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The Old Edwards Inn was one of the first destinations I had the pleasure of traveling to after I moved to the South eight years ago, and it made a BIG impression on me. Now that I’ve added many, many dreamy venues in every corner of the South to my resume, I know that it wasn’t just naivety that made the OEI seem magical – it truly is.

And this property just keeps getting better, especially with the recent addition of Half-Mile Farm, a new hotel and event space under the Old Edwards umbrella! Just like the rest of Old Edwards, it has Old World European charm; impeccable service; stunning surroundings; and friendly Southern hospitality. I can think of few better destinations to bring your guests to for a wedding, and would love to tell you more about Half-Mile Farm this morning!

Half-Mile Farm is a 14-acre property with 35 guest rooms (including 12 luxury suites, and eight rooms within historic on-site cabins). The cabins are perfect for a bridal party or family members, and when hosting your wedding or event at the Farm, all 35 rooms are reserved for your guests only!

We’ve heard time and again that one of the best ways to ensure amazing wedding weekend memories is to house all of your guests in one place, and Half-Mile Farm would be perfect for this.

Speaking of amazing memories, here are a few of the things you and your guests can expect to enjoy during your stay:

— A heated outdoor mineral pool (!)
— Hiking trails with streams and a stocked fish pond
— Complimentary chef-made breakfast
— Afternoon wine and hors d’oeuvres
— Fitness center access and bicycles on site
— A private lake with canoes and stand-up paddleboards

As brides, one of the things we plan for and look forward to most about our weddings is being a gracious hostess for our loved ones. I love that Old Edwards and Half-Mile Farm will come alongside us in that, setting the perfect low-key, warm, and welcoming environment in which to create memories.

Half-Mile Farm can accommodate up to 100 guests, and all food and beverage is catered through the Old Edwards Inn (yum!). You can hold both your ceremony and reception on-site; all receptions are set under a tent.

Take a peek at their website for more details, and tell me: have you ever been to the Old Edwards Inn? If not, you MUST add it to your bucket list!

This post is sponsored by the Old Edwards Inn, a property we know and love. Thank you so much for your support of the brands who make Southern Weddings possible!

emily Written with love by Emily
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Friends, it is with great joy and only a few butterflies that I introduce you to… the Southern Weddings Tenth Anniversary cover!!!

It was no small task choosing an image that sums up not only this beautiful issue but ten whole years of our work and our heart, but friends… I think we did it :)

Because you know what? In the end, it comes down to love. Real love — not airbrushed love, not perfect love, but love that grows with you, love that sustains you for a lifetime, love that adds beauty and dimension to every facet of your life.

After ten years, if you’ve learned nothing else from us, we hope that you’ve joined us in this: the belief that cultivating what matters, right where you are — as a Southerner, as an engaged gal, as a bride, as a wife — it matters. It can change the world, starting with the world of your union, and then rippling out from there.

Ashley and David are a real, dear couple to us, with a real marriage, a real love, and real joy. We’re thrilled to have them on our cover, standing in for every perfectly imperfect story we’ve had the honor of touching over the last decade.

Our tenth anniversary cover doesn’t look like every other one you’ll see on newsstands, and we love that. We believe weddings should be filled with joy (heyyyy, Joyful Wedding Planner!), and so we chose the most joyful image we could to represent Volume 10. We knew it was the one as soon as we saw Anna Shackleford’s final images come back from the lab (thank you, Richard Photo Lab!!).

The sweetest part? This wasn’t even a planned “pose,” or one we had on our shot list. It was taken at the end of the day, after we had wrapped up shooting and were walking back to our supplies. David scooped up his bride to carry her over the grass, and Anna snapped a few last shots.

And y’all? This cover is important, but it’s just the beginning. Our tenth anniversary issue is packed full of content that will spur you on to create your own legacy of a strong, rich, joyful marriage through 12 real weddings, seven editorials, practical planning advice, and an entire section devoted to newlywed life.

Our official release is three weeks from today (Thursday the 9th!), but preorders are open now! They’ll ship a few days before our newsstand launch date, and include a bundle of extra goodies we think you’ll love!

THANK YOU, ANNA AND THE INVISION EVENTS TEAM!!!

In the meantime, we’re DYING to know: What do y’all think??? Are you as excited about our tenth anniversary issue as we are? :)

Planner and Stylist: Invision Events | Photographer: Anna Shackleford | Film Processing: Richard Photo Lab | Venue: The Fort Conde Inn | Portrait Location: Bellingrath Gardens | Florals: Marked | Hair and Makeup: Hair and Makeup by BBM | Bride’s Gown: “Saylor” by Amsale | Bride’s Topper: “Chloe Crop Top Extended” by Heidi Elnora | Pearl Earrings: BHLDN | Groom’s Attire: The Black Tux | Pocket Square: Kaye Hannabuss Textiles

P.S. A walk down memory lane… the V9 cover reveal (plus a fun video!), the V8 cover reveal, the V7 cover reveal, and the V6 cover reveal (including one of my favorite cover stories ever!)!

Anna Shackleford, Invision Events, Marked, the Heidi Elnora Atelier, and Hair and Makeup by BBM are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

emily Written with love by Emily
8 Comments
  1. avatar Morgan Cox reply

    Love it!!! The joy on their faces captures what a wedding day is all about. I married my husband four months ago, and was surprised when my favorite images weren’t the careful planned design images, but the ones that captured our true emotions of the day. Can’t wait to get this issue in my hands!

  2. avatar Kyla Shattuck reply

    LOVE IT! And eagerly counting down the days until the launch!

  3. avatar Stephanie Shaul reply

    AHH!!! Ladies, it is BEAUTIFUL!!!!! So, so radiantly joyful and euphoric. And I can just feel their love!

    Stunning work, as always! I can’t wait to get it in my hands!!

  4. avatar Madeline reply

    Oh my lanta!! This cover radiates joy and embodies everything I feel SW stands for. A heartfelt congratulations to y’all, from a HUGE fan and Charleston reader.

  5. avatar Christina Frederick reply

    You all have done it again! As an avid SW fan from issue one I can honestly say that your heart for true love and what matters most has evolved in to an amazing collection of goodness! Each issue is always better than the last, yet they all hold tight to truth and beautiful stories of love. Bravo for coming so far, yet staying so true! Congratulations to the cover team, the issue is beautiful and I can’t wait to see what’s inside!
    xo Christina

  6. avatar Amy reply

    This cover is so beautiful!! What a sweet moment! Congrats on 10 years!!! Can’t wait to celebrate with you!

  7. avatar Janna Toruno reply

    Ohmigoodness! It’s gorgeous! Also her red nails are making me consider a not so usual bridal color on mine for my October 2018 wedding! :)

  8. avatar Dana reply

    Love it! Y’all have chosen yet another BEAUTIFUL and PERFECT cover!!! Counting down the days to read V10!

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Bride Lauren shares her classic wedding–the first to be held in OU’s Great Reading Room!

I will never turn down an opportunity to explore a college campus, and if there’s anything I love more than a leafy quad, it’s a gothic library reading room. So as you might imagine, this on-campus marriage between two college sweethearts had me weak at the knees from the first peek. But then Lauren explained that the Great Reading Room was one of her favorite places to study in college and that, “if our future children choose to go to OU someday, I can’t help but think how cool it will be for them to study in the same spot their parents were married.” Be still my heart.

Lauren and Austin’s connection to their wedding venue doesn’t even stop there, as Austin is currently a law student on campus! As a law school grad married to a lawyer myself, I could certainly identify with Lauren’s strategically-timed wedding DIY projects. That kind of consideration on her part, coupled with his willingness to put the books down whenever possible, sounds like a great foundation for a lawyer marriage! (And their focus on their families doesn’t hurt, either!) But I’ll scoot aside and let our bride take it from here.

Many thanks to Emily Ann Hughes for sending this beauty our way!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Austin and I both graduated from the University of Oklahoma, so choosing to get married on campus was especially significant, as it was the place our love story began. We are so lucky—and honored—to be the first couple to ever be married in the Great Reading Room. When searching for a venue, we wanted something that was unique, historic, and the opposite of “cookie cutter”. OU offered us all of that (and more!) and we will be forever grateful for the rare opportunity. As a college student, the Great Reading Room was one of my favorite places to study, but I never imagined that I would marry the love of my life in that same room. If our future children choose to go to OU someday, I can’t help to think how cool it will be for them to study in the same spot their parents were married. Additionally, the historic ballroom on campus has held celebrations since the 1920s and was the perfect spot for our reception.
Did you decide to do a first look? We went the traditional route and chose not to do a first look. In our experience, forgoing a first look really added to the excitement and anticipation of the day. Not just for Austin and me (no matter what, we would have been excited!), but for our family and wedding party. The whole day felt like Christmas!

What was your favorite thing about wedding planning? My parents were so eager (in the best way possible!) and happy to be involved in the planning process—it made everything so easy and fun! Since we lived in different states, I talked to them on the phone for over an hour almost every single night. We would go over RSVPs, discuss vendor meetings and options, and talk through all of my crazy ideas. It was such a wonderful bonding experience and I’m so thankful for all the special moments we shared together throughout the wedding planning process. From dance lessons to dress fittings, they were there for it all. I will carry those memories with me for the rest of my life.
What was the hardest part about planning your wedding? Austin was in his first year of law school while we were planning our wedding, so I was mindful of his school schedule (papers, mid-terms, finals, etc.) when talking about our wedding. I used finals week to start most of my DIY projects and weekends to talk about guest lists, budgets and timelines. And despite his hectic schedule, he made every effort to attend all vendor meetings and walk-throughs.

When did y’all get married? June 24, 2017.
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 150.

Tell us your love story in one sentence. We are college sweethearts who have known each other since we were eleven-years-old.
Tell us all about the proposal! Austin proposed on an unsuspecting walk with our dog, Honey. I was in leggings and a t-shirt, so it’s safe to say I was taken completely by surprise, which is exactly what Austin always hoped for. We celebrated that evening with our families (our parents are actually neighbors!) in our hometown of Flower Mound, Texas. The next day we drove up to Norman, Oklahoma to tour the University of Oklahoma College of Law (where Austin is currently a 2L). After our tour, we stopped in for a drink at the dive-bar where we had our first kiss almost eight years ago!

I went wedding dress shopping for the first time with just my mom and dad. I have a close relationship with my dad, and I wanted him to be there to experience that special moment with me. All along I thought I knew exactly the type of dress I wanted, but after a few fails, the stylist at Bridal Boutique in Lewisville suggested I try something simple. She pulled a stunning Enzoani gown (which totally had Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy vibes!), and I absolutely fell in love. I had never pictured myself in something like it, but it totally fit my timeless and classic style. We paired it with a Lee-Ann Belter lace jacket and I was sold. The following weekend I returned to the boutique with my mom, sisters, and future mother-in-law and sisters-in-law (5 of us in total and 2 were there via Face-Time) and officially said yes to the dress. I truly had the best experience and was lucky to be able include all of the people I love!

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? One of my dear friends designed our invitations, programs, place cards, and welcome box details. It was fun to be so involved in the process! We exchanged about 100 emails, so I’m very thankful for her patience and kind heart. I also printed everything locally, which was really cost effective. We took on a lot of DIY projects, too. My dad and I built, stained, and painted all the wood signage for the wedding, and he constructed and hung the garden lights on the patio. I also re-purposed a lot of items from discount stores and antique shops.

What was your favorite detail from your wedding? From the black and gold tiled floor to the dramatic windows, the swinging leather doors, the old books on display, and all the ornate architectural elements, I’ll forever be in awe of all the beautiful details of the Great Reading Room. We added minimal decor, as the space didn’t need a lot. But the arrangements at the altar, the candles, the greenery on the tables, and the string quartet really made the room feel wedding-like. It was beyond my wildest dreams.
What was Southern about your wedding? Both our ceremony and reception were located on the campus of the University of Oklahoma, in buildings that were both built in the 1920s. I think historic buildings and details add a simple and elegant Southern flair. Additionally, we sipped on Southern Comfort (Austin’s favorite!) and Shiner Light Blonde all night long and line-danced to “Copperhead Road.” We also incorporated our “crest” on our wedding cake, invitations, programs, custom-made cups, and signs—and my dad even drew it in chalk along the pathway to the ceremony. We plan to incorporate it in our home someday, too!

What was your most memorable moment from your wedding day? Saying our vows to each other in front of our closest friends and family will always be the moment that shines the brightest in my memory. We put a lot of thought into our ceremony, and every detail was a perfect representation of everything Austin and I love, value, and cherish.
What advice would you give to someone currently planning a wedding? Save everything! I’m such a pack rat for sentimental items I even saved all my to-do lists (there were hundreds), because I know one day I will love to look back and remember all the hard work we put in. Our guest room closet is now dedicated to anything that was remotely wedding-related. Additionally, hire a planner and a really good photographer. (For us, that was Blair Sims Events and Emily Ann Hughes Photography!) Trust me, it makes a difference. After that, just enjoy the experience. And always remember to be grateful during the happy times and graceful during the stressful times.

Although Austin and I are not really the mushy-gushy type, we always knew we wanted to write our own vows. We heard from so many guests that they were some of the most emotional vows they’d ever heard! My hope is that it helped our friends and family understand our hearts just a little bit more. We had our hometown church pastor marry us, who also led our pre-marital counseling sessions, too. We both felt so comfortable in his presence and it made our ceremony that much more intimate and personal. We spent our honeymoon in Italy and decided to re-read our vows to each other while we were in Rome. (We were both so nervous standing up in front of everyone that it was hard to remember every single word the other said!) Hearing them again felt as special as it did the first time. That ended up being one of the most special parts of our trip. Here’s a line from Austin’s: “No matter what we plan, or what life throws at us, I will do whatever it takes—no matter how hard—to make you feel loved. A person as amazing as you deserves nothing less than that, and I am the luckiest man in the world to be able to give that to you.” And here’s a line from mine: “Today, as I stand here in front of you, I am still captivated by your selfless, humble, caring and respectful nature as I was the day I fell in love with you. Your heart is the biggest I know. It loves unconditionally and without hesitation. It is forgiving and kind. It always seeks to find the beauty in my madness, and most of all, it loves me for me.”

One of the sweetest moments of the day was when our nieces and nephews screamed, “We’re officially cousins now!” Austin and I are both crazy lucky that our families have grown so close over the years, and on our wedding day it really felt like we were all one big happy family. Both of our parents were beaming with happiness and it made our wedding day that much more special seeing their smiling (and sometimes crying!) faces.

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We had both a string quartet for our ceremony and a live band for our reception. We kept it pretty traditional for the ceremony. I walked down the aisle to Pachelbel’s “Canon in D” and we recessed to Mendelssohn’s “Wedding March.” There is just something about those recognizable songs that just tug at your heart strings. We entered the reception to “You Make My Dreams Come True” by Hall & Oates (one of my all-time favorites!). Our first dance was “Tupelo Honey” by Van Morrison. We both felt like that was a song we could see ourselves dancing to in the kitchen when we are both old and grey. It is such a classic song that I’ll never get tired of hearing. For our last dance, we chose “If I Should Fall Behind” by Bruce Springsteen.
What did you serve for your wedding cake or dessert? For our five-tier wedding cake, Austin and I chose traditional white wedding cake, lemon cake, strawberry cake, and coconut cake with decadent buttercream frosting. For Austin’s groom’s cake he chose chocolate cake with chocolate ganache. We wanted there to be a little something for everyone! I often make sugar cookies for holidays and parties, so I thought it would mean a lot to our guests to make some for the wedding. I made 150 iced sugar cookies in the shape of the state of Oklahoma as a take-home gift (and included a print out of my recipe, too!). As stressful as it may sound, it helped take my mind off of things the week of the wedding—even if it was just for a moment.

Photographer: Emily Ann Hughes Photography | Videographer: Glorious Day Films | Planner: Blair Sims Events | Ceremony Venue: The Great Reading Room in Bizzell Memorial Library | Reception Venue: Molly Shi Boren Ballroom at the University of Oklahoma | Florist: Poppy Lane Design | Wedding Cake: Amy Cakes | Caterer: The University of Oklahoma | Rentals and Lighting: Mood Party Rentals | Band: Drive | String Quartet: Norman String Quartet | Bride’s Gown: “Janessa” by Enzoani from Bridal Boutique | Jacket: “Luna” by Lee-Ann Belter | Bride’s Veil: Alisa Brides | Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist: Chelsey Ann Artistry | Bride’s Shoes: “Barby” by Badgley Mischka | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Annabelle” in Mayan Blue by Jenny Yoo | Menswear: Jos. A. Bank

Written with love by Catherine
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