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Let’s start this morning off with a soft and cozy inspiration shoot! What I love about barn weddings is the perfect juxtaposition of romantic details in rustic settings. Today’s barn inspiration from Amy Rae Photography provides so much for your eyes to feast upon with that killer Southern combo. Some of my favorite details include the duo of shabby chic chandeliers (one baby’s breath, one mason jar!), cozy lounge area and amazing altar. Kudos to Embellished Weddings for rounding up all the details! Read on for all the credits from this talented team below, and don’t miss the delicious-looking Southern eats from Abbey Road Catering!

Credits:

Lighting: Innovative Event Solutions // Catering: Abbey Rd. Catering // Paper: Paper and Thread and Love Byrd // Furniture: Mood Party Rentals // Trunk, pillows chargers: Pottery Barn // Flowers: The Flower Girls // Rentals: Mariannes Rentals // Cake Stand and Cake: Amy Cakes // Plates and Glasses: BC Clark // Milkglass Containers: Rebecca’s Silver Rose // Details and Decor: Thumbprint tree, large doily ball, banner, peaches, mason jars provided by Embellished Weddings, hanging doily balls from My Haley Girl // Barn: 4T Farms // Bride’s Dress, Veil, and Hairpiece: Bella Rose // Bridesmaids Dress and Jewelry: J. Crew // Hair: Jamy Green
Makeup: Jennifer McLaughlin // Groom’s Suit: Tuxedo Junction // Bow Tie: Forage // Clutch: ila handbags

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
14 Comments
  1. avatar [email protected] reply

    I love this wedding! It is sooo gorgeous and the lighting is incredible!! Definitely need to steal a few ideas from this for my own big day! :)

  2. avatar Desiree reply

    this photo shoot is just darling! i really love the 2 unique chairs flanking the head of the dinner table and that beautiful cake! very nicely done, everyone!

  3. avatar Amy reply

    Thanks for sharing this shoot! It was truly a labor of love! Now I hope I can photograph a wedding just like it!

  4. avatar Mallory reply

    Love this shoot! There are so many totally steal worthy ideas – like that chuppah?! Dying. Congrats Amy!

  5. avatar Lydia reply

    Everything is beautiful, but that cake?! It’s gorgeous! Love the elegant use of texture!

  6. avatar Wrap It Up Pretty LBB + a Giveaway! | Style Me Pretty reply

    […] a bunch of ombre wedding inspiration via Green Wedding Shoes a super cool African honeymoon locale via Project Wedding a beautiful bit of barn wedding inspiration via Southern Weddings […]

  7. avatar Erin Davenport reply

    Just gorgeous, I love every bit of it!! Wonderful job, Amy! :)

  8. avatar My Southern Wedding :: Marissa « Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] images Martha Stewart Weddings, cake by Amy Cakes and photo by Amy Rae (see more from this shoot here!), Kristin Vining and The Nichols. What would your flowers look like? Like Nicole, I love giant, […]

  9. avatar My Southern Wedding :: Marissa | Gift Registry News reply

    […] images Martha Stewart Weddings, cake by Amy Cakes and photo by Amy Rae (see more from this shoot here!), Kristin Vining and The […]

  10. avatar Southern Weddings Photo Shoot « Embellished Weddings reply

    […] photo shoot was published on Southern Weddings blog in August. They did an amazing job showing off some of the great southern elements that we […]

  11. avatar Heather reply

    I am IN LOVE with the dress for the Aug 2011 barn shoot…can I find out who it is? Thanks!

    • avatar Emily reply

      Hi Heather! I just heard from Amanda, the planner, and the wedding gown is Maggie Sottero’s “Karena Royale.” Hope that helps!

  12. avatar Wedding Reception Lounge Area Inspiration reply

    […] & Orange Cushions with Crystal Candelabras), Shimmering Pink & White. Second Row (L-R) Country Chic – Barn Lounge, Moroccan Lounge, All white Outdoor Lounge. Third Row (L-R) Colourful Lounge with Chinese Lanterns, […]

  13. avatar Wedding Lounge Area Inspiration – London Wedding Planner – Ishari De Silva Weddings reply

    […] & Orange Cushions with Crystal Candelabras), Shimmering Pink & White. Second Row (L-R) Country Chic – Barn Lounge, Moroccan Lounge, All white Outdoor Lounge. Third Row (L-R) Colourful Lounge with Chinese Lanterns, […]

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Y’all know I’m the first in line for a big bow or beautiful monogram, but I also understand they’re not everyone’s cup of tea. (Though, if you’re here at Southern Weddings reading, I’d say there’s a better than average chance they are!) In everything from your aesthetic choices to the words you say when you vow forever to each other, we want you to choose what’s right for you and what most helps to tell your unique story – not what looks good or what someone else is doing.

In that spirit, today we’re chatting about a few wedding ceremony traditions you might want to consider including in your big day. Traditions can make your ceremony even more meaningful by underscoring or illustrating the more important moments, but they’ll fall flat if they’re not rooted in what matters to you. Take a peek and see which ones speak to you – we can’t wait to see what you choose!

Bamber Photography

Military saber arch: For military brides and grooms, one of the most recognizable (and beloved!) wedding traditions is the saber arch—a ceremony exit that both celebrates the newlyweds, and acknowledges that serving our country is truly a family commitment.

Traditionally, the saber arch is performed by 6-8 uniformed service members (often guests or groomsmen/bridesmaids) immediately following the ceremony. On the command, the saber team raises their sabers into a high arch, which the newlyweds enter as they are announced by one of the members. As the bride and groom pass through, the two saber bearers in the front traditionally lower their sabers before the couple can proceed out of the arch.

This is when the saber bearer to the couple’s left gives the non-military member of the couple a gentle tap on the backside and a welcome to the applicable branch! After a kiss, the newlyweds are free to proceed and the saber team recovers on command and dissolves formation.

Unity candle: Typically the unity candle ceremony uses two taper candles with a large pillar candle in the center. At the beginning of the ceremony, a family representative from each side (usually the mothers of the bride and groom) light the two taper candles. Later during the ceremony, the bride and groom use the two light candles to jointly light the large center candle to symbolize the joining together of two families.

Anna Shackleford

Foot washing: Washing one another’s feet is a newer wedding tradition that stems from the biblical story of Jesus washing his disciples’ feet (John 13:1-17) as a gesture of service and humility. Christian couples especially may find deep symbolism in recreating this moment during their wedding ceremony, while promising to serve one another selflessly in marriage, but any couple committed to living out these qualities in their future may find it meaningful.

During the ceremony, the bride and groom simply take turns sitting down on a chair in front of a basin of water, while their significant other kneels in front of them, removes their shoe(s), and washes their feet with water. Another option: because a foot washing ceremony is so intimate, some couples choose to wash each other’s feet in a more private setting, perhaps during their first look, or after returning to their ceremony site post-recessional and after their guests have been dismissed.

Jumping the broom: This tradition has a history tied back to nineteenth-century slave communities in the South, but it has gained richness and deeper meaning for couples who choose to include it in their ceremonies today. The act of jumping can represent crossing the threshold into marriage, the beginning of making a home together, their dedication to working together through difficult and joyful tasks, and a sweeping away of the old and a welcoming of the new. The humble broom becomes quite beautiful when used in this way, and many are dressed up for the occasion!

A Bryan Photo

Carrying a white Bible: For families that have Bibles that have been passed down from generation to generation, carrying this heirloom down the aisle is a way for a bride to honor her heritage. Whether or not it’s an heirloom, Christians brides often carry a white Bible as an outward representation of their faith on this incredibly special day. Bibles and small white prayer books can be tucked into your bouquet or embellished with ribbons or flowers and carried solo. If you decide not to carry a Bible but are looking for another nod to your faith, we love the idea of wrapping your favorite verse into or around your bouquet or placing a family bible on the altar at your ceremony.

Ring warming: In a ring warming ceremony, the wedding bands are passed hand to hand through the congregation before being exchanged (tie them to a pillow or place them in a special bag to minimize the risk of dropping them!). Your officiant can ask each guest to hold the rings for a few moments, “warming” them with their prayers, blessings, and good wishes for your marriage. When they’re returned to you ready to wear, they’ll be symbolically fortified for your lifelong marriage to come!

We have heaps more ceremony planning advice and recommendations in our Joyful Wedding Planner. If you’re passionate about telling your unique love story through your wedding, this is the product for you!

Anna Shackleford and Bamber Photographer are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

kristin Written with love by Kristin
1 Comment
  1. avatar Wedding Pixie reply

    Love these ideas, hand fasting is another tradition I love!

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Bride Maiya shares her glamorous Hitching Post Hill wedding filled with dark, moody florals.

During our editorial shoot season, I search through hundreds of gorgeous gowns to find just the right ones to tell the sartorial stories in our print features. And I’ll admit, I occasionally play favorites. I may also play favorites with our real weddings gowns. I can’t help it!

So as the fashionista in the office, I am extra excited for y’all to meet Maiya! Her Calla Blanche is currently giving me all the heart eyes. I mean, the glamorous, beaded bodice; the classic, A-line satin skirt; and that dramatic, deep V back? Y’all. It’s the perfect fit for her dark, moody florals and the “formal but not stuffy,” dinner party vibe she and her beau Ryan worked with their vendors to create (think: “when men wore formal dinner jackets to meals at home,” says Maiya.) This Mad Men-loving gal can absolutely get on board with that!

Thanks for sharing, Robert Chicoine!

I developed the idea for patterns while hand-creating the invitation suite. It was a two-dimensional opportunity to select patterns, colors, textures, and metallic, similar to selecting finishes for a house but in paper form. Once I found an invite card, a discontinued wallpaper that I used to line the envelopes, a gold, black, and white floral paper, and fabric studs, I had all the same elements I’m used to working with on a much smaller scale. The diamond-shaped studs on the band holding the papers together once again pulled together patterns as a theme for our wedding. Using the thermography heater was one of the most fun projects, I used it to seal each invite closed with our gold foil crest, which I then also used to create custom name place cards for each guest that also contained the menu for the evening.

Being a designer and a creative type, any time a textile needed to be chosen I was in heaven. So for my bridesmaid dresses, I placed a lot of pressure on myself to come up with something unique. I’m still a little impressed by how well it worked out. Once I found the first dress that had a lattice pattern on it, I decided to see how I could incorporate that pattern within the moody dusty color palette I was working with. I love the pattern because it reminds me of spending time in formal English gardens; it was a nice nod to my heritage. My florist will tell you that the only color that was off the table was red. And any other colors were fair game so long as they had a patina and richness to them. All of the dresses were unique, but incorporated the diamond and floral lattice pattern. The colors all blended so well with each other and incorporated many of the details I love most in fashion: lace, brocade, silk chiffon, and beading. While I selected all of the dresses, they decided who wanted to wear what.

Being able to relax during cocktail hour and enjoying the company of our guests was important for us, so planning a first look was the smartest choice. Our close friend and photographer, Robert Chicoine, also encouraged us to do a first look because he knew how important capturing real emotion in the photographs would be. He was also working with film and wanted to capture as much natural light as possible. When we met with all our vendors, we emphasized the importance of the evening feeling as though we were hosting a large dinner party. My exact words were something obnoxious like “imagine when men wore formal dinner jackets to meals at home.” We both like formality but not stuffiness, and knowing our guests came from all over the world to celebrate with us, we didn’t want to miss a single minute of our party. By having a first look, we were able to take a few moments of time for ourselves to reflect and enjoy before the day became the happiest blur of our lives.

I ultimately found my dress while shopping in New York with one of my bridesmaids and my husband’s cousin. We spent the weekend in a cloud of white dresses, delicious food, and laughter. After pulling apart the boutiques and doing everything they tell you not to do (including trying on dresses without knowing how much they cost), my friend found the perfect dress with the most elegant beading and a full satin skirt. I tried it on at Wedding Atelier and immediately knew it was the one. When else in my life would I be able to wear something like that?

Isn’t there a saying about how the best things are in your own backyard? We searched all over the country for a wedding venue and ended up finding the perfect location less than a mile from our house. We knew we wanted a small intimate feeling for our wedding, but the elegance and grandness you find on old historic plantations and manors. Having too much or too little space can impact the entire feel of the event. Most of the beautiful spaces we toured either required serious décor changes or impossible-to-find rentals to realize our vision. When we first toured Hitching Post Hill, we immediately felt at home with enough feeling of wonder and curiosity because of the owner’s one-of-a-kind French art collections and old-world charm. Hitching Post Hill had all of the things we were looking for: historical significance, a beautiful huge front porch, and owner/proprietors with impeccable taste.

What were some of the most meaningful or special parts of your ceremony? Did you write your own vows? One of the most special parts of our ceremony was what was unplanned. Put simply, we got married in the most beautiful living room I have ever encountered. The living room was our “plan B” in case of rain but during our planning stages, it was more of a joke. It wasn’t going to rain on our wedding day! We were going to get married on the front lawn with the estate in the background! Well it rained, for both our rehearsal dinner and wedding day.

Our officiant took the opportunity to surprise us during the ceremony and go off-script, making us turn to face everyone standing with us during our short ceremony. We stood and reflected about how as one unit, our support system of family and friends (literally) stood with us as we took our vows and began our married life. We wrote our own vows, taking pieces of our beliefs that we plan to hold each other to throughout our life. We also decided rather than each repeating vows separately we would repeat the words together, starting our promise to each other in unison. Just as we plan to travel through life, as one!

What was your most memorable moment from your wedding day? The entire day was overwhelmingly beautiful. We will never forget the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to gather all of our family and friends in one place, share dinner under the stars, listen to live music, and dance the night away.

What was your favorite detail from your wedding? Seeing the transformation that our florist, Porter and Ives, made to our venue! She made the outdoor tent and carriage house into a candlelit outdoor garden room complete with bowls overflowing with fruit for our dinner feast under a 300+ year old champion tree. The vines she hung in our ceremony space were a work of art, and the heirloom roses she works with filled the house and tent with an unbelievable scent. Working with the owners of Hitching Post Hill was also an amazing experience. They are talented graphic designers and had so many unique objects that we wove into the outdoor area as well, such as fireplace mantels and original doors that we placed inside the tent to create a magical warm environment.

What was Southern about your wedding? An outdoor dinner party under a 300+ year old champion tree nestled next to a Greek revival house and taking portraits on the wrap-around porch is about as Southern as it gets. Our band and dance floor used to be a carriage house. We also used Southern touches such as old fashioned drinks from the bar, sweet potato pie as part of our dessert spread, lawn games, and had tons of green, white, and peach pumpkins from Ryan’s family farm.

Tell us your love story in one sentence. College sweethearts who fell in love in the rain.
Tell us all about the proposal! Ryan picked me up from work on a Friday evening to celebrate our five-year anniversary. Little did I know, he had been busy working with a local jeweler to design my engagement ring and incorporate stones from his grandmother into the setting. (Cue the tears.) He proposed on the roof of the Kennedy Center overlooking the monuments in DC. The part of the story he loves to tell is that I made him propose twice. It all happened so quickly and I was in such a state of amazement that I barely remembered him getting down on one knee and I wanted to cement it in my mind. So I asked him to get down on one knee again. Of course, the natural thing to ask of someone who just confessed their love to you is to make them do it again.
When did y’all get married? October 1st, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 70+
Tell us the highlights of finding your wedding dress. My friends and family know that I like to wear well-structured clothing with embellished details, so searching for a wedding gown online and in magazines was frustrating because nothing seemed right. I wanted the skirt from one, the beading from another, the fabric of another dress, and the back of a top in my closet. For years my mother has catered to my fashion whims and helped me create items that suit my petite frame. My mother has altered almost every dress I have ever worn. So when I started to look for a wedding dress, I knew no matter what, I was not going to put her through that for this. But she gave me the foundation and appreciation for what a quality dress should look and feel like.
What was your favorite thing about wedding planning? Taking my love of interior design and using those same visual cues and inspirations with event design was an incredible experience. I couldn’t believe how similar the planning was. I worked with familiar things but in a different way. For example, I subtly infused a diamond-shape pattern and large dark moody florals to many aspects of the design in order to give the feeling of a Dutch still life painting. As a theme, they found their way into my bridesmaid dresses and onto the invitations, china, and tablescape. It was something that few people probably noticed, but was a key component to unifying the look. That’s how I like to create unfussy unity in spaces.
What advice would you give to someone currently planning a wedding? Don’t get too caught up in the process and forget the reasons why you are getting married. We kept our future marriage and our love and respect for each other at the top of our priority list. Planning our wedding was a way to share our love with those most important to us. If you and your partner are not already a team, become one. This is not the time to not communicate as a unit. Always have a plan B, acknowledge that some things are outside of your control, and that you just have to let some things go. But stay on top of your planning early so that everything two days out (if not sooner) can be forgotten about. Re-read every contract you are sent with a magnifying glass and recognize that no one, not even your wedding planner, cares more about your wedding than you do. That is 100% normal and to be expected.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I borrowed my mom’s earrings, blue was covered by the sapphire ring I received from one of my mother’s closet friends at my bridal shower that my amazing bridesmaids planned for me. My something old was my great-grandmother’s diamond and sapphire art deco bracelet, and the new item, no surprise, was my dress. And since I was planning on dancing all night, I didn’t put a six pence in my shoe.

Photographer: Robert Chicoine | Venue: Hitching Post Hill | Florist: Porter & Ives | Wedding Cake: Buttercream Bake Shop | Caterer: Spilled Milk Catering | Rentals: Select Event Group | Band: Bachelor Boys Band | Paper Products: Handmade by the Bride | Bride’s Gown: Calla Blanche | Bride’s Veil: Veiled Beauty | Bride’s Jewelry: Charles Schwartz & Son | Bridal Salon: Wedding Atelier | Hair and Makeup: Natalie and Jeff of Style Me Bar | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Rent the Runway | Bouquet Ribbons: Silk & Willow | Groom’s Attire: Charles Tyrwhitt | Rehearsal Dinner Venue: Cipolla Rossa | Robes: Le Rose Gifts | Guest Accommodations, After Party, and Farewell Brunch: The Mayflower Hotel

marissa Written with love by Marissa
2 Comments
  1. avatar Mimi Winkelvoss reply

    It was a magical night and Maiya’s talent and effort took your breath away. She was truly the most beautiful bride I have ever seen!

  2. avatar Jackie reply

    What a beautiful wedding. I love the rich color palette.

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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