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Monthly Archives: May 2016

Whether you’ve been reading Southern Weddings for years, or you’re new around these parts, one thing we hope you know is that we’re big believers in the importance of date nights. We could talk about how essential quality time with your beau is until the cows come home, but the truth is, it’s just as hard for us to put into practice as I know it is for many of you! That’s why last year, at our annual team Christmas dinner, Lara gave us a fun challenge: a list of 12 date ideas that we are each supposed to go on in 2016, one per month. Now that we’re coming up to the halfway point in the year (!!), we thought we’d share a little update and invite y’all to join us for the second half of the year!

Clockwise from top left: Kristin, Kristin, Emily, Lisa

So far, a unanimous favorite thing about the challenge is how much choosing an item off of the list makes a date seem so much more “official.” Even something as easy as grabbing a pizza from your favorite takeout place really feels like a date night, simple because you’re calling it a date–and that alone is motivation to turn the TV off or tuck your phones away and focus on each other!

Clockwise from top: Jess, Emily, Emily, Lisa, Jess

We’d love for you to download our Year of Date Nights list (the same one we’re all using!) and join us! Can you guess what some of the dates above are? Brunch, dessert, a double date for barbecue, a fancy date (bow tie encouraged!), a picnic, and an al fresco dining date are a few we’ve checked off so far, but there are still lots more to go!

P.S. A word of encouragement to any single readers–you can join us too! We love the idea of using these ideas for friend dates, sister dates, mom dates, and more!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
2 Comments
  1. avatar Southern Newlywed: Our Date Night Challenge | Wedding Trends By Drawde reply

    […] post Southern Newlywed: Our Date Night Challenge appeared first on Southern […]

  2. avatar Marilisa Schachinger reply

    I love this! My husband and I are about to move from Athens (we’ve been here since undergrad for almost 9 years!) and are trying to be sure to visit each of our favorite date spots before moving :)

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I’ll be honest, when I learn that a couple meets at a philanthropic event for children, I’m going to have high hopes that their wedding is sweeter than sugar. Allison and Patrick did not disappoint! With the help of their planner, Molly McKinley, these two University of Florida alum (I see that chop, y’all!) planned a traditional wedding with plenty of heart. Allison and Patrick realized that this may be the only day where every person they love was in one room, so they wanted to take advantage of the chance to make each and every guest feel loved and important. They even took the time to write a personalized note to each of their guests, filled with words of love, gratitude, and memories, that was incorporated into their place settings. Such a kind gesture that I’m sure guests were touched by!

Big SW hugs to Morning Light by Michelle Landreau for sharing this lovely day with us!

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My something old was gold and pearl drop earrings that once belonging to my Italian great-grandmother, Nonni Catherine. Our something new was a set of beautiful coupe toasting glasses given as a gift to us from our wedding planner. We borrowed the cake cutter Patrick’s parents had used at their wedding. My something blue was a sorority tradition, a knotted turquoise ribbon, sewn into my dress.

There were many aspects of our wedding that we wanted to remain very traditional with, including not having a first look. We both wanted the traditional moment of seeing each other for the first time during our ceremony. It was even more special to us because all our friends and family were able to be a part of that moment too.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We used traditional vows, but our ceremony was very personalized because it was officiated by a college friend, Joe, who was in seminary school at the time. He also happens to be married to the mutual friend who first introduced Patrick and I. Joe added many personal touches (we made vows both to God and each other) and tailored the sermon to our favorite Bible verses (Romans 12). He also read Louis Evan’s wedding prayer–a personal favorite of mine–which includes beautiful advice for a Christian marriage, such as, “May they never take each other’s love for granted, but always experience that breathless wonder that exclaims: Out of all this world, you have chosen me!”

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: It was really important to us that every single one of our guests knew how much it meant to have them celebrating with us on our wedding day. We realized that our wedding day may be the only day in our lives where every person we love was in one room. We spent the weeks leading up to the wedding writing personalized notes to each of our guests containing words of love, gratitude, and memories. Those notes were then placed in hand-calligraphed envelopes and incorporated into each of the guests’ place settings.

Our wedding cake was composed of alternating tiers of almond cake with raspberry filling and cinnamon cake with cream cheese filling. It was covered in fresh flowers and rough buttercream frosting. We also had wedding favors of raspberry and coconut French macarons. While the only bite of cake we ate was during the cake cutting, we arrived home from our honeymoon to a freezer full of macarons and were eating them for months!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Patrick and I met through Dance Marathon at the University of Florida, a philanthropy benefiting Children’s Miracle Network.
When did y’all get married? August 15, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 125
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? In my opinion, part of being Southern is an emphasis on food, family, and the Lord. Each was highlighted in some way throughout our wedding day. I’d also have to say the way in which our wedding date was chosen adhered to some strict Southern norms. We only had August or December to choose from because we knew that holding a Saturday evening wedding during football season, would result in some pretty angry (and distracted) friends and family!
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? Instead of having a professional photo booth vendor, we provided polaroid cameras for the guests to take photographs with. Our family and friends had a lot of fun capturing moments throughout the cocktail hour and reception. The photos were either taped into our guest book or taken home by guests as sweet mementos.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? We loved every single vendor who was a part of our wedding, but hiring our wedding planner, Molly McKinley, was the best decision we made. I wrestled back and forth over whether I needed a professional planner for the year leading up to the wedding, but looking back, I literally could not be happier with our decision. I can’t imagine the planning process without Molly. She is an advisor, artist, and friend, all in one. Every other vendor who exceeded our expectations were by her suggestion. She spun my ideas into a reality that was even better than I had imagined.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Don’t get so wrapped up in planning the wedding that you forget to plan for the marriage. The wedding is one day. The marriage lasts all the rest. Surround yourself with people who can not only give you advice and guidance, but also some loving perspective when you need it.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We currently live in Atlanta, Georgia (with our cat Lilly) and are loving newlywed life. Every day is an adventure and we look forward to growing our love for each other for many years to come. We both look forward to all the little things that come with living with your best friend, such as trips to the farmer’s market, lazy Friday nights, and learning more about each other. Marriage is a wonderful gift and we’re thankful to be sharing it with each other.

Photographer: Morning Light by Michelle Landreau | Planner: Molly McKinley | Venue: Foxhall Sporting Club | Florist: Bloomin’ Bouquets | Cake Baker: Confection Perfection | Caterer: Home.Made | Rentals: Unlimited Party and Event Rentals, Event Rentals Unlimited, and Southern Vintage | DJ: Black Tie Events | Paper Products: Plain Jane Designs | Bride’s Gown: Style L318 by Legends by Romona Keveza | Bride’s Veil: The Sentimentalist | Hair and Makeup: Jennifer C Nieman | Bride’s Shoes: Jack Rogers | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Dessy in Topaz | Linens: I Do Linens | Calligraphy: Lydia Whitener

marissa Written with love by Marissa
4 Comments
  1. avatar Elizabeth reply

    Everything about this wedding is elegant, simple, with details in all the right places. Truly swoon-worthy, (& pin worthy!)

  2. avatar Elle reply

    So very soft and beautiful!

  3. avatar Casey reply

    I live in Georgia and I am looking for this exact dress, where did you find a retailer around this area that carried the designer?

    • avatar Marissa reply

      Hi Casey! Romona Keveza Legends (the designer of this gown) is available at two Georgia salons: Bridals by Lori and BlueBell Bridal. I hope you find your dress! xx, MAK

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Especially in this day and age, when it’s more common than not for bridal party members to live scattered across the country, it can be hard to know exactly what’s expected of you when a dear friend asks you to be in her bridal party. While the specifics of what is needed most may vary depending on the bride, this Bridal Party Tending List will help you love on your friend well and support her throughout her engagement. Being asked to stand by a friend as she says “I do” is always an honor, and if you follow these tips, we’re confident that this time will only make your friendship stronger!

Note: the starred points are additions especially for maids/matrons of honor!

After she asks you to be a bridesmaid:

Respond promptly. Whether she asks you in person or via snail mail, don’t leave her hanging! Do your best to assess your ability to be a bridesmaid (based on timing of the wedding, finances, etc.) as quickly as you can so that you can jump right in to the planning stage together. (Note: if you have to decline, be honest and kind about the reasoning. The bride may be willing or able to tweak some things in order to have you with her on that day!).

Sit down together for a chat. Whether in person or via Facetime, make the time to chat one on one and learn about her dreams for the day. Let it be a fun time for her to share her vision with you, and ask what you can do to help bring those ideas to life! Ask specific questions about how you can best serve her during her engagement and what would be most encouraging to her.

Laurie + Brian by Cassidy Carson

In the thick of planning:

Touch base with her regularly. Whether this means a weekly coffee date or simply a text every few once in awhile, make sure she knows you’re thinking of her often. Ask if there’s anything you can do for her, but also, just be a listening ear for her to share the decisions she’s making with, and be genuinely interested! If she sounds stressed, you can also offer to help give her a break from planning by having a girl’s night or outing together (or, if you live far away, a Redbox gift card is a thoughtful and affordable way to encourage her to kick back and relax with her beau!).

Lend a hand. If you live nearby, or will be in the bride’s town at any point during her engagement, offer to host a crafting night, help her assemble invitations, or lend a hand with whatever she might need. Even the most tedious of tasks can be fun when done with friends!

**Take the lead with organizing the bridal shower and bachelorette party. Chat with the bride, and possibly her mom, about any plans or preferences they have, especially regarding dates and locations. Then, take charge of planning the parties, communicating with guests, and sharing the bride’s registry details. Don’t forget to loop in the bridesmaids for help!

Help plan, and do your very best to attend, the bridal shower and bachelorette party. Your presence is the most important thing, but if you’re not able to attend one of the pre-wedding celebrations, you can still love on the bride by helping the other girls plan (you don’t have to be together in person to help search for the cutest decor ideas!) and sending a sweet note and gift to the bride for the party.

Be gracious and supportive about bridesmaid attire. Choosing bridesmaid dresses can be a really tough decision, and it should go without saying that this is her day, not yours. Share your thoughts gently if she asks, but above all, be willing to wear whatever she asks you to wear with a smile. Note: if you’re REALLY uncomfortable with the style or price point, talk to the bride one on one about any alternative options she may be open to.

Top: Sara + Austin by Love, The Nelsons, bottom: Nina + Nick by Tracy Enoch

On the wedding day:

Be on time. Few things are more frazzling than running behind, and the bride has undoubtedly put tons of thought into the schedule for the morning of the wedding. Show up on time, armed with your dress, shoes, accessories, undergarments, handbag, snacks, and anything else she may have asked you to bring along. Give yourself extra time to account for traffic if you’re driving!

Know the schedule. Print a copy or have it readily available on your phone to field any questions from vendors or wedding guests. All the bride should be worrying about is enjoying her day, so take responsibility for being aware of what’s going on so you can jump in confidently as needed.

Check in with her throughout the day. Make a point throughout the day to ask her how she’s doing, ask if she needs anything, tell her she looks incredible, and remind her that she’s marrying the love of her life today!!

Smile, toast, and dance! Participate fully in the day, from singing the hymns (no matter how bad your singing voice may be), to smiling joyfully during the portrait session, to being the first on the dance floor at the reception. While eyes will be on the happy couple, people will notice the way you’re acting too, so set a great example!

** Make a toast. When done well, the maid of honor and best man toasts can be some of the sweetest moments of the day. You can find all of our best tips for toasting here!

Drink responsibly. There are few things tackier than a bridesmaid who has had too much to drink, so enjoy yourself, but remember that all of the bride and groom’s loved ones are present (grandparents included!) and you should be respectful of the company.

Top: Mary Courtney + Kit by Graham Terhune, Jessica + Chuck by Jen Dillender, bottom: Stephanie + Glenn by Rachel May

After the wedding:

Send her a text to tell her how much fun you had at the wedding, and wish her a happy honeymoon!

Find more expert advice from the editors of Southern Weddings here!

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

    Really great advice for sure!

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