Southern Weddings

I am SO excited to introduce our December Southern Bride of the Month to y’all. In addition to being one of our sweetest and most active readers, Madi (fun fact!) was almost our 2012 summer intern! Circumstances kept her in Texas, but we’ve enjoyed keeping up with her ever since, and are so excited about her upcoming wedding (January!), and the chance for y’all to get to know her a bit better today. Let’s begin!

Hi! What’s your name?
Madi Reid (on Twitter)

What’s your fiancé’s name?
Bret Sanders

Amanda Marie Photography

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story.
We have been together for three years now but it always feels like longer because of our long-standing friendship. Bret and I were long time family-friends. It’s actually kind of a crazy web of connections, but simply put, Bret’s aunt and uncle are my parent’s best friends.

We grew up in a close-knit community and went to high school together; Bret was two years ahead of me in school but at the time we were just great friends! We both dated other people and never considered there might be something in store for us. Bret went to school at the University of Missouri-Columbia and two years later I headed South to Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas. We had stayed in good contact throughout this time and much to my surprise, Bret began his pursuit of me from afar. In 2009, my freshman year at TCU, he asked me to join him on a date back home over that Thanksgiving break. I was kind of hesitant and actually declined his offer! Bless his heart! We laugh about this now because I was a little stubborn in the beginning. That next month, Bret asked once again and this time I took him up on dinner and a movie. We had so much fun and everything seemed so easy and natural. We have been together ever since!

Amanda Marie Photography

Now tell us alllll about the proposal.
I was supposed to be doing a photo shoot with my friend Amanda (She is also my wedding photographer!). It was a rainy evening and we went down to an old train station in downtown Fort Worth. We walked in, and I was expecting to see another girlfriend of mine, Annie, there to help with the shoot as well. I didn’t see her anywhere, and things began to seem a little bizarre. Amanda began rambling about how neat the building was. As I searched around for Annie, I noticed a man standing up from a bench across the room. I recognized his walk, and his build. When I heard him say, “Hello beautiful!” it hit me that it was Bret. Y’all, this is where you have to laugh, because instead of a swept-off-my-feet-by-his-sweetness reaction, the first thing I said to him was, “What are you doing here?!” Poor thing! I was so confused!

Bret was not supposed to be in town until the following day to celebrate my birthday, so I was not expecting him at that moment. He took me into his arms and I felt his heart beating faster and faster. Though I was in shock, it all started to sink in. After saying the kindest words and bringing tears to my eyes (and his own!) Bret got down on one knee and asked for me to be his wife. The best part? Amanda snapped pictures of the entire thing! Sneaky, sneaky!

Amanda Marie Photography

When’s the big day?
January 12, 2013 — It’s coming up so quick! Bret and I are definitely lovers of the summer season, and we had always envisioned exchanging nuptials in the warmer months. However, Bret had the itch to propose pretty early in October of 2011, and I still had a year of school 600 miles away. We didn’t want to have a 20 month engagement just for the sake of a summer wedding, so we set the date for the soonest we could following my graduation. I was not the biggest fan of this decision in the beginning, but once we got going on the plans I fell in love with the idea of a celebration in the winter!

Where might you two be tying the knot?
Our hometown of Liberty, Missouri! It is quaint with a strong sense of community while still being just 20 minutes north of some incredible venues in downtown Kansas City. There was no other place more perfect than the place we were raised!

Madi’s inspiration board. Fun fact – I designed it! Madi wrote into our “Ask the Experts” series last January and we put together three posts helping her bring Southern warmth to the winter months!

How did you pick your ceremony venue? What do you love most about it?
When we knew a winter wedding was in the works we had to start looking at indoor venues. The ceremony site was a quick decision. Bret and I will exchange vows at his family’s home church, Liberty Christian Church. This spot is very dear to both of us as it is where we first met back in junior high youth group and where we were both baptized. It is so neat to us that both of these big steps in our walks with the Lord will be taking place under the same roof! And how about those stained glass windows! I love!

Main Street Studios

Tell us a little bit about the wedding you’re planning: style, theme, feel, colors?
I have adopted the term “Rustic meets Romance” throughout our planning process. Still, I want a very classic style, so the rustic elements are minor. We also have a strong Southern theme going with the use of cotton as a floral element and burlap runners on our tables. More than anything, I want the warmth and feeling of Southern hospitality to be the biggest takeaway for our guests… no matter what the temperatures are outdoors!

Burlap reception details (Kristyn Hogan via Southern Weddings) and cotton boutonnieres (Melissa Schollaert via Southern Weddings)

Who or what has been most helpful and/or inspiring in the wedding planning process?
I am a wedding blog nut… and always have been! Southern Weddings has stood as my first daily blog visit for the past four years! I can’t get enough! The “Emily Plans a Wedding” has also been beyond helpful! Thank you, Em!

Bret and I also seem to have been to a wedding just about everywhere in this past year… 8 total! I have taken many photos and mental notes throughout this exciting season of life to use for our big day.

How have you involved your “community” (friends, family, etc.) in the wedding planning process?
I don’t know what I would have done without my mom during this time. She is truly amazing! I’m planning from states away, and I know that without her, none of my plans would be executed! She has been so gracious to give of her time in order to help Bret and I have such a special day.

Has your vision for your wedding changed or evolved over the course of your engagement? If so, how?
It’s so funny how when you begin the planning process, the ideas you once had change considerably. When I first envisioned my wedding, I pictured a summer’s eve, an old wooden barn and bright florals, boots and bow ties, fireflies and moonlight. When thinking of when and where we would wed, it seemed like a celebration outdoors was the only option! (Maybe it is because all of the beautiful outdoor ceremonies I had swooned over on Southern Weddings!) Even as a church-goin’ girl, I just never considered exchanging vows in a church. When BRS proposed in October, with my graduation date set for December of the next year, we knew our dream of a summer wedding just was not in the cards. No way did we want to embark on a 20 MONTH engagement! Summer of 2013 quickly turned into January 2013. Kansas City winters bring quite the chill and snow fall is no surprise ‘round those parts, so a winter wedding date meant no outdoor venue.

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What part of wedding planning, if any, has made you the most anxious?
I am very Type-A and as an aspiring wedding and event coordinator I have worked on the other side of many weddings. This sounds so ridiculous, but what has made me the most anxious is the feeling that something will not go according to plan. And from all I’ve learned, not everything will go according to plan! This day will definitely be a test of my patience, but I will be sending up many prayers that I will give up all control to the Lord on that day. No matter what goes off-kilter, I will still be Bret’s wife when it’s all said and done!

What wedding-related decision have you been the most indecisive on?
Haha! Let me start by saying I’m glad the decision was finally made. I asked Bret if there was anything in particular that he was adamant about having a say in. He said food (of course!) and what the gents would wear. I gave a big sigh of relief when he wanted to tackle these two items, because in all honesty, he is better in the kitchen than I am, so I trust his judgment on our reception meal. Also, it was my thought that guys really had limited options as far as what they wear for their wedding. This black tux or this black tux… right?

Wrong. Bret, showing his most stubborn side, refused to wear a traditional black tux. He didn’t want to be “boring” or do “what everyone else does”. (His words, not mine!) He also believes that renting a tux never results in a good fit for every guy, and with our budget, buying the tuxes was out of the question. We seemed to be at a crossroads. When it came down to it, though, I wanted for Bret to feel as though his voice was heard on this topic, and I wanted him to have the freedom to choose his attire for the day just as I had been able to. Together, we proceeded to throw around the idea of charcoal gray or navy suits instead… and we threw it around for a period of 3 months. Three months!!! Navy eventually emerged as our final decision. Bret was thrilled, and I was just thrilled to be finished with that decision!

Handsome groom and groomsmen in navy (Sean Curtin Photography)

Tell us about the one that got away. Is there one dream thing or vendor you wish you could have fit into your budget?
This will probably sound so crazy (and this just shows you how blessed I’ve been to be able to have most everything we’ve wanted) but I still wish we could rent chivari chairs or even wooden folding chairs! Our venue comes with a basic black chair which is fine… but I think everything could look much more polished with some wooden or bamboo chairs! How silly is that?

One major budget bonus that Madi was lucky to get – custom-designed invitations by Paperfinger for FREE! (Shown above, though with a different backer!) Read the whole story here!

Have you picked your dress yet? How’d that go? What will you be wearing on the big day?
I found my gown very early on, and that is one detail that has remained a secret! I am very open about my planning process through my blog and in conversations with friends, but that is one thing I really wanted to save as a surprise for the day. I can tell you that I love it! It’s very classic and perfect for me!

One very important accessory I am so excited for is my veil! I fell in love with Katharine’s cathedral length veil with lace detail when I first saw it a couple years back. My very talented aunt offered to make this accessory for me, so we have gathered pictures for inspiration and set our hearts on recreating something similar to what Katharine wore. We are using a gorgeous ivory vintage French lace. I am giddy!

The inspiration, Katharine’s veil. (A Bryan Photo via Southern Weddings)

What do you love most about Southern weddings?
There is just a raw feeling of intimacy in a Southern wedding even if your guest count is 200+! Maybe it’s the strong ties to tradition, or the warmth of Southern hospitality. Maybe it’s the love between a Southern bride and groom and the blessing they received from their parents to join their lives together. Whatever it is, it’ll steal your heart and you won’t look at a wedding, or more importantly a marriage, the same again.

Tell us about planning with your fiancé. Has it gone smoothly? Is he more involved, or hands-off?
He has definitely been more hands-off, but only because he is focused on work and also doing a full renovation on our first home! He and his brother own a business where they buy homes and renovate them to rent them out. They came across a home for us, and Bret has been hard at work preparing it for our move-in just after the wedding.

What do you wish you would have known at the beginning of your engagement?
Engagement isn’t always a blissful time. It has actually been a much harder time for Bret and I than we imagined… but at the same time, it’s been good for us. It has challenged us to be real with one another and pushed us to look past the silly arguments about the guest list or the food selections and remember why we fell in love in the first place.

Amanda Marie Photography

What are you most looking forward to on your wedding day?
The ceremony… hands down! We are both very emotional, but not the kind of emotional that’s scared to be emotional, if that makes sense? Bret and I are both really excited to exchange our vows, sweet words and make that commitment to one another in front of the Lord, our families and dearest friends. I can’t help but think those moments will be so surreal and magical!

Any advice you’d like to pass along to fellow brides?
Put the most focus on preparing your relationship for marriage, not preparing yourselves for a wedding. (This is advice I probably needed to take many times throughout our planning instead of getting so caught up in the design and details of that one day.)

Oh! But on the planning front, create an email address specifically for wedding related communication. Use this email address for all contact with vendors and anyone involved in the planning process. There were too many times information would get lost among all of my school and work emails… I wish I would have heard this piece of advice earlier on! I hope future brides can put this one to use!

Now it’s your turn to ask for advice – is there anything you’d like to poll the SW readers on?
My biggest hope is that I am able to soak in each moment on the wedding day. Any suggestions on how to make the most of every moment and not get caught up in the schedule of the day or rushing through the moments? Thanks y’all!

Thank you so much for joining us today, Madi! It has truly been a pleasure. Readers, if you’d like to apply to be a Southern Bride of the Month, check out this post for all the details! If you’ve already emailed me, you’re still in the running for future months!

Melissa Schollaert is a fabulous member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

emily Written with love by Emily
14 Comments
  1. avatar Madelynne Moulton reply

    Take a deep breath in the morning. Get up early, eat a hearty breakfast and just focus all your energy on the positive – the love you have for your groom, all the people there to celebrate, the beautiful, personal details, the blessing of having a glorious God. If you do that, it will be okay if there’s little things you forgot. That’s what pictures are for!

  2. avatar Emily reply

    Eek! So excited to see Madi featured as the Southern Bride of the Month. I’ve been following her blog for awhile now and just love how much her excitement to marry Bret shines in each post. With the wedding right around the corner, congratulations are never too early. Congrats Madi and Bret! Hope your day is most magical!

  3. avatar Mary reply

    Madi is just the cutest ever! I used a lot of the same details in my spring wedding last march. I love that she used elements that fit any season! Yay for Texas weddings!

  4. avatar Kristin reply

    Congrats Madi!! I am so excited for y’all. Enjoy these last few weeks for the wedding. Remember to stop and take deep breaths during the wedding weekend. Take it ALL in and have so much fun!

  5. avatar Nicole reply

    Congrats Madi!! I love your sweet engagement photos, and we can’t wait to see more from your cozy winter wedding :) Also, I’m a little obsessed with the dress you wore in your engagement photos — way cute!

  6. avatar Lisa reply

    Her sweet proposal pictures brought a tear to my eye! What a beautiful couple with beautiful wedding plans!!

  7. avatar Luke Davis reply

    So great Madi! Very excited for you and this phase of life you’re in. And, love your style!

  8. avatar Shelby reply

    Absolutely love it! Cutest white winter details, and such a lovely engagement story! Can’t wait to pour over Madi’s blog! :)

  9. avatar Kelly reply

    Love you Madi! I’m so excited for your marriage most of all! And I looooove that inspiration board. This post makes me so happy!

  10. avatar Chelsey reply

    Congratulations Madi! My best advice to enjoying every second of your day (which you probably know from your wedding experience…) is: hire a great coordinator! Best wishes to you. Love your style!

  11. avatar December’s Southern Bride of the Month | From Madi to M.R.S. reply

    […] sure to see the full post here.  It was so fun answering the interview questions about our special day! What a fun way to […]

  12. avatar All Fur Love | Love Notes from Lover.ly reply

    […] on Southern Bride via […]

  13. avatar Navy Suits for Grooms reply

    […] 4- Rebekah Westover Photography/Express via Elizabeth Anne Designs; 5- Sean Curtin Photography via Southern Weddings; 6- via Pinterest (original source unknown); 7- M&J Photography/Dress 2 Kill via Style Me […]

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