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Monthly Archives: January 2016

Hi friends! While most of our readers are brides, we are incredibly thankful that many mothers of the bride and groom join us here on Southern Weddings as well. Our dear friend, Lysa TerKeurst, has three children who are getting married in 2016, and she graciously agreed to share her experience in a few guests posts for our Southern mama readers, as well as plenty of encouragement for brides! We hope y’all love them as much as we do! – Lisa

I never thought or dreamed in a million years that three of my kids would get married in the same year.

Our oldest daughter, Hope, will wed in February with an elegant, formal, uptown wedding complete with the unexpected twist of playing corn hole in our formal gowns.

Ashley, our middle daughter, will get married in the Alabama countryside with market lights, vintage furniture, a pizza and hamburger reception, and her favorite popsicles and donuts instead of a cake.

And our son, Jackson, will say “I do” this fall in a lovely garden ceremony in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Three kids. Three completely unique weddings. Three different states. All in one year. Hello 2016, you are amazing.

Ashley + David, photo by Cathrine Taylor

So, needless to say, we are knee deep in all things wedding over here at the TerKeurst home. Our sticky farm table that just yesterday was full of coloring books, Candyland game pieces, and Legos is now full of white invitations, pictures of possibility for every celebration detail, and a glue gun that might have burned off one of my fingerprints last night during a wedding craft situation.

But more than helping to plan the weddings, I want to prepare my kids for their marriages.

I’m especially wanting to prepare them for day one of their marriage. And I’m quickly learning that weddings are perfect for teaching young couples a crucial lesson:

The most happy couples are the ones who are most able to embrace imperfections.

Honestly, I’m still learning this lesson myself.

Jackson + Amanda, photo by W. June Photography

Whether you are the mother, the bride herself, or a hopeful soon-to-be-bride, can I take your hand and whisper a truth we all need?

No wedding is perfect.

The more we resist this reality, the less we’ll enjoy this most special day. But even more tragic for brides, the less you’ll enjoy your marriage.

There’s a little known secret about imperfections. What makes things most beautiful, most memorable, and most notable are the unexpected gifts wrapped in imperfections.

Hope + Michael, photo by Brian Schindler

Do you want to know one of my favorite memories of my entire wedding? It’s the only detail brought up time and again at family gatherings. My youngest sister, who was only two years old at the time of my wedding, belted out the Happy Birthday song during the lighting of the unity candle. It was obviously unplanned, but became a completely delightful gift of imperfection.

Of course, some wedding day imperfections aren’t nearly as cute and way more distracting than a two-year-old’s song. I get it. But I can’t change it. Not for my kids’ weddings and not for yours. The unexpected will happen.

But here’s the great news. Imperfections help others uncross their arms, relax, and giggle. People will love you even more when they see you display grace in a tough place.

So embrace the unexpected.

Smile at the crazy.

Laugh at the unplanned.

And relax.

If you bring the happy, your day will be beautiful.

Lysa TerKeurst is a New York Times bestselling author and president of Proverbs 31 Ministries. You can connect with her at www.LysaTerKeurst.com or follow along with more fun wedding details on Instagram.

Written with love by admin
7 Comments
  1. avatar Kelly reply

    oh i love this advice!

  2. avatar Mattye reply

    I love this and couldn’t agree more! When I look back at our wedding, I’m so thankful for all the things I planned that turned out beautifully; but what I treasure even more are the unexpected, unplanned moments that made our wedding not just an event, but truly ours.

  3. avatar Dawn Opie reply

    I so agree, Lysa! My husband and I didn’t “pre-light” our unity candles. They were up on this high pedestal, and we didn’t think of doing it. When the time came to light them, my husband and I stood there with our arms raised as high as we could. To make things even more exciting, my husband is legally blind, so I kind of whispered to him which direction to point the tip of the candle. Well, of course, one of them went out. Thus, I ended up placing that one back and we were both left grabbing on to the one candle, lifting it as high as possible, until it eventually lit after much maneuvering and many tears on my part. My husband and I returned to the front of the alter where our pastor prayed for us as I quietly sobbed. Thankfully, the song was long enough (“Flesh of my Flesh”) to last during this drama. However, I’ll never forget the teamwork we put in and the prayers our pastor prayed over us. I am eternally grateful for our “imperfect” wedding.

  4. avatar Rebecca Lewis reply

    One of the best, unplanned moments of our wedding happened right after our recessional walk. I hugged my new husband and turned around to see all four of our kids, my two daughters and his two sons, running to embrace us too. One of the most precious moments of the day and completely unplanned.

  5. avatar Samantha Livingston reply

    After reading this I thought, Wow I’m behind! Next: What an exciting time in the life of your family, Lysa! So beautifully put too.

  6. avatar Stephanie reply

    This totally happened in my wedding three years ago. The DJ was a friend of ours who didn’t come to the rehearsal and only showed up minutes before the wedding. I had to quickly run through what song to play for parents, processional, and recessional and wrote it down for him. And wouldn’t ya know it, he started playing the recessional song during the processional? My bridesmaid yelled out (it was an outdoor wedding and we weren’t too far away), “That’s the wrong song!!!!” Everyone laughed and relaxed and the atmosphere seemed to become enjoyable and relaxed instantly. It all turned out well and of course the DJ felt horrible and apologized to which I said, “Are you kidding? That was the best part! We all had a great laugh!” I think it definitely helps when a bride can just role with the punches and keep a smile on!

  7. avatar Fridays are for Favorites #26 reply

    […] of the best wedding advice I’ve read by Lysa […]

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Though Ashley and William might not be Southern by their home address, I am quite confident that these two should be honorary Southerners. Their destination wedding weekend at Lowndes Groves Plantation was focused on hospitality, and course, a great party–two mighty important aspects of being a Southerner! With the help of Intrigue Design & Events, Ashley and William welcomed their family and friends into Southern culture with grace and heart. I especially can’t get over the sweet sentiment of why they chose their first dance song, “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay” by Otis Redding: “The song symbolized all of the adventures we had experienced together, as well as those that were yet to come.” Amen, y’all!

Big hugs to Britt Croft for capturing their beautiful day!

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Since this was a destination wedding to not only our guests, but also for us, we wanted to ensure we had a home base for the week that wasn’t a hotel room. We rented a beautiful historic estate on the Battery that served not only as the home base for the week, but also a place for friends and family to gather with us. We stayed at the house along with six members of the bridal party and our beloved dog, Winston.

I walked down the aisle to “Trumpet Voluntary” and we walked back up the aisle to “Here Comes the Sun” by the Beatles. We chose this because it was upbeat, but had a classic undertone that sounded beautiful played by The Palmetto Strings.

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My borrowed item was from my grandmother on my mother’s side, who gifted me with pearl earrings that had been passed down from generation to generation to females in my family on their wedding day. I’m continuing to borrow them until my cousin gets married and I can pass them down to her. My borrowed and blue item was my best friend from high school’s garter, which had a blue ribbon on it. My old item was my vintage gold Rolex from my grandfather on my father’s side. My new item was from my grandmother on my mother’s side, who gave me a silver sixpence to place in my shoe for good luck (I’m surprised I still have it after all of the dancing!).

Will attended college in Charleston, but I had never been. After viewing a few venues in Connecticut and New York, we quickly realized that our perfect venue was in a city only a plane ride away. Charleston, known for its beautiful setting and Southern hospitality, quickly won our hearts. After viewing a few picturesque estates, Lowndes Grove Plantation was the clear favorite, thanks to its grand estate and waterfront location.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Hospitality and, of course, a great party! We also incorporated Southern touches into details throughout the wedding weekend. Groomsmen wore pastel bow ties from High Cotton (Winston had a matching one!), our wedding cocktail was a bourbon punch, and our custom bar was a bourbon tasting and cigar bar. We included a welcome note in everyone’s hotel rooms with a watercolor map of downtown Charleston and a nip of Firefly sweat tea vodka or bourbon. My gift to Will was a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle bourbon engraved with our initials and wedding date. In addition, the palmetto tree was incorporated into all of the details, from the invitation to the menus.

Our first dance was to “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay” by Otis Redding. This song has always been on the playlist for our road trips to the beach, on ski trips, and on other weekend getaways. For the wedding, the song symbolized all of the adventures we had experienced together, as well as those that were yet to come.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met through friends in Boston in 2008. We first informally met at a summer happy hour with a group of friends. Months later, also through friends, Will attended a BBQ I was hosting at my apartment (I attribute the relationship to my cooking and cocktail-making skills, and Will agrees!). Before leaving the BBQ, Will asked for my number, and he called the next day to ask me out to dinner. We started dating soon after and the rest is history!
Tell us all about the proposal! I’m never one to let anything get by me, so I was tough to surprise! Will purchased the ring months in advance and shipped it to my parents’ home in Connecticut for safe keeping. The proposal was carefully scheduled for the days prior to my mother’s surprise 60th birthday celebration, which I was planning and hosting. The timing was perfect, since we got to celebrate with both friends and family. Will curated the entire evening from start to finish. The proposal happened at our apartment, so our beloved dog, Winston, could be present. On Friday after work, I came home to find Will on one knee, asking for my hand in marriage. After tears of happiness, we headed to our favorite neighborhood restaurant, followed by a large meet-up with friends to celebrate the engagement. The next day, we headed to Connecticut to celebrate with family (and, of course, my mother’s birthday!).
When did y’all get married? October 12, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 95
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. Since I live in New York City, the possibilities for wedding dress shopping were endless. My mother, grandmother, aunt, and godmother came to the city for a day of shopping. Only two boutiques and five dresses later, I found my dream dress at Kleinfeld’s.
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We both agreed that a first look was best for us so that we could celebrate more with all of the family and friends who traveled from near and far to join us in Charleston.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? More than $100,000
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? At the end of the day, it will be the best day of your life. The only thing that truly matters is being with one another and the family and friends you get to celebrate with.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are currently looking to purchase a new home in 2016, and are apartment hunting in New York City.

Photographer: Britt Croft Photography | Planner: Intrigue Design & Events | Venue, Catering, and Cake: Lowndes Grove Plantation | Florist: Loluma | Rentals and Lighting: Distinctive Events | Band: Liquid Pleasure | Paper Products: The Silver Starfish | Bride’s Gown: Custom by Mark Zunino | Bride’s Veil: Peter Langner | Hair and Makeup: Paper Dolls | Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Annabelle” by Jenny Yoo | Groomsmen Attire: The Black Tux | Dinnerware: Polished! | Tent and Additional Rentals: Snyder Events | Farm Tables: EventHaus | Transportation: Charleston Style Limo | Ceremony Music: Palmetto Strings | Babysitting Services: Guardian Angels Sitting Service

marissa Written with love by Marissa
2 Comments
  1. avatar Aunt Annie reply

    Love this wedding and the beautiful photos. Such a gorgeous venue and the day looked gorgeous. Picked up some gorgeous detail in the bride’s gown,simply stunning. All captured by my amazing niece! Love it.

  2. avatar Auntie Bern reply

    Loved the article and pictures and going back to such a happy and special time. You and Will are a gorgeous couple with many happy years to follow.
    XOXOXO

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My two favorite wedding details are almost always the bride’s dress and her bouquet. In my experience, finding my dress and seeing my bouquet were the two moments when “being a bride” really hit me, and that only made these two details even more special to me in every wedding I see! From those details alone, I’m sure it’s easy to see why we fell head over heels in love with Emily and Jim’s black-tie farm wedding–her Oscar de la Renta gown is so striking, and that bouquet by Victoria Clausen Floral Events is one for the books! That’s not all that captured our hearts about their celebration though–we also loved seeing their joyful ceremony moments, the creative ways they showed hospitality to their guests, and the two incredibly meaningful places where they hosted their loved ones for their big day.

Thank you so much to Kate Headley for sharing this stunning day with us for V8!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. What was your favorite thing about it? I am obsessed with my wedding dress. I tried on many dresses, but could not stop thinking about this dress. I loved the texture of the flowers embroidered on the Chantilly lace, and the seed pearls helped to give it a sweetness and elegance that I had never seen before. The veil was gorgeous – it was embroidered with the same flowers and seed pearls. I did not want to take it off!
Describe your bridesmaids’ dresses. How did you choose them? When it came to the bridesmaids’ dresses, I was looking for something different…something that did not look like the typical bridesmaid dress. I spotted this Lela Rose dress and immediately knew it would be perfect. The embroidered flowers on the bodice echoed the embroidery on my dress, and complemented the garden feel of the wedding. We chose navy to contrast with the bright flowers, but also at the request of my maid of honor, my sister.

Tell us all the basics of your wedding! Why did you choose these things? Did any of these details hold special meaning for you as a couple? We were inspired by springtime on my farm – it is incredibly lush and verdant, with flowers blooming everywhere. I wanted our wedding to capture that “English garden” atmosphere. The service was at our church, St. John’s, at 4:30 p.m., and the reception followed at the farm. Due to the size of the church, we had a small ceremony, and then a much larger reception. St. John’s was where I was raised, and also where Jim proposed, so it was really special to share it with our closest family and friends. The farm could not have been more beautiful that day. Having the reception at my family home helped to make the black-tie party that much more warm and joyful. We essentially got the best of both worlds, as we had both an intimate ceremony and a huge party!

Jim and I loved that, due to the small size of the church, we could see every single face when we looked out over the audience. Even though it was a bit of a blur, you could feel the love and joy emanating from every corner of the church. I barely held it together when walking down the aisle, whereas Jim was calm and beaming. Our officiant could sense my nerves, so during the opening exhortation when Jim and I each took turns responding, “I will,” to her questions, she paused during the question. I jumped the gun and eagerly said, “I will!” before she had even finished asking the question, and Jim and the entire audience erupted into laughter. The gaff helped break the ice and my nerves disappeared. After the ceremony, she admitted that she planned the pause to help me relax, and it definitely worked!

What was the design inspiration for your wedding? Why was this design special to you as a couple? We were inspired by the natural beauty of my parents’ farm, which has rolling hills and beautiful flowers. I love flowers, so the idea was to create an “English garden” atmosphere that was teeming with blooms and greenery. We used brightly colored flowers and lush greenery, with textured linens and lanterns everywhere. Everything was glowing, from the illuminated trees to the incandescent clear tent. We were also always aware that we were inviting people to my family’s home, so every detail was designed to make the reception welcoming and intimate.

The reception was a glowing, joyful, and elegant party. It was black-tie, but warm and exuberant, as it was at my family home. The cocktail hour was in the front of the house, and then we invited everyone into the house to pass into the backyard for the reception. To continue the intimate feeling, guests were greeted at their seats by thank you notes from Jim and me. Even though it was a big wedding, it was very important to us that our guests knew that they were the most special part of our celebration.

The flowers were key to the entire event. I wanted them to be lush, abundant and bright. Each part of the wedding had the most incredible flowers, from the beautiful floral arch at the church, to the flower-covered arbor and escort card display, to the stunning azaleas, roses, hydrangeas and more planted throughout the grounds. Both the wedding flowers and the landscaping came together to create a verdant landscape that looked like something from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

Tell us about your wedding cake or sweets. The wedding cake and groom’s cake were absolutely delicious – I’m still dreaming of them. The wedding cake was made of layers of coconut and strawberry cake, and was covered in little flowers that matched my wedding dress. The groom’s cake was red velvet and was an architectural feat. In honor of UVA, the cake was designed to look like the famous Rotunda, complete with columns, porticos and a domed roof.

Our first dance was to “You Send Me” by Sam Cooke. It was one of the first songs Jim had played for me when we first began dating. In the months leading up to the wedding, Jim and I took dance lessons (but I think we canceled more than we attended). Needless to say, we improvised our first dance, rather than sticking to the fancy routine our instructor had attempted to teach us!

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. Jim and I met as students at the University of Virginia School of Law. Jim, a third-year at the time, was (and still is) very close to several of my good friends from Princeton. We were introduced during the first week of my first year and began dating shortly thereafter. During our first date, we discovered that my parents and Jim’s father were all members of the class of 1982 at the Law School. They had not kept in touch, but remembered each other very well. The following May was their 30th Reunion – needless to say, their classmates loved the idea that the children of members of the Class of ’82 were now dating.
Describe the proposal: During the fall of my third year, Jim’s family joined my family for Thanksgiving at my parents’ farm. I knew that Jim had asked my father for my hand, but I had no idea when he would propose. On Thanksgiving Day, after attending the traditional blessing of the hounds, Jim asked if I would go for a drive with him. We drove to my small, country church, where I had always dreamed of getting married. The church is a beautiful 19th century stone church, located right in the middle of horse country. We walked around the gardens until we arrived to the front of the church, where Jim got down on one knee. After I said “yes,” we sat for fifteen minutes in the gardens, taking in what had just happened. We then drove back to my parents’ house (and almost ran out of gas on our way!), and were met by our families and a champagne toast. It could not have been more perfect.
How did you prepare for marriage while planning your wedding? We met with our officiant, the Reverend Tracy A. Bruce, for marriage counseling sessions during the months preceding the wedding. Tracy is the Rector of St. John’s, our church, and she is absolutely wonderful. Although we were a little apprehensive before beginning, the sessions turned out to be one of my favorite parts of the wedding planning process.
Three adjectives that describe the day are: Elegant, radiant, and intimate
How many guests attended your wedding? We had about 120 at the ceremony and 325 at the reception.
Groom’s favorite detail of the wedding: Everyone involved with planning and putting on the wedding was incredible, which makes it hard to pick out one detail. If I have to choose, whenever I look back at the photographs from the weekend, my eyes stay a little longer on how incredible the church looked and how happy Emily looked during the ceremony.
What songs did you use for your ceremony? My mother led the charge on the music selection, and her suggestions were thoughtful and created the perfect atmosphere. We had an amazing trumpeter and organist, as well as a soloist who performed throughout the ceremony. The processional was Clarke’s “Trumpet Voluntary in D Major.” We sang one of my favorite hymns, “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee,” and then the soloist sang “The Wedding Song” by Peeters. After the blessing of the marriage, the soloist sang “A Nuptial Blessing” by Joncas as the benediction. We walked out to “Hornpipe” from Handel’s Water Music, followed by his “The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba.”
Tell us about your grand exit. For the last song of the night, the band invited us on stage to dance and sing “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” They then parted the crowd and sent us off into the night, where Jim and I stood and watched our friends dance during the last few bars of the song. We did not do a sparkler sendoff, instead opting to hold an after-party by our pool. We had blankets and Adirondack chairs, fire pits with s’mores ingredients and delicious snacks – mini pizzas, pigs-in-a-blanket, and grilled short rib and cheese sandwiches. It was the perfect way to end the night, and amazingly, no one ended up in the pool!
What advice would you give to someone currently planning his or her wedding? Find the best, most reliable vendors possible and RELAX. It will be amazing, no matter what happens.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? We’re settling into married life in Washington, D.C. and look forward to relaxing after the wedding. We are most excited for the puppy that will be joining us this spring!

Photographer: Kate Headley | Planner: Pineapple Productions | Designer and Florals: Victoria Clausen Floral Events | Ceremony Venue: St. John’s Church, Western Run Parish | Reception Venue: Private Residence | Caterer: Linwoods | Cake Baker: Sugarbakers | Bride’s Gown and Veil: Oscar de la Renta | Bridal Salon: Saks Fifth Avenue | Bride’s Shoes: Manolo Blahnik | Bridesmaid Dresses: Lela Rose | Hair Stylist: Judy Messina and Dana Smith of Public Image | Makeup Artist: Leah Margosis | Groomsmen Fashion: The Tuxedo House | Save the Dates: Mr. Boddington | Paper Goods: Pleasure of Your Company | Linens: Table Toppers | Tents: Loane Bros., Inc. | Transportation: American Limo | Lighting/Fireworks: Digital Lightning | Calligraphy: Arney Walker Calligraphy

lisa Written with love by Lisa
2 Comments
  1. avatar Occasions In Print reply

    Love how the cake matched her dress!!

  2. avatar Brook Paris reply

    That glass tent and gold iron chairs- WOW.

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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