats that take you across an estuary to the pool and lunch area. It has an amazing outdoor yoga area and all of the vegetables are grown in house. The owners are a fabulous Italian family that attends to every need quietly and seamlessly. You can rent the entire property for a wedding, and, because it is off the beaten path, it will be all yours. As a photographer, it was wonderful to be able to photograph guests enjoying the area without having to worry about non-wedding

guests being in my shots. I could shoot freely, capturing the flavor of Mexico and the guests who came to enjoy it. With little to no electricity, hundreds of candles, bonfires on the beach and the endless stars overhead provide evening light. A truly magical place. THAYER ALLYSON GOWDY, PHOTOGRAPHER


The Sundance Resort is a hidden gem, a cluster of chic cabins nestled into the mountainside. The resort’s bar is an old-school watering hole with live music and a fire pit in back – a spot frequented by the locals and a great way to enjoy a brew after a long day skiing with guests. The hall for the reception I shot overlooked a gently-lit pool next to

When most people think about destination weddings, warm weather, images of sandy beaches, lush jungles, or cliffs over the ocean come to mind. It was for this reason I was completely fascinated when I was commissioned to shoot a wedding on a glacier in Alaska. I stayed in a little community called Talkeetna, a town at the foot of Denali. The couple lived in Talkeetna, and for their rehearsal dinner we ate freshly-caught salmon and fern sprouts they picked from the riverside on their land. For the wedding day, we took a couple of small prop planes outfitted with skis. We flew over Denali, and it was the most incredible thing I’d ever seen. We landed right on Ruth Glacier - a two mile thick sheet of ice, with crags and peaks of twisted rocks even miles higher around us. After the ceremony, we flew back to town, and the reception commenced on a farm by a river with a gorgeous view of Mt. McKinley. They were from Alaska, so it wasn’t a giant leap for them to get married on a glacier. But I think a glacier wedding would be a great choice for

an adventurous couple who loves the outdoors. For those who might worry about the cold - it wasn’t! The sun reflecting off the snow provided plenty of warmth, and I even had to take off my jacket. We were there in May, and the weather was mild and beautiful. And the sun didn’t set until midnight, which, for a natural light shooter, is about as good as it gets! BETH HELMSTETTER, PLANNER


For couples looking for a true Hawaiian experience, Haiku Mill is the place to go. The Haiku Mill is a labor of love created out of sugar mill ruins from Old Hawaii. This venue has a ton of history and the finished product is a great mix of glamour and charm, with crystal chandeliers hanging over the ceremony location and an ultra-modern waterfall flowing in the background. It's located a bit off of the beaten path in Haiku, known mostly as a surfing hotspot. Plan to stay on the South of Maui for more activities, but surprise your guests with this hidden gem in the upcountry of the island for the wedding itself. DOROTHÉE AND ANNABEL, BELATHÉE PHOTOGRAPHY


The Villa enjoys a spectacular setting on a peninsula near Nice. We shot one of our first Belathée weddings there on a sunny day in October and the whole place is a visual playground – the gardens are stunning, the house itself has wonderful artifacts and backdrops to work with, and that region of France is just spectacular. It’s majestic but comforting at the same time. Guests have the chance to explore southern France, Monaco, and Italy right from their doostep.

; I am fascinated most by two things: the earth, and people in love. It’s pretty amazing to think of having a destination wedding, to proclaim your love to each other against an epic, dreamy, romantic, or rustic backdrop, far from home. It’s a rare treat to be able to bring all your closest friends and family for a weekend together in a beautiful place out in the world somewhere. Travel is an adventure. It’s an amazing bonding experience, something that you and your guests won’t soon forget. It’s a privilege to be treated as part of these families when I and my assistant (often my husband) travel with them. As their photographer, there is no better way to get to know a couple. More often than not, the couple and I become close friends who stay in touch long after the wedding day has passed. -Punam Bean, Photographer:

photography by elizabeth messina

photography by thayer allyson gowdy

; PLANNING RESOURCES CAYMAN VOWS: Interactive wedding website designed to showcase the Cayman’s wide range of wedding experiences, connect couples with service providers and inspire them to find their own unique wedding style, the site is infused with numerous interactive elements and a gallery of over 900 photos to date. Online at CLASSIC BRIDE: Blogger Sarah Darcy dishes up inspiration daily for those planning a far-away soiree, whether in the American South or a chateau in France. We love that she encourages brides to dream big and beautiful. Online at www. DESTINATION BRIDE: Founder and president Lisa Light started as an anthropologist, became a travel consultant, and now runs this chock-full of information site for couples planning a destination wedding. Light has also written an informative book, Destination Bride: How to Plan Your Wedding Anywhere in the World (North Light Books, 2005). Online at WEDDINGBEE: Blog updated over twenty five times daily by a rotating cast of real brides, with a focus on the wedding planning journey from engagement to “I do.” Look for the fabulous blogs of past destination bees Mrs. Sea Breeze (Dominican Republic) and Mrs. Quiche (Jamaica). Online at FLIGHT001: Once you’re ready to travel, make things easy and more colorful with the genius products from Flight 001. They’ve got everything a bride needs for domestic and international travel, from a universal adapter to a mini clothes line. Bonus! Most products come in bright, cheery colors. Online at BEST DESTINATION BOOK: Destination Wedding Planner by Alison Hotchkiss: This hard cover, spiral bound binder from one of the industry’s premier destination wedding planners is filled with helpful worksheets and checklists, as well as practical advice on everything from choosing a location to managing the production from afar. $19.95 from


destination guide

; FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: One-shoulder beaded embroidered bodice with dropped-waist, tulle skirt trumpet gown by Alita Graham: I love how this dress modernizes the classic beach destination look. The tulle and bit of shimmer and sparkle works well beside the sea, I think, and lace, of course, packs well. Two-piece strapless embroidered bodice with three-dimensional flowers and pistachio colored full pickup skirt by Monique Luhillier: This dress is completely unexpected for a destination wedding, and though it’s not the easiest to pack, I love that it fits the bride who wants a far-away wedding but not a less-important dress. It has a very organic feel to it that I picture working well in a vineyard or garden setting.

DESTINATION WEDDING DRESS PICKS ; TOP It’s easy to say “yes” to these dresses! Kleinfeld’s Fashion Director and star of the hit TLC series Say Yes to the Dress, Randy Fenoli, shares his top picks for destination wedding celebrations.

Silk charmeuse halter sheath with metallic embroidered floral detail by Elizabeth Fillmore: What I love most about this dress is that it’s extremely packable and super lightweight. The silk charmeuse fabric and halter style make it cool enough for a tropical destination, while the draping in front is forgiving enough for a little vacation indulgence. Strapless beaded and embroidered sparkle tulle sheath by Lazaro: This dress packs up to nothing! You can literally roll it up in your suitcase. Despite this, the beading makes a very grand, almost royal impression, while the fabric is still quite lightweight.


From our experience, destination weddings are a great way to have your friends and families bond over a period of several days. No one is in a familiar setting, which encourages people to let their guards down. By the time the wedding rolls around, most everyone is already acquainted with one another. Most of the couples we have photographed in a destination setting have shared with us that it brings them great joy to treat their guests not only to a wedding celebration but also to a mini vacation. As photographers, we certainly always embrace the challenges and joys of finding ourselves in a new setting; with it, it brings the opportunity for unique images. Often, the atmosphere at destination weddings is very relaxed, which in turns helps us create more natural portraits of everyone involved. -Dorothée and Annabel, Belathée Photography

Randy was photographed by KYLE BARNES at Wynn Las Vegas, our EDITOR'S PICK for top US destination wedding location.



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From THAYER ALLYSON GOWDY (, photographer and expert destination-wedding attendee

From KELLY MCWILLIAMS (, owner and lead planner, Weddings by Socialites

• Never check what you need for the wedding day, including your shoes! I always carry my wedding outfit on in case my luggage is lost. • For tropical destinations, pack light! Always bring an extra pair of flip flops. Nothing is worse than when someone steals one or both of them off the beach. It’s happened to me! • A sarong is essential! It can double as a beach blanket, a cover-up during the day or a dress at night. • Bring bug repellant! No one likes a lobster at their wedding (unless, of course, it’s on the menu). • If you’re bringing a digital camera, be sure to bring extra batteries and enough memory cards for the entire event. Stopping to download on to a laptop or having to choose which photos to delete is not fun on facation. • Bring an extra pair of sunglasses! After seeing too many people lose their glasses when swimming in the ocean, my recommendation is to bring a second pair so you’re not forced to sport the local tourist shop $2.99 version or, worse yet, the local tourist shop’s $129.99 version. • Don’t forget your prescriptions! It’s a no-brainer, but people inevitably forget. Bring Advil for the day after the wedding and antihistamines in case you have an allergic reaction to something in the unfamiliar climate. • Know your blood type when you travel. • Email your itinerary and all wedding information to your PDA or iPhone so you can still access this information if you lose your paper copies. • Lastly, I always carry a scented travel candle. My pet peeve is a moldysmelling room, but when I have a candle, it feels like I brought a little bit home of home with me. Not to mention—sigh— the romance.

•Don’t wait until the last minute to begin packing. Start at least six days before you leave. I can’t stress enough how quickly the days before your wedding will fly by. •On day one, start and complete your lists. You’ll want two lists: one for attire and one for everything else. Make sure your lists are saved on your email as an extra precaution. •Your “attire list” categories should be by day. Run through your whole day, and under each event list out the undergarments, outfits, shoes and accessories you will need. •Your “everything else” list categories are: toiletries, media, documents and wedding. Mark each item “carry,” “check” or “ship.” •Now for the scary decision: what to carry, what to check and what to check. Under no circumstances should you check your wedding dress. Either ship your dress directly to your destination or carry it with you on the plane. Be sure to let the airline know you’re carrying your wedding dress on board. Some of my clients have been bumped up to first class after bringing this up. •If you are checking any luggage, make sure all your bags have an eye-catching, unique luggage tag. On the tag, include your name, your cell phone number and the address and phone number of the resort. •When it comes to wedding details like welcome bags, favors, menus and escort cards, the best option is to ship them directly to your site coordinator. Use bubble wrap to keep things from getting bent or broken. •To keep your mind at ease, prepare a pre-addressed Fed-Ex form and give it to someone who isn’t attending your wedding. That way, if you do forget something you need immediately, she can send it to you directly.

photography by elizabeth messina


true bride confession: best words in the world: “You do whatever you want for the wedding, honey. I just want to marry you.” yay! I can have my dream wedding and he isn't going to fuss over it or make silly suggestions the way that men sometimes do!

photography by elizabeth messina



•Oil-blotting tissues •Bug repellent •Passport (of course!) •Digital camera with an extra battery and enough memory cards for the entire event •Two bathing suits (one for looking hot by the pool and another for swimming) •Lightweight beach bag to tote your Southern Weddings magazine and water bottles •A pair of jeans •Lightweight cotton button-up for those days when you can’t take the bugs and sun anymore •Packable sun hat •Light-weight, wrinkle-resistant tanks, shorts and dresses •Large zip bags (in case you go for a swim an hour before your flight and your suit’s still wet!)

•Entire wedding outfit •Comfortable shoes you can easily remove at airport security (Oh, and wear those jeans! It will make your suitcase lighter and help you to stay warm on the plane.) •Camera, batteries and extra memory cards •Phone charger (never pack this item—or at least pack a second one) •Refreshing face wipes •Toothbrush and a small toothpaste •Cash (including a bit in the currency of the country you traveling to) •Flight itinerary and all wedding contact and location information •Local travel map or guidebook •Medical insurance card


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COVER: photography by Jeremy Cowart (; MASTHEAD page 2, top: photography by Leo Patrone (, page 2, bottom: photography by The Image is Found . Photography (; IN THIS ISSUE page 3, from top to bottom: photography by Jeff Newsom (, Jeff Newsom, Gabriel Ryan Photographers (; CONTRIBUTORS page 5: photography by Jackie Wonders (; A NOTE FROM LARA page 7, clockwise: photography by Kyle Barnes (, Kyle Barnes, Jenny Evelyn (, Kyle Barnes, Allison Stahl (; EDITORS’ LETTERS page 8: photography by Kyle Barnes; page 9, top to bottom: photography by Jeff Newsom, Shyla Dalirifar (, Amanda Wilcher (, Smilebooth (smilebooth. com); FAB FINDS pages 12-13, bottom: Michelangelo di Battista; SOUTHERN BELLE BEAUTY page 15: photography by Perez Photography (; IT HAS A RING TO IT page 16, bottom: photography by Kyle Barnes; RINGS page 17, top row: photography by Poser (, W. Scott Chester (, Millie Holloman (, second row: photography by Jeff Newsom, Amelia Lyon (, The Image is Found . 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Scott Chester; AUBRIE + JOSH pages 64-65: photography by Kim Box Photography (; MARY + CHRIS page 66-67: photography by Millie Holloman; KAREN + ANDREW page 68-69: photography by Q Weddings (; SHAYLA + KYLE page 70-73: photography by Scarlett Lillian (scarlettlillian. com); JULIE + TODD page 74-75: photography by Whitney Lee (; TARA + JEREMY page 76-77: photography by Poser; STEPHANIE + WIL page 78-81: photography by Our Labor of Love (; HEATHER + PRESTON page 82: photography by Jennifer Longaway (; ANNA + TYLER page 84-87: photography by Vue Photography; CARRIE + BRIAN page 88-89: photography by Dixie Pixel Photography (; JORDYN + BRADLEY page 90-93: photography by Tec Petaja (; GROOM’S FASHION page 94: photography courtesy of J. Crew (; page 95: photography by The Image is Found . Photography; page 96, top to bottom: photography by The Image is Found . Photography, Jeff Newsom, Jeff Newsom, Jeff Newsom, Jeff Newsom, Jeff Newsom; page 99, top: photography by Fred Egan, bottom: photography by W. Scott Chester; page 101: photography by Jeff Newsom; GROOM’S GALLERY pages 102-103, top row: photography by Elizabeth Messina (elizabethmessina. com), Bonnie Tsang (, Sean Flanigan (seanflaniganphotography. com), Leo Patrone, Meg Perotti, Leo Patrone, Jeff Newsom; row 1A: photography by W. Scott Chester, Jeremy Parsons (; pages 102-103, second row: photography by Scarlett Lillian, Melissa Schollaert (, Sarah Rhoads Photographers (sarahrhoads. com), Jeff Newsom, Fred Egan, W. Scott Chester; pages 102-103, third row: Gabriel Ryan, Denise Bovee (, Ulmer Studios (, Christine Meintjes (christinemeintjes., Jeff Newsom, Leo Patrone, Jeff Newsom; UNTYING THE NOTS pages 104-106: photography by Chennergy Weddings (; TOP WEDDING BLOGGERS page 108, bottom: photography by Leo Patrone; page 109, top to bottom: photography by Elizabeth Messina, Beall and Thomas (, Kate Headley (, Leo Patrone, Jesse Labauve (, Leo Patrone; DESTINATION WEDDING GUIDE page 110: photography by Thayer Allyson Gowdy (; page 111, left: photography by Thayer Allyson Gowdy, page 111, right: photography by Steve Steinhardt (; page 112: photography by Thayer Allyson Gowdy; page 113, left: photography by Elizabeth Messina; page 114, right: photography by Thayer Allyson Gowdy; page 114: photography by Kyle Barnes; page 117: photography by Elizabeth Messina; JOIN THE PARTY page 118: photography by Kyle Barnes; CREDITS page 119: photography by Meg Perotti; LAST LOOK page 120, large photo: photography by Vallentyne Photography (; from top to bottom: photography by Kyle Barnes, Jeremy Gilliam (, Jill Higgins (, Kyle Barnes, dress from Platinum Priscilla of Boston (, taken at The WaterColor Resort (, photography by Andrea Murphy (, Fred Egan, Jeremy Parsons, RIck Schamberger (, Kyle Barnes, Elizabeth Messina, The White Rabbit Studios (, Jenny Jimenez (, Amy Karp (amykarp. com). 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Southern Weddings V2  

This is the second issue of Southern Weddings magazine

Southern Weddings V2  

This is the second issue of Southern Weddings magazine