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Southern Weddings Magazine

As much as we love biscuits, sweet tea, and seersucker, there are few things we love more than our lovely readers! Sharing meaningful weddings, epic marriages, and our office life with y’all is so rewarding, which is why we jump at any opportunity we can find to get y’all more involved in the Southern Weddings world. We have so many fun things going on this summer, and we don’t want you to miss a single one, so here’s a little refresher!

Our Best Ever Southern Summer Giveaway is appropriately named–from Jack Rogers monogrammed sandals, to Southern Living summer cookbooks, to $500 cash for a weekend getaway and more, the winner will certainly be ready to finish out summer in style! There is only one week left to enter, so be sure to do so here.

If you live in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area, we would love to see you at Fearrington this Friday morning for our Summer Meet-Up! We can’t wait to spend the morning with y’all chatting about life, weddings, marriage, and more. Don’t forget to RSVP by commenting on this post!

How are you doing on your Summer #SouthernDoin checklist? We want to follow along on your adventures around the South, so don’t forget to download your printable checklist here and then use the hashtag on social media!

Here’s to making the most of the rest of summer! What are your plans for enjoying the last week of July?

lisa Written with love by Lisa
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When one of your first encounters with someone involves frantic email exchanges involving highly-secret public proposal plans, you know they’re not afraid to dive right in and become one of the team. Such is the case with Dave, Lisa’s fiance and one of our newer Southern Gents. He’s been gung-ho and encouraging about all things Southern Weddings since Day One, and we love him for it! Please join me in welcoming Mr. Dave Kirk to the blog this morning…

Ryan Ray

Name: David Kirk
What do you do for a job? Financial analyst
Your Southern Weddings gal: The lovely Miss Lisa Janel Olson
How and when you became a Southern Weddings gent: Y’all may have read Lisa’s version on the blog, so my shortened version is: we met studying abroad in Austria four years ago, tried not to fall in love, lost touch, reconnected early last year, (quickly) fell in love, (quickly) got engaged, and we are getting married in May!

What is your favorite SW memory? Aside from the obvious, asking Lisa to marry me while at an SW event, it was incredible hearing from Lisa on the phone the day she got her dream job. That was a really special moment and I could not have been more proud of her!
What is the craziest thing you’ve done in the name of SW? While this wasn’t in the name of SW, I proposed at the V6 Launch Party… I’d say that’s as crazy as it gets.
What contributions have you made to SW that people may not realize? I conveniently manage to show up to shoots/events just in the nick of time to move furniture around. I hope this experience pays off in married life. Also, I make the spreadsheets for all our wedding planning, so I’m hoping to contribute some excel templates to the blog at some point.

What is something you shouldn’t know about weddings, but do, thanks to SW? I can correctly pronounce Monique Lhuillier and can identify a Sperry tent within seconds.
Have you ever been recognized by a stranger because of SW? I am still waiting for that special moment.
What percentage of your social media followers come from SW? Less than half, but I’m hoping this post will make it grow.
What is the best thing about being an SW gent? Being able to be a part (by a small degree of separation) of such an incredible small business whose mission is so noble. There are few things in this world as important and sacred as faith, marriage, and family, and to have my fiancée work for an organization that holds these things in such high regard is inspiring.
What is your least favorite thing about being an SW gent? You never know when something is going to wind up on Instagram. See me car singing here.

If given the chance, would you become a Southern Weddings employee? Of course.
Favorite Southern food? I’m a Yankee by birth, so being recently introduced to Southern foods has been the best year of my life. My favorite is probably biscuits, closely followed by fried chicken. If you put them together, that’s another favorite.
Anything else you want to add? I’m relatively new to the exclusive SW Gents club, but I can say that the SW ladies are truly passionate about what they do and they are amazingly talented at how they do it. The result is a magazine whose mission permeates the pages, content that inspires so many, and weddings that would make even the bravest men tear up (myself included… Lisa and I are a perfect match).

Catch up with the other SW gents!
Ari
John
Brandon
Taylor
Kyle

emily Written with love by Emily
4 Comments
  1. avatar JessicainFlorida reply

    Ok, so the obvious question is, “Does Dave have a brother?” Or cloning technology? What a sweet, articulate, gracious guy. I don’t know Lisa but I’m just so happy for her after reading this post. He’s a keeper for sure!

  2. avatar Lisa reply

    He’s the best :)

  3. avatar Lisa Hays reply

    I hope he has a bunch of brothers! The world could use more gents like him.

  4. avatar Dana reply

    my fave SW gent!!

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When your girlfriend describes y’all’s first date as a “fairy tale,” figuring out how to propose must be quite a tall order! After reading Chelsea and Will’s sweet story, I am positive that Will couldn’t have planned it better (be sure to read their interview below!). After the proposal, it was Chelsea’s turn to plan, and they created a wedding that they both loved. It included amazing pink blooms, a very emotional first look, and meeting in the middle of their respective home states for an outdoor wedding at the gorgeous Castleton Farms!

Big SW hugs to Katherine Birkbeck for sharing this wedding with us!

My something borrowed was my sister’s hair barrette from her wedding! My something old was my grandmother’s hand-knit hankie–my aunt gave it to me with a letter that she wrote and signed “Aunt Sherry and Grandma Wanda.” It was like a little gift from heaven. My something blue was my garter and my something new was my jewelry.

My flowers were gorgeous. I wish I could have kept them forever! My groom vetoed pink for wedding colors, so I had to have my pink flowers instead! The bouquets were filled with pin roses, calla lilies, and hydrangeas. We had two enormous flower pots filled with gorgeous, fresh hydrangeas on either side of the altar, and flowers hanging from chairs down the center aisle.

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? Yes, we did! I loved all the first look pictures that I had seen and really wanted to capture this reaction. Since we had our ceremony and reception at the same venue, we also wanted to get all of our pictures done ahead of time so our guests wouldn’t have to wait. Lastly, our first look definitely helped with the nerves. I was nervous before I walked down the aisle (in the best of excited ways), and I can’t imagine how much more nervous I would have been without the first look. It helped a lot, and I am so glad that we did it.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? I wanted to get married in Saint Louis, and Will wanted to get married in South Carolina. We couldn’t choose, so we decided to meet in the middle–Tennessee! I love the outdoors and flowers, so I knew I wanted to get married surrounded by nature’s beauty. When I found Castleton Farms, I knew that it was the perfect place. Everything was Southern, sweet, and elegant. It was perfect for us.

Our first dance was to “Forever Like That” by Ben Rector, who is one of our favorite singers. We saw him in concert twice while we were dating. Will actually picked this song out for us, which made it that much more special.

I am a four-year alumni of the Carolina Girls Dance team at USC. As part of a wedding gift to me, my coach choreographed a dance with all of my teammates and Will. The dance started with the girls dancing to some of our favorite songs, and then they formed two straight lines. All of a sudden, Will starting dancing down the aisle and it became a whole production. It was absolutely amazing.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. My friend, Taylor, lived in the same hall as me during out freshman year at the University of South Carolina. Taylor and Will were old family friends, and she introduced us at church. Will asked me out, and on our first date, he took me to a cute restaurant in an old train station. Then he took me to the Horseshoe on campus, which is a huge lawn (in a U shape, of course) with giant old oak trees. When we got there, there was a blanket with candles on each corner, where we sat and talked. It was the sweetest first date ever, like a fairy tale!
Tell us all about the proposal! It was March 15, just two days after my 21st birthday. We were supposedly going out for my birthday when Will took me back to the Horseshoe (where we had had our first date). We walked up the brick pathway, and I saw candles and rose petals on the ground. He stood me in the middle of them, got down on one knee, and asked for my hand in marriage. I said yes, of course, and he gave me a gorgeous diamond ring. I called my parents (who were supposed to be in Saint Louis, where I’m from) to tell them the news. All of the sudden, I saw both them and Will’s parents come out from behind one of the buildings. I was so surprised to see my family there. It was all just so wonderful!
When did y’all get married? June 14, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 160
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? Yes, we did! My favorite phrase was, “We will strive to put God first in or marriage, before all else.” God is the most important part of our lives, and we really wanted to show that through our wedding.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? One thing that I thought was particularly sweet was that Will’s dad was his best man. In Missouri, I hadn’t seen anyone do that, but I found out that it is quite a Southern tradition. I loved having my father-in-law standing on the altar with us to celebrate our special day!
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We didn’t serve alcohol. We decided to cut it because: 1. It saved a ton of money. 2. We wanted everyone to remember this special day. 3. To get to the venue, you have to take very windy backroads that are dangerous even without the slightest bit of alcohol. 4. My husband is studying to be a pastor, so it seemed appropriate. Those who wanted to drink just went out after the wedding because our reception ended at 11.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We lived in different states for a year, so we are just enjoying being together right now. We love cooking together, going to the beach, and dancing!

Photographer: Katherine Birkbeck / Videographer: Orange Leaf / Planner: Darla Walker / Venue: Castleton Farms / Florist: Sam Franklin / Cake Baker: Mag Pies / Ice Cream: Buttermilk Sky / Caterer: All Occasions Catering / Rentals: All Occasions Party Rentals / Bridal Salon: Simply Elegant Bridal / Paper Products: Pickle Prints / Bride’s Jewelry: MEG Jewelry / Hair and Makeup: Bang and Blush / Bride’s Shoes and Bridesmaid Dresses: David’s Bridal / Men’s Attire: Jos. A Bank

marissa Written with love by Marissa
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As y’all may know, every summer, we welcome a lovely intern to our office! Erin, our current intern, is a Texas girl from Princeton University, and she’s been a huge help to us with everything from photo shoot prep to working on the blog over the last month. Since she has a soft spot for colorful outdoor weddings, we thought she’d be the perfect person to write today’s post! -Lisa

Even though Elizabeth and Greg call Chicago home, their destination wedding at Charleston’s Boone Hall Plantation was a true Southern affair! By using vintage Boone Hall postcards as escort cards and displaying gorgeous peaches throughout the reception, Elizabeth and Greg captured the visual beauty of the South, while little touches, like providing fans to the ladies and offering tours of historic venue during cocktail hour, captured Southern hospitality at its best. But the best parts about Elizabeth and Greg’s wedding were the heartfelt details: personal vows written by the bride and groom, naming their first dog Boone after their venue, and choosing to wed in Charleston so that they have many reasons to return to the beautiful city!

Thanks to Amelia + Dan for sharing Elizabeth and Greg’s big day with us!

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My something old was a locket with a photo of my grandparents inside, which I wore on my garter. My something new was my wedding gown. My something borrowed was a bracelet from a close cousin of mine, and I wore Something Bleu shoes, which have a blue gemstone in the sole.
Describe your wedding flowers. Branch Design Studio did the most incredible job on my flowers. At the end of the altar were two rustic wooden wine barrels with vintage peach crates containing peach spray roses, coral peonies, peach ranunculus, white stock, yellow finesse roses, daisy feverfew, and scabiosa pods. My bouquet was made of mostly peonies and peach Juliet garden roses. It also included ranunculus, dusty miller, and a few yellow craspedia pods. The bridesmaids’ bouquets had white and yellow peonies with peach garden roses as well. Since their dresses were yellow, I added scabiosa pods to their bouquets in place of the yellow craspedia.

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We decided to do a first look to enjoy a moment alone together before the ceremony began. This way, we were also able to enjoy more time with family and friends during the cocktail hour, as we took a majority of our photos before the wedding started.

While planning our wedding, I made three trips to Charleston. For all three, it was raining when I visited Boone Hall. Therefore, I knew that on the day of the wedding, the weather was going to hold out for us, and the plantation was even more stunning in the sunshine.

We had rustic wooden wine barrels with clusters of peach arrangements on them at each of the four doors as you stepped into the Cotton Dock. In addition, each of the doors had lush rectangular wreaths covered in peach roses and peach stock. Mason jars hung from the ceiling containing peonies and ivory tea lights at varying heights. Above the sweetheart table hung more mason jars containing ivory tea lights and peach blooms strung from twine. Peach garden roses lined the tables, as well as wooden boxes of peonies, roses, dusty miller, and craspedia. Each window in the Cotton Dock had a cluster of vases and mason jars with coral peonies and ivory tea lights.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We wanted to make Charleston’s rich history a focal point of our wedding celebration. The mansion was opened during the cocktail hour for guests, where they were able to take tours and learn about Boone’s history. For seating assignments, we used black and white vintage postcards of Boone Hall. Since Boone Hall was once known for growing cotton, we had puffs of raw cotton strung along the back wall. They also were known for growing pecans, which we had incorporated into our desserts. We had fresh peaches in vintage peach crates throughout the venue, in addition to sugared peaches on the hummingbird cake. We gave out vintage fans to the ladies before the ceremony–as my mother in law put it, a Southern gentleman endures the heat! We were sure to have our DJ play many of our Southern favorites to complete the picture!

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. We chose hummingbird cake, as it was a favorite of ours from our first visit to Charleston. It brought another Southern aspect to our wedding for our guests to try. The cake was decorated with fresh sugared peaches to go along with our peach theme for the wedding weekend, and it was absolutely delicious! Greg was so excited about the cake that he fed himself first when we cut it! In addition to the cake, we had a dessert table with bite-sized desserts including s’mores bars, lemon tarts, caramels, and chocolate pecan bites. We also had a groom’s cake decorated like a Jameson bottle.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Our friendship began in high school and continued on as we both attended Indiana University. While our friends attempted to set us up from the beginning, it wasn’t until I was back home for the summer in Chicago that sparks started to fly. Greg’s profession is with the Chicago Blackhawks, and with a little encouragement from my close friend, our new story began the summer night they won the 2010 Stanley Cup.
Tell us all about the proposal! From Greg: When we first started dating, Elizabeth made it clear that the key to her heart was sushi with a side of spicy mayo; it was her guilty pleasure food and we would enjoy it often. As I began to think of different ideas that encompassed our early dating for a proposal, I kept coming back to sushi. I finally came up with the idea of a custom fortune cookie detailing our fates and fortunes and, although fortune cookies are not traditionally served at sushi restaurants, I hoped it wasn’t too much of a stretch. I made a reservation at one of the nicest Japanese restaurants in Chicago and delivered the fortune cookies and a bottle of Dom Perignon earlier in the afternoon before dinner that night. When we arrived at dinner, the plan was to have them bring out the chocolate-covered strawberry (another favorite of Elizabeth’s) and fortune cookies as an amuse bouche. They eventually brought the appetizers without having brought the fortune cookies, and I had to convince Elizabeth to visit the restroom so I could track down the wait staff to get the cookies out. Thankfully, they did, and while she thought something was amiss, she played along as we opened our customized cookies. I read mine aloud, saying “Mine says ‘You will find a girl who will make you want nothing more in life than to make her smile,’ what does yours say?” Her message said, “You will be with a man who will love you, respect you, and care for you for the rest of your life.” Then, I got down on one knee and proposed. She said yes and we celebrated over sushi and champagne before meeting friends out later that night.
When did y’all get married? May 11, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 95
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We wrote our own vows in order to be able to say what we really wanted to give to one another in our marriage. My favorite phrase was “I promise to laugh with you, encourage you and inspire you,” as these are things we wish to maintain as our love grows over time.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. I chose to walk down the aisle to Pachelbel’s “Canon in D.” It is such a lovely, classic song, and it was especially beautiful played on the strings by Classical Charleston. For our first dance, we chose “Hey Pretty Girl” by Kip Moore. The song’s lyrics really resonated with Greg and how he saw our relationship unfolding. Before we opened the dance floor to everyone, we danced to “Dancing in the Moonlight” with our immediate families. This was “our song” long before we started dating, going back to our early high school days. It was the perfect song to get the dancing started on such a beautiful night.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are working on decorating our new home in the city and look forward to getting our first dog together (named Boone)! We have recently done some traveling in Europe and are excited for a tropical getaway for our honeymoon once the cold arrives in Chicago. From there, we look forward to starting a family!

Photographer: Amelia + Dan / Videographer: Life In Rewind / Planner: Pure Luxe Bride / Venue: Boone Hall Plantation / Florist: Branch Design Studio / Cake Baker: D’lish / Caterer: Cru / Rentals: Event Works / Lighting: PDA / DJ: Dream House Productions / Bride’s Gown: Monique Lhuillier / Bridal Salon: Ultimate Bride / Paper Products: “Carolina” by Bella Figura / Bride’s Veil: Weddings 826 / Hair and Makeup: Ash & Co / Bride’s Shoes: Something Bleu Oyster Bed D’Orsays from BHLDN / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “D564″ in Daisy by Dessy / Groom’s Attire: De Louice / Groom’s Shoes: Russell & Bromley / Groomsmen Attire: Tommy Hilfiger / Calligraphy: Write By Mike / Men’s Salon: Old South Barber Spa / Ceremony Musicians: Classical Charleston / Pastries: Wild Flour Pastry / Transportation: FingerSnappin’ Entertainment Trolley, Charleston Style Limo, Vintage Limousine

Pure Luxe Bride is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

Written with love by Southern Weddings
3 Comments
  1. avatar Olivia Cox reply

    In love with everything about this wedding — from the warm and welcoming color scheme to the simply elegant place settings and gorgeous floral arrangements everything is perfect. Definitely sharing this post with my bride-to-be cousin!

  2. avatar amelia + dan reply

    thank you so much for sharing this sweet couple’s wedding day! :)

  3. avatar d’lish reply

    Hey there! Great post and so happy to see the wedding cake in all it’s glory :) Hoping maybe the creator of the groom’s cake can get some credit (not sure who it was) because it’s a great cake and they deserve to be recognized, too! :)

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Y’all already know and love Kristin from her work with our beloved Blue Ribbon Vendors and her big heart for marriage, but over the past few months, you may have also gotten to know a few special members of her family on Southern Weddings–namely, her parents and her husband. Today, we’re excited to add to that number with this thoughtful marriage advice from her in-laws, which they graciously shared with us in V6. Kristin also dug up one of their wedding photos for us–so fun to see!

Commit to making life together meaningful for both of you by serving your spouse first, being respectful in all things, focusing on your spouse’s strengths, seeking first to understand and then to be understood, setting your traditions together, and making happiness a goal. Remember, a successful marriage is an equal partnership that takes constant work and commitment.

Martha Manning

lisa Written with love by Lisa
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