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Southern Weddings Weekly Round-Up

by in Main on

The last week before Christmas always feels a little bit like Santa’s workshop in the Southern Weddings office–along with getting all of the Southern Weddings Shop orders out the door in time to appear under Christmas trees, the new Southern Weddings Planner arrived this week! We were so overjoyed to see it in person (y’all, it is SO beautiful!!) and send it to all of our friends who placed preorders. We can hardly wait to see how everyone uses their Planners to help plan meaningful beginnings to married life. If you purchase one, use the #SWPlanner hashtag on Instagram to share your experience!

See more from this engagement session by Paige Knudsen on our Facebook page!

In case you missed it this week…

A Southern Weddings alum shared her marriage advice in Sweet Tea Sunday.
We’re so excited for these newly engaged readers!
We had the most wonderful night celebrating at our V7 launch party–find the recap here.
I shared the details of my upcoming wedding ceremony in Lisa’s Southern Wedding.
This sparkly holiday inspiration is too much fun!
We looked back on a wonderful first year of Southern Newlywed.

Claire and Adam‘s Austin wedding struck of lovely balance of unique, sentimental, and fun.
Ashlee and Tom were married in the heart of Georgia’s peach country.
Laura and Neil loved transforming a Maryland hunt club into a lovely venue for their wedding.
Savannah and Zachary incorporated handmade details into their wedding that they now share with others.

Have a delightful weekend, and congratulations to anyone getting married, including our sweet Southern Bride Blogger, Cassie!

lisa Written with love by Lisa

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Cheeca Lodge

by in on

Back in October, Kyle and I celebrated our 10-year dating anniversary by sneaking away to the Florida Keys for a few days. It’s pretty well known that I am a BIG believer in celebrating the little moments right alongside the big milestones in life, and 10 years of dating seemed like a perfectly good reason to take a little vacation and knock out two of my hints for a happy marriage: keep dating your spouse + get away.

We hopped a plane to Miami, rented a car and started driving south! I am a big fan of road trips (perfect time to complete the V7 Table Topics, Page 291) and when you toss in a beautiful view out both sides of the cars, I was in hog heaven. After a quick stop for breakfast at a roadside diner, we quickly made our way to Islamorda, and Cheeca Lodge, our home for the next few days.

We arrived at Cheeca Lodge a little before check-in, so we were able to store our bags, grab a glass of complimentary bubbly and get a tour of the property from sweet Charlene, the Director of Catering! We learned that Cheeca has the largest private beach in the Keys and is famous for their 525-foot wooden fishing pier. The thing that both KPW and I noticed right away was how lush and green the property was and how it felt as if we were in some glorious tropical oasis!

After our tour, we headed to the oceanfront Tiki Hut for lunch – the fish tacos were amazing! We have a personal rule to try to eat seafood at every meal when on vacation near an ocean. (I think it’s because we live in the mountains where good seafood is a little harder to come by.)

After our delicious little lunch, we were able to check into our room (more on that in a bit) and we decided to explore the pools (yes, plurual!) and go for a swim. The spa lap pool quickly became our favorite because of the darling personal cabañas complete with individual televisions! Kyle could catch the afternoon World Series game while I lounged in the sun and dug into another e-book.

We couldn’t get over the fact that only a few hours before we had been back home in the chilly fall weather and now we had our toes in the pool, soaking up a few rays and were sipping flavored water. (Note: this was easily the highlight of our stay at Cheeca. I was amazed at all the different options of infused water. A few of my favorites included pineapple and basil, strawberry and orange, and grapefruit and mint)

After an afternoon at the pool it was time to make plans for supper. While we decided to try a restaurant off property, we could have easily dined at Atlantic’s Edge, Limoncello and Nikai Sushi – all three had amazing menus and were right downstairs from our room!

Speaking of our room, gracious me, I think I could have moved in (our room was 840 square feet – the largest rooms in the Florida Keys)! We had a great view of the golf-course and I fell in love with the bathroom sinks. The décor was luxurious and the beds were oh-so-comfy.

The next morning after an amazing breakfast at the French bakery right up the road (email me and I will share more details) we rented bikes and explored the property. I spent the whole time giggling because I don’t think I’ve ridden a non-stationary bike since high school!

Remember that 525-pier I mentioned earlier? Well I somehow convinced KPW it would be fun to jump off the end and go swimming in the ocean for the afternoon!

Because this trip happened in the middle of our busy season, we were perfectly content going to explore the pool again after our ocean adventure. For those who are looking for a bit more entertainment, there was plenty to do at Cheeca. They offered a ton of water sports, fishing charters, and boat cruises! I wish I had taken advantage of their fitness offerings or the spa – the yoga on the beach, 9-hole golf course or tennis – but didn’t get the chance.

We spent the rest of time at Cheeca floating between the beachfront and the pools, eating as much seafood as we could manage before loading up the car and heading further south to Key West. I have to say that the drive (including the famous 7-mile bridge) was a highpoint of our trip.

My other favorite part was that we experienced such a tropical vacation without having to leave the US. It felt as if we were in another country, and all we did was take a quick plane trip without having to hustle through customs! I would definitely recommend the Florida Keys for anyone looking for a tropic getaway without the hassle (or expense) of international travel. Of course, it would also be quite a lovely backdrop for a destination wedding. I can only imagine how beautiful it would be to have a reception on the 525-foot pier or in the sand along the beachfront!

And clearly, I loved spending time with KPW, reminiscing on the last 10 years and all the things that we had experienced together. It’s so easy to get caught up in the busyness of the day to day, and lose track of time, so I was very grateful for the chance to get away for a few days.

I would love to hear how you celebrate anniversary or special occasions! Any tips or favorite places in the South where you have gone on a getaway recently?

PS: Cheeca Lodge has a sister hotel – The Marker – opening in December in Key West! KPW and I walked by while we were exploring the greater Key West area. It looked amazing and oh-so-Southern – I am already trying to convince him that we need to check it out soon, especially since they are calling for snow here this weekend!!

kristin Written with love by Kristin
1 Comment
  1. avatar Kelly reply

    ah! these pictures have me itching for a tropical vacation now!

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As much as we love our wedding features around these parts, we have a special space in our hearts for our Southern Newlywed At Home column. From adorable spaces to insightful interviews, it’s been such a joy to get a peek into the hearts and homes of some of our favorite couples this year! We were inspired by each and every one of the 16 newlywed nests we featured this year, and thought we’d take a walk down memory lane before kicking off 2015 with a whole new group of married friends!

Best mix of feminine + masculine: Emily and Bryan’s Florida home (photo by Shay Cochrane)

Best use of color: Katelyn James’ Virginia home (photo by Katelyn!)

Best use of neutrals: Landon and Jordan’s South Carolina home (photo by Landon Jacob)

Best apartment living: Caroline and Aaron’s 600 sq. ft. Texas home (photo by Michelle Boyd)

Best porch: Erin and Ben’s Mississippi home (photo by Jean Allsopp)

Coziest home: Erin and Todd’s South Carolina home (photo by Courtney Dox)

Most adorable small space living: Meg and Josh’s Texas home (photo by Amanda Marie)

Best city living: Mattye and Woody’s Alabama home (photo by Jacob Blount)

Best dining room: Clark and Caroline’s Tennessee home (photo by Clark)

Best bunk room: Jessica and Jeremy’s North Carolina home (photo by Jessica)

Best wallpaper: Emily and Colby’s Texas home (photo by Apryl Ann)

Best home office: Amanda and Tyler’s Texas home (photo by Heather Rowland)

Best pattern play: Kelly and Andrew’s Alabama home (photo by Jean Allsopp)

Best bedroom: Natalie and Huey’s Maryland home (photo by Natalie)

Best use of wedding china: Abby and Alex’s Alabama home (photo by A Bryan Photo) (also, best chicken names)

Best re-use of wedding decor in a home: Christina and Blair’s Texas home (photo by Jen Dillender)

You can see all of our Southern Newlywed features right here. And stay tuned to the blog the week after Christmas, when we’ll be sharing our Most Memorable moments from a year of weddings!

emily Written with love by Emily
  1. avatar Yours Truly Wedding Albums reply

    Beautiful homes! Love the 2 huge white dogs!

  2. avatar Lisa reply

    What an amazing round-up! Love the wisdom and inspiration every single one of these couples shared!

  3. avatar Liz reply

    This series is my new favorite part of SW!

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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Christmas is only a week away! Along with the cards lining the hallway to the SW office and the Christmas music on repeat during Southern Weddings Shop packing parties, we’re getting into the spirit with this girly inspiration from Elle Ellinghaus Designs. After this team of Maryland wedding planners wrapped up their 2014 wedding season, they got all dolled up for a sparkly soirée, full of last-minute inspiration for any upcoming weekend Christmas parties–those ornaments sprinkled down the table, for example, would be so easy to recreate at home! Caitlin of CJK Visuals was on hand to capture every fun detail of this celebration, and we’re so glad Elle shared it with us!

From Elle:

I wanted to give the super stellar gals at my company a much-needed day off, and fill it with feminine, holiday fun after our 2014 wedding year! I created a holiday table big enough for the four of us, complete with personalized plates, monogrammed drink garnishes, and decor in the favorite colors of my girls: pink and teal. After we had our hair and makeup done and picked out our outfits, we sat around the table and drank champagne, laughed until it hurt, nibbled on lunch, and reminisced about the year with all of our favorite wedding stories! Caitlin of CJK Visuals was there to capture this day of fun. It was such a treat for us all!

Photography: CJK Visuals / Styling, Props, Chairs, and Models: Elle Ellinghaus Designs / Dresses: Bella Bridesmaid Baltimore / Hair and Makeup: Alison Harper & Co. / Linen: La Tavola

lisa Written with love by Lisa
  1. avatar Elle Ellinghaus reply

    Thank you so much for the feature! So much fun with the gals that day!

  2. avatar Caitlin reply

    ahh, i had so much fun photographing this shoot! thank you so much for the feature!! :)

  3. avatar Loverly reply

    Those big sparkly chair bows are too perfect!

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Upon first glance, Savannah and Zachary’s wedding is full of lovely details, pretty blooms, and an amazing lace gown from Watters. Now, while all those pieces make up one big, beautiful day, after reading through their interview, you’ll find that there is also so much more! Like we vow in our Sweet Tea Society manifesto, “we believe that planning for a wedding means planning for more than one day.” Savannah and Zachary truly brought that phrase to life with their gorgeous farm tables! Savannah’s stepfather built them especially for the wedding, and now, her mother has started a rental company to share them and other special pieces they collected with other brides. Isn’t that what the South is all about?

Big hugs to Natalie Watson Photography for sharing this wedding with us!

Like most girls, I have dreamed of my wedding dress since I was little. I knew that I wanted lace, and lots of it, and I knew that I did not want a ball gown. I found my dress while browsing the Watters website and immediately fell in love. I searched for the nearest place that carried the line in Tennessee and called to schedule a consultation. I specifically asked about the Kerry gown, and as it turns out, they had just received the dress the day before…in my size! I took all of my bridesmaids and my mom to the appointment. Although they picked out several other dresses for me to try on, I knew that I was set on the Kerry gown. I was just as happy with my choice on the day of my wedding and afterwards seeing it in the photos as I was the day that I chose it.

Describe your wedding flowers. Flowers were actually something that we struggled with for a bit. Originally, I wanted peonies, but they aren’t in season in August. Neither are tulips, which were my second choice. Thankfully, our florist was able to use her knowledge of flowers to suggest alternatives that achieved the overall look that I was hoping for. It was important for me that we had more of a wildflower look than perfectly symmetrical bouquets, and I wanted to play with different textures and incorporate thistle. Our florist was able to create a look that perfectly accented our Southern vintage theme and color palette.

We chose our venue because it was located in the quaint little town of Jonesborough, Tennessee, which happens to be the oldest town in the state. Our venue is actually a storytelling center used for festivals, but the gorgeous second floor wraparound porch had me smitten from the beginning. Luckily, they also rent the venue for weddings, so we were able to make it happen. We also liked that it allowed us to have both the ceremony and reception at one location.

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We decided not to do a first look. Even as a guest at a wedding, I always love watching the groom’s reaction to seeing the bride for the first time. Although I know first looks can be special in their own way, I wanted to keep things traditional and see Zach and his reaction to me as I walked down the aisle.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Our entire wedding day oozed Southern style. If I had to name one Southern thing in particular though, it would be our reception menu. We chose Southern comfort foods: fried green tomatoes, followed by fried chicken, mixed greens, sweet potato casserole, and macaroni and cheese. All of this was accompanied by butter and biscuits and followed up with individual mini pies.

Our favorite details were the gorgeous farm tables that my stepfather built especially for our wedding. It was definitely a labor of love that had us painting and staining up to the week of the wedding. My stepfather knew how much I wanted them, and lovingly, he made it happen. It actually worked out well, and now, my mother has started a rental company with the many things that we accumulated so that other East Tennessee brides have more options!

We ended up with SO many desserts at our wedding. Initially, we thought that we would skip a cake and just have individual cherry, apple, coconut, pecan, and chocolate pies. However, my mother thinks that it is a downright SIN to not have a wedding cake, so we ended up with one of those too (which I am so thankful for, since our cake was gorgeous!). Zach dislikes cake, so for his “groom’s cake,” he opted for his favorite sugar cookies from a local bakery instead.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Zachary and I met in high school. We sat right beside each other in French class, and even though we always had huge crushes on each other, it wasn’t until a few years after high school that our relationship grew into something more.
Tell us all about the proposal! Our proposal was an absolute dream! I have a small obsession with New York City, and Zachary had never been, so we planned a little weekend visit there the week before we relocated to Knoxville, Tennessee. I may have dropped a few hints that I would love to get engaged in New York, but I honestly had no idea that it would happen on that weekend trip. Zachary, knowing nothing about NYC, reached out to a high school friend of ours who was living there for help finding an unexpected proposal location. I had our weekend all planned out without a minute to spare, but on our second day there, Zach announced that we had plans for the evening and needed to return to the hotel by 4 to get ready. This announcement, coupled with his giddy and nervous demeanor, is when I started to suspect that something might happen. That evening, we got in a cab, and Zach rattled off an address. We were dropped off on the corner of a cobblestone street in the West Village, and Zach led me to an unmarked door. We stepped inside, and I recognized the restaurant–One if by Lane, Two if by Sea. As I freaked out because Ashley Tisdale was dining in the restaurant, Zach nervously waited to pop the question. One of the waiters took the ring from Zach when I was in the ladies’ room, and the owner of the restaurant brought it out on the stem of a rose, lying on a bed of rose petals on a silver platter as a “special dessert.” Zach nervously asked me to be his wife in a speech that neither of us really remembers, and I happily said yes! We spent the remainder of the weekend giddy and in love as we enjoyed my favorite city.
When did y’all get married? August 2, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 200
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We were a little too nervous to write our own vows, so we spent forever online searching for the perfect ones. We ended up piecing lines together from a few different sources.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? There was a moment right before we had our sparkler exit when Zachary and I finally had a second alone to take in the entire day. I remember standing at the top of the staircase, feeling so thankful to have married such a precious man, and so thankful for how perfect our day had played out.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Although it sounds cliché, take the time to breathe, step back, and enjoy the process. The year that we were engaged literally felt like a blink. I would also say to stick to your personal style, and don’t try to throw a wedding with a theme that is not representative of your personality. This can be difficult in a world where Pinterest and blogs constantly provide new ideas.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are looking forward to all of the little experiences and journeys that married life will take us on. I finished my Master’s degree prior to our wedding and started working full-time in September. Zach is currently interviewing for graduate school, where he will study to be a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner. He has applied to several places, many of which are not in Tennessee, so a move might be in our near future.

Photographer: Natalie Watson Photography / Venue: International Storytelling Center / Florist: Connie Timmons / Cake Baker: Misty Barber / Caterer: Main Street Cafe & Catering / Rentals: Southern Knot Wedding Rentals / China Rentals: China Dolls / DJ: Ogle Entertainment / Table Numbers and Chair Covers: BHLDN / Invitations: Teal Typewriter Studios / Programs, Seating Chart, and “I Spy” Games: How Lovely Paper / Bride’s Gown: “Kerry” by Watters / Bride’s Veil: Erica Koesler / Bride’s Earrings: Tajani / Makeup Artist: Faces by Ren / Bride’s Shoes: Kate Spade / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Various styles in Misty Rose Silk Chiffon by J. Crew / Menswear: JC Penney / Ties: The Tie Bar

marissa Written with love by Marissa
  1. avatar Rachel Akin reply

    I really enjoyed this post on Zachary and Savannah’s wedding. I saw many aspects in the photos that reminded me of my own “Dream Wedding” Pinterest board. I especially enjoyed the custom made farm tables. It’s nice to have certain aspects of your wedding that can’t be recreated. Congratulations to you both!

  2. avatar Erin | Elizabeth Anne Designs reply

    LOVE! There are too many pretty details to count! xo

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