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Have y’all had moments during wedding planning when the fact that you’re really getting married and your wedding is really happening hits you? Maybe thanks to our long engagement, I often feel like mine and Dave’s wedding is still in the distant future, but there have been a few moments in the past ten months that have made me stop whatever I’m doing and jump around the room shrieking a little bit. Embarrassing, I know–y’all please tell me I’m not alone in this! :) The most recent of those moments? Getting our save the dates in the mail!

I was originally convinced that I didn’t want to include a photo on our save the date, but that all changed when we opened up our engagement pictures by Ryan Ray. They captured our personalities and our joy so perfectly that we decided including a picture would be a great way to “introduce” our relationship to my family members and friends that Dave hasn’t met yet, and me to his. Once we decided to include a photo, we went directly to one of my favorite paper sources, Minted. At the Southern Weddings office, we had recently gotten a gorgeous box of Minted samples featuring their latest foil-pressed options, and I was totally smitten! Ready to see? Here you go!

We went with Minted’s Save in Script Foil Pressed Card in silver foil and I LOVE how it turned out! Minted is well known for being amazing about customizations (a great blessing for a picky bride!), and were so accommodating when I asked to switch the backer with one from another design. It’s a little hard to see in these pictures, but we chose a pale gray and white stripe that matches Dave’s seersucker bow tie! Even though this change was subtle, and I doubt most of our guests noticed, I love how this tiny tweak made our save the date even more special and personal. We kept the text simple, including just our names, our wedding date, the location, and our wedding website.

We also took advantage of Minted’s free envelope addressing service and were SO glad we did! What a time saver, and it looked way better than it would have if Dave and I had addressed each envelope by hand–neither of us has amazing handwriting :)

Note: This address is an old one!

Here’s a sweet tip when addressing save the dates/invitations to engaged couples: write them to “The Future Mr. and Mrs.”! Dave and I got a wedding invitation addressed that way in the most gorgeous calligraphy earlier this year, and it made us so happy! We did the same for our engaged friends in the hopes that it made them smile too.

After sealing these pretties up and popping on some stamps (we used these in honor of our spring wedding!), into the mail they went! It was so much fun to get excited texts and calls from friends and family members in the week that followed as they received their save the dates in the mail. I can hardly wait till they’re getting our wedding invitations in a few months!

In case you missed a post…
I’m Engaged! / The Main Characters / Our Venues / Our Photographer / Our Videographer / Planning Our Engagement Pictures / Our Flowers / Bridesmaid Style

lisa Written with love by Lisa
5 Comments
  1. avatar Emily reply

    Love that addressing tip! And love that silver foil – looks beautiful on our fridge :)

  2. avatar lena reply

    Squealing–I just love them!

  3. avatar Dana reply

    I love the picture you chose! I can’t wait for the wedding!!!!!!!

  4. avatar Sharon @ Red Poppy | Pink Peony reply

    Your save-the-dates are so pretty! I love using engagement photos for save-the-dates, and wedding photos for thank you cards.

  5. avatar Hannah reply

    I love these! I am anxious to see the invitations. Thank you for sharing your wedding planning journey! :)

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There is no one way to have a Southern wedding–from family farms to city halls, we love them all! It’s not the decor that makes a wedding Southern, or even necessarily the location; rather, it’s the hospitality shown and the focus on creating meaningful moments for the bride and groom and guests alike. Kaki and Jay’s Chattanooga wedding was fabulously chic and modern, and they took great strides to ensure their guests felt involved and taken care of. From the hymn everyone sang during the ceremony to the gelato and chilled towels passed around to keep guests cool in the middle of June, Kaki and Jay made sure that everyone at their wedding felt like family. What could be more Southern than that?

We’re so grateful to our Blue Ribbon Vendors, Bamber Photography, for sharing this beautiful day with us!

Jay proposed to me at my parents’ house, and it was a complete surprise! He had the ring in a small pouch tied around my dog Zoe’s collar, and after I chased her down in the yard and realized what it was, Jay got down on one knee and proposed. It was such a special moment, and it was even better that my family was there to celebrate with us!

We wanted our service to be uplifting and joyful, so we chose songs and verses that we thought went along with this theme. The guests sang “To God be the Glory” during the service. At the reception, we entered to the band playing “Oh Happy Day,” and they surprised us with special lyrics–they inserted our names, Kaki and Jay, into the song. We exited the reception to the band playing “Love Train” with their horns, and the guests leading us down to our car!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We were married at the Presbyterian church where my mother was also married. My grandfather and mother have been major cheerleaders of the Hunter Museum for a number of years. I loved the beautiful river setting there, and it made for a beautiful backdrop!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? To cool the guests down at our summer wedding, we had fans and cold washcloths for the dance floor that were kept frozen in coolers. They were a big hit on such a hot day! Along with that, we had a local company, Milk and Honey, serve delicious and COLD gelato. As a shoutout to Jay’s football days in high school, I threw a football that had “You’re Next” written on it at the end of the reception!

Golf has been a big part of both of our lives, so when we were making our exit at the reception, the wedding party and guests surprised us by holding up golf clubs and making a tunnel that we ran through to our convertible!

When did y’all get married? June 21, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 250
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. My mom and I scheduled a number of appointments at different bridal boutiques in Atlanta. Lo and behold, after trying on just three dresses, I knew the search was over. I had found the dress I had always dreamed of! Since I found my dress in record time, my mom and I cancelled our other appointments and had a nice, long, leisurely lunch and a day of fun together.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Our getaway car! A friend of my dad let us use his ’57 Bel Air Convertible that had a banner with our new married names on it as we left the church! We loved cruising to the reception with the top down–especially since a huge storm had passed through before the ceremony began!
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? I was so excited as the preacher pronounced us man and wife that I began to literally jump for joy! I was completely unaware I had done this until I was at the reception and guests were laughing about it!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? One of the best pieces of advice I received was from my mom, who told me, “You have to remember, it is only four hours out of your life,” which could not be more true! It is easy to get caught up in all of the details and get stressed, but it is so important to keep everything in perspective and remember what this day is truly about!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? After we returned from our honeymoon, we purchased a house, so we have been very busy settling in and doing small projects. We are just happy to be settling back into normal life, which includes lots of golf, tennis, and playing with our dog, Zoe!

Photographer: Bamber Photography / Reception Venue: Hunter Museum of American Art / Bridal Salon: Joan Pillow / Caterer: Lee Towery Catering / Gelato: Milk and Honey / Grilled Cheese Truck: The Muenster Truck / Bridesmaid Dress Salon: Prado / Band: Quiana Parler and Friends / Paper Products: Shadow Box Paperie

Bamber Photography is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
3 Comments
  1. avatar Emily reply

    LOVE their car sign + garland – perfection!

  2. avatar Lindsey Bamber reply

    Thanks for the feature! We always love reading the Southern Weddings blog!!

  3. avatar Loverly reply

    That Chevy is just amazing- what a way to exit the most perfect day!

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As the Southern Weddings team has grown (from three ladies in 2009 to seven ladies in 2014!), we’ve realized the importance of carving out intentional time to be and think and dream together. Our team is small but mighty, and when we’re all on the same wavelength we are better for each other and, most importantly, better for y’all. So this year, we extended Marissa and Kristin’s “team photo visit” by a few days and spent the time dreaming, strategizing, and, yes, having a whole heap of fun together at Fearrington Village.

Lara did a masterful job packing our three days together full of eye-opening sessions, insightful discussion, and straight-up fun. A few of the highlights:

Before the retreat, we were each asked to choose an “item of note” to share, and then we discussed them to open one of our sessions. To give you a few examples, Lisa chose a UT commencement address, I chose this TED talk, and Lara chose this podcast by Andy Stanley. This was a great way to get everyone engaged even before we got started.

We got to room together! We intentionally paired up with someone besides our usual partner in crime (usual partners in crime = Marissa + Kristin, Lisa + Emily, and Morgan + Nicole). Instead, Kristin and I roomed together, Lisa and Nicole were together, and Lara and Morgan were together. (We gave Marissa and Emerson their own room!) This was an invaluable way to carry the conversation out of the boardroom and ensure some deep bonding.

One of our first sessions was about thinking big. What would make Southern Weddings a successful company in each of our eyes in five years? 25 years? Why would we each continue to work here over the long term?

We interspersed huge questions like those with more practical sessions, like swapping tips on great phone, email, and conversational skills; how to efficiently handle email; tips for better instagram photos; and how best to approach a subjective disagreement (something that happens often, and that you must be comfortable with, when working in an office of seven opinionated and design-minded individuals!).

Invigorating business and mission sessions were broken up by pure fun, including Irish dancing lessons from yours truly, tea time, conversation starters, and a bouquet competition! It was so fun to see y’all guess whose bouquet was whose on instagram. Can you guess below?

For our final session, we split up into groups of two or three (Emily + Lara, Nicole + Lisa, and Marissa, Krisin, and Morgan) and had a deep + brief brainstorm about the three ideas sparked during the retreat that we felt MOST needed to be implemented. Let me just say, the excitement was high in the room when we came back together to present to each other!

In fact, I think we’re still riding a bit of a high from the experience – but one that’s cooled into a ferocious desire to do what we do better, smarter, and with even greater love. We can’t WAIT to share what’s coming down the pipeline with y’all over the next few weeks and months, starting with Volume 7 of the magazine!!! (In case you haven’t done so yet, be sure to place your pre-order today!) And as always, we are so grateful to y’all for encouraging us, believing in us, and being excited right alongside us. Big SW hugs all around!

P.S. Our amazing stay at Fearrington deserves its own post – more details and photos coming soon!

emily Written with love by Emily
1 Comment
  1. avatar Kyla Fetzner reply

    It sounds like y’all had such a productive, fun, and refreshing time together! I love that you keep the heart and mission of SW at the center of all that you do :)

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I imagine that a thunderstorm-filled wedding morning or a melting cake would be pretty upsetting for many couples, but for today’s Charleston bride and groom, these things were just part of the beautiful story that made up their May 31 wedding day. Thanks to their talented planner, Callie of Ooh! Events, Dotty and Matt knew they didn’t need to stress about a thing. Instead, they focused completely on enjoying their sweet, traditional ceremony, hosting their 300 guests at their classic tented reception, and soaking in every second of becoming husband and wife!

Thank you so much to Shannon Michele for sharing this lovely wedding with us!

My mom and I spent a few weekends visiting bridal boutiques around Charleston, finding some lovely gowns, but nothing that just felt right. Finally, at Jean’s Bridal in Mount Pleasant, I tried on a Paloma Blanca sample. It fit like a glove, was the perfect princess dress without a single bit of embellishment, and it had pockets–I knew I had found my dress. The color is called “natural,” which tends more towards an ivory shade, and to say I adore it would be an understatement. We ordered it along with a coordinating veil, and when it came in, all it needed was a bustle. Talk about meant to be!

I walked down the aisle to Wagner’s Bridal Chorus, and we walked back up the aisle to Mendelssohn’s Wedding March. All of the songs we selected for the ceremony were very traditional and were gorgeously played by the Chamber Players.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Literally all morning and day long, we had torrential downpours, flooding, and thunderstorms. This was a little unnerving for us, having an entirely outdoor wedding (tented, but with this rain, we would have all been soaked). I knew that Callie would take care of it, no matter what the solution ended up being. Right around the time we were supposed to take photos, the rain let up. The photos with the grayish sky are gorgeous, and the cooler temperature was an amazing side effect. The rain letting up at the same time I finally saw Matt was my most memorable moment.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Shrimp and grits, an obvious Southern delicacy, was one of our stations, but we also spiced things up with a fajita station. My husband was a Sigma Nu at the University of South Carolina, and at all of their weddings, they take over the stage to sing a Hank Williams, Jr. song. Fraternity men singing Hank Williams, Jr.? What’s more Southern than that! Probably our favorite Southern detail from our wedding was our guest book. We opted for an 8-foot joggling board painted in Charleston Green for our guests to sign with metallic markers. It turned out better than I could have ever hoped!

Our wedding cake was a four-tiered, square, white cake with alternating layers of lemon and raspberry filling. It was iced in ivory buttercream and adorned with white gum paste magnolias…initially. In hindsight, buttercream outside on May 31 was not the best decision, and luckily, my wedding planner, Callie, came to the rescue and adorned the cake with some additional fresh flowers to hold it together long enough for us to have our cake cutting!

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We had East Coast Party Band (a fabulous beach music band) provide our reception music, so we knew we wanted our first dance to be a shag song. We decided on “How Sweet it is (To Be Loved by You).” My father and I danced to “My Girl,” which held special significance to us because he used to sing it to me quite frequently when I was a little girl (I am one of five, the youngest, and the only girl).

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Our mutual friend (and my maid of honor) introduced us. She had known Matt for several years, and she and I had been friends for about a year. We finally ended up single long enough for her to introduce us, and she jumped at the opportunity. We officially met (after she had already shared his life story with me) at Party at the Point, an outdoor summer concert series, which is held at the Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina.
Tell us all about the proposal! Matt planned a trip for us to Savannah last October, the weekend after I had a work conference. I was completely exhausted, but excited for what I assumed would be our proposal weekend (we had never had a weekend getaway before this one that didn’t involve a tent and hiking too far). I planned every outfit I packed so that I would look perfect for the main event. After a while, I convinced myself that it actually wasn’t happening, and I texted my mom to let her know that we were still having a great time. After dinner, I changed into a t-shirt and athletic shorts and piled my hair on top of my head (since I knew that this wasn’t the proposal weekend after all), and we enjoyed wine on the balcony and admired the view of Savannah across the river. There was a wedding party wrapping up in the courtyard below, and I told Matt that it was a good thing the bride and groom were already gone, because no one looked like they were having much fun. Matt then assured me that our wedding would be a blast (of course it would be!), and I agreed, without diverting my gaze from the wedding guests below. And then, I saw movement out of the corner of my eye–my love was folding his long, lanky self down on one knee, and he asked me to spend my life with him! He didn’t hire those wedding guests, but it couldn’t have played out any more perfectly if he had.
When did y’all get married? May 31, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? Just over 300
Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We did, and there wasn’t a question in my mind that we would. I am emotional, so I didn’t know how I would react upon seeing him for the first time, and I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t bawling walking down the aisle in front of 300 of our family and friends. I am so glad that we did a first look–it was such a special moment for us, and I will cherish the photos of those few minutes forever.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My something old and borrowed was a brooch that belonged to my grandmother, that my mother loaned me for my wedding day. I attached it to my bouquet, and it meant so much to have a part of her with me. My something new was my dress and shoes, and my something blue was my light blue toenail polish (Essie’s Meet the Parents)!
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Honestly, the biggest challenge was finding a location. Charleston is a destination wedding location, and since we didn’t want to wait a full year (or longer) to get married, it proved to be a bit difficult to find a venue. Luckily, we were able to secure a spring date in Charleston with just enough time to plan.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? The best thing that I did when planning the wedding was once I made a decision, I stuck with it. I didn’t second guess anything that I had chosen, and I absolutely stayed off of Pinterest once I had met with Lisa at Ooh! Events. She and Callie understood my vision and style, and I trusted them completely. So that’s my biggest piece of advice: stay off of Pinterest and other wedding websites once you have your plans in motion! You chose each detail for a reason; cherish it!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? Once we returned from our honeymoon in Costa Rica, we got straight to work! Our first project as a married couple was laying new sod in the front yard, and we have just recently wrapped up laying a 700+ foot flagstone patio as well. Next up for us is a pergola and some patio furniture! We are loving married life, and I honestly couldn’t have chosen a better man to spend my life with.

Photographer: Shannon Michele Photography / Planning and Rentals: Ooh! Events / Venue: The Pavilion at Patriots Point / Florist: Out of the Garden / Cake Baker: Publix / Caterer: Relish Distinctive Catering / Paper Products: Open House Charleston / Bride’s Gown: “4165″ by Paloma Blanca / Bride’s Veil: Paloma Blanca / Bride’s Hair Accessory: J. Crew / Hair and Makeup: Candice Lukasak-Herriott / Bride’s Shoes: Kate Spade / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Arabella,” “Kylie,” and “Heidi” in Silk Chiffon by J. Crew / Men’s Attire: Jos. A. Bank / Photo Booth: Shutterbooth / Ceremony and Cocktail Hour Musicians: Charleston Chamber Players / Joggling Board: The Joggle Factory

Ooh! Events is a delightful member of the Southern Weddings sponsor family!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Linley Stokes reply

    Her bouquet is perfect!! Love the Greek Key backdrop, too!

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It is with so much joy that I introduce today’s Sweet Tea Sunday couple…not that they need introduction! Emily and John are one of the most genuine, sincere, intentional couples I know, and I have been doing my best to soak in as much wisdom from them as I can during my own engagement. All of us at Southern Weddings are inspired time and time again by how natural and evident their love and friendship is. Emily and John’s second wedding anniversary is coming up tomorrow, and I would love your help congratulating them on two beautiful years of marriage. Here’s to many more, E + J!

Tanja Lippert

You know that saying, find a job you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life? Well, we like to switch it up a bit: marry your best friend, and you’ll never work a day in your marriage. That, of course, is not entirely true — even the best marriages have harder days and easier days — but if you truly LIKE your partner, and love spending time with him or her more than anyone else, everything else seems to fall into place. Or, at least, that’s been our experience! Other tips that have served us well throughout our eight years together: forgive again and again, and don’t hold a grudge (easier said than done). Put your partner before yourself in small things — it will help to have that muscle in shape when bigger things come around. Take great joy in surprising and delighting him or her. Always speak well to others about your spouse, and about marriage in general. Stay humble. And finally, because it’s one of the main causes of divorce and marital issues, get your financial house in order. If finances are simply not a cause of stress, you’ll have a huge leg up on life together.

Meredith Perdue

Keep up with Emily
Personal blog: Em for Marvelous
Instagram: @EmilyAyerThomas
Twitter: @EmilyAyerThomas

lisa Written with love by Lisa
3 Comments
  1. avatar Erin reply

    Yay Emily and John!!! Have the best anniversary :)

  2. avatar Two years of marriage – Em for Marvelous - reply

    […] kind folks at Southern Weddings shared our marriage advice yesterday on the blog and in print in Volume 6, and I thought it might be fun to share it here, […]

  3. avatar Pamela reply

    Happy Anniversary Emily & John…..

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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