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Southern Weddings

Author: Emily

Not all weddings take place in the afternoon or evening, so we love that Blue Ribbon Vendor Ashton Events and photographer Justin DeMutiis took their lead from the colors (and beautiful fog) of an early Southern morning. The rest of their inspiration is really beautiful, too, thanks to a favorite verse from Song of Solomon. Read on for the full story behind the details this talented team pulled together!

From Laura, the planner and designer:

This shoot was designed around the Bible verse “Who is this, coming up out of the wilderness, leaning on her beloved?” I love the image of a groom finally getting to see his bride, coming up to him from the wilderness of singleness- and for him to recognize that she has been leaning on her Beloved to get her to this moment. This is a celebration of two people who are going to choose to do life together at the dawn of each and every morning. There are many memories that brought them to their wedding day, and they are eager to start their marriage as soon as the sun begins to rise. And then they get to share breakfast with their nearest and dearest, including a delicious pastry display!

Personally, I loved the how the encaustic table numbers turned out! They were such an artistic representation of the sunrise, and were a myriad of colors. My other favorite detail was the bride’s hair comb. It provided the inspiration of the print materials and had such gorgeous, garden-y flowers!

Planning, design, florals, backdrop: Ashton Events Planning + Design | Furniture, props, styling: Wish Vintage Rentals | Photography: Justin DeMutiis Photography | Videography: Enchanted Cinema | Venue: Rocking H Ranch | Paper goods: Eleven-Note | Breads: Born & Bread Bakehouse | Pews, china, glassware, flatware: A Chair Affair | Hair and makeup: Mary Galletta | Dress: White Magnolia Bridal | Linens and chairs: Kate Ryan Linens | Accessories: Bride La Bohome | Cake: JaimeCakes | Table Numbers and menu: Studio DH

Ashton Events and Rocking H Ranch are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

emily Written with love by Emily

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Hi belles! Our friend and former Southern Weddings intern Jessica Clinch is the newest gal to take you through her wedding process here on the blog! Jessica will be blogging for us once a month until her wedding next May. In case you missed her first post, be sure to check it out here! — Emily

I am one of those girls who watches every episode of Say Yes to the Dress (yes, I still do after having found my dress!). So, needless to say, I was eager to begin wedding dress shopping right off the bat! Having seen both the positive and negative things other brides often experience during their bridal appointments, I tried to be as organized as possible before stepping foot into my first bridal boutique.

The very first thing I did was head straight to Pinterest to make a board specifically for my bridal style. I searched the boards of some of my favorite wedding magazines and wedding planners, as well as the websites of some of my favorite designers. At first, I just looked for anything and everything that made my heart skip a beat! After gathering all of my favorite pins, I was able to look at everything as a whole to see what details and styles seemed most prominent. Those were the details I knew I loved, and should look for in my own dress! Here are some of my favorite dresses I pinned:

First row: photo by Coco Tran via Style Me Pretty and Bliss by Monique Lhuillier; second row: unknown and photo by Ozzy Garcia via Once Wed; third row: Inbal Dror and Katie Stoops via Style Me Pretty; fourth row: both BHLDN

Once I took a good look at the dresses I pinned, I noticed a few things. I love soft tulle and organza accents; the flowiness they create is so beautiful in pictures, and feels oh so romantic to me! I also have a crush on intricate beaded details that make dresses unique and feel one-of-a-kind. I was open to both sweetheart necklines and dresses that have dainty sleeve details, but not full sleeves. I was potentially open to colors aside from white and ivory. And, while I’ve always thought I wanted to avoid lace on my dress, it turns out I do love certain dresses that have sweet lace details (just not all over lace).

Most significantly, I didn’t seem to have one particular dress shape that I loved best! I was drawn to fit and flare, trumpet, and ball gown styles that weren’t too full. It wasn’t until I got to my first bridal appointment and tried on gowns that I was able to tell what would look best on my particular body type!

With my Pinterest board ready on my phone and my mom in town, it was time to start dress shopping!! Luckily, Nashville is full of the most beautiful bridal boutiques. I visited all of my favorites, including The Dress Theory, The Bride Room, Modern Trousseau, and B. Hughes. Each boutique had a unique style, and carried a different collection of designers.

Bridal salon detail photo by Amy Nicole

My Pinterest search helped me narrow down which designers best fit my personal style. The designers I gravitated most toward included Monique Lhuillier (specifically, her Bliss collection), Oscar De La Renta, Reem Acra, Sarah Seven, Hayley Paige, Lea-Ann Belter, Vera Wang, and Lazaro. While I adored many of the gowns from those designers, I also knew that some of their dresses would be far outside my budget. From watching so many episodes of Say Yes to the Dress, I knew it was important to tell the stylist at each boutique what my budget was, so that I wouldn’t try on a gown that was twice my budget and fall in love!!

It was so much fun to try on gowns with my mom! We went to three bridal boutiques while she was in town one weekend, and the fourth when she came back into town with my sister over Easter weekend. I found my dress at that fourth boutique (hint… it was B. Hughes!), and it was such a joy to have both of them there with me when I found MY dress! While it would have been fun to have friends and other family members around, I loved how intimate it was to just have that moment shared between the three of us. Plus, the stylist at the boutique was my former intern when we both worked with Amber Housley, so it was extra special that I already knew her and she could help me find the perfect gown!

As prepared as I tried to be during dress shopping, it all came down to a feeling. Everyone tells you that when you try on your dress, you just know that it is the one. And as cliché as that might sound, it is so true! When I put on my wedding gown and saw myself in the mirror for the first time, the biggest smile came on my face, I couldn’t stop twirling and touching the dress, and most importantly – I didn’t want to take it off!! I can’t give away too many details about my dress, but I can say that it is both a combination of many of the details I knew I loved from the beginning, and also something completely unique. Most importantly, it fits my personality to a T, and I cannot wait to wear it when I marry Zack!

Friends, I’d love to hear: how was your dress shopping experience? How many salons did you go to? Who came with you?

emily Written with love by Emily
  1. avatar Jen reply

    Aww love this! I went to four salons in Austin – Second Summer, Blush, Melange and Unbridaled. All were so great! I wouldn’t say I knew which dress it was off the bat, but after mulling over the options that night I decided and went back for it. :)


  2. avatar Amber Farrell reply

    Gorgeous dresses! I myself prefer A-siluhette gowns, looking like a princess attire with tiny lace back, tender light colors… However, tastes differ!

  3. avatar Alyssa Mock reply

    Her bracelet is stunning, where did she get it??

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At the same time as I emailed Blue Ribbon Vendor Anna Routh to ask if she’d take the photos for my Southern Newlywed home tour, I asked if she’d be willing to be featured in our series, too! I had never stepped foot in her home or even seen photos, but I just knew it would be colorful and interesting, and I was correct. I found myself nodding along with so many things in her interview, too. Can’t wait for you to read this one, friends – enjoy!

Big hugs to our friend and Blue Ribbon Vendor Graham Terhune for these photos!

The couple: Anna (30) and Amir (30)
Years married: 4
Where you live: Chapel Hill, NC
Tell us a little bit about yourselves. Anna is a wedding and portrait photographer based in Chapel Hill, but available worldwide! Amir is a Family Medicine Physician at UNC Hospitals. We’re both Southerners (Anna grew up in North Carolina, and Amir in Texas) and Tar Heels (go Heels!). We have a dog named June who is our daily obsession. We may love her too much!

Tell us your love story in one sentence. We met in college at UNC and instantly knew we needed to be together.
Tell us a little bit about where you live. We own our house in downtown Chapel Hill, very near UNC’s campus. Amir works at the hospital and keeps odd hours as a physician, so we felt proximity to the hospital was key. Lucky for us, close to the hospital means close to the university, which makes our home a very good investment. We live near a lot of students, which can be interesting at times (but is mostly just fun!), and we are hoping that our home will be a long-term investment. Eventually, we’ll add children to our family and will need a bigger space, but for now, we love our little 1920′s home and hope we will be able to enjoy it for years to come.

Tell us about the process of moving in together. Amir and I did things a little differently. After college, we moved to Texas, where Amir was going to be spending many years earning his medical degree. We moved in together almost immediately after college so that we could really be there for each other as we were both going through so many life changes–moving across the country, starting medical school, entering the work force, etc. It was a big change! It worked for us, but I certainly think it’s not for everyone. We learned a lot about each other–daily habits, funny quirks, and mostly, how the other functions and the things that we both needed in order to be successful partners. Regarding the merging of the things and styles… I will say it took us a long time to really figure out what our style was. I think it’s an ever-evolving process, too. We filled our home with lots of hand-me-downs at first and have slowly been replacing them with our own pieces over the years. There were some items that I was much happier to see go than Amir was! We just try to make decisions together about what goes in the home, and I’ve learned that compromise is definitely important when it comes to your shared spaces.

What is your favorite part of being married? Doing everything together–especially the mundane stuff. Merging your lives and just existing together is a really beautiful thing. One of our favorite things to do is run errands together–so silly, right? We save items that need to be done so we can run around town doing them together and crossing things off our list.
Which room in your home is your favorite, and why? Anna: The dining room, hands down. It never gets dirty because we rarely use it, so it’s always clean, which I love! Amir: The living room–it’s where we relax and unwind.
What most makes your house feel like home? We love to collect items from our travels or from our families and life experiences. I can look around our house and see several things that carry wonderful memories, and that’s a very special thing!

Who cooks dinner? Anna: Amir! He’s a wonderful chef, and it’s something he really loves to do. Amir: It’s a relaxing pastime for me, and Anna doesn’t mind at all sitting back and reaping the benefits of that! She likes to bake, so it’s a bit of a trade-off.
What is your go-to weeknight meal? Weekend meal? We subscribe to a weekly meal delivery service, Blue Apron. We get ingredients dropped off for three meals a week, so we generally cook those and then enjoy the leftovers throughout the week. It’s super convenient for us, as Amir’s hours are crazy, and I’ve found myself busier and busier during the week these days. The ingredients come ready to be chopped and prepared. The recipes are generally quite quick, and we love it because we find we have less waste from unused ingredients. On the weekends, we love to get out around town and enjoy the amazing restaurants that are just a few blocks from us in downtown Chapel Hill (another plus to the location of our home!). On Sundays, we eat Asian food… always. We found ourselves always craving it at the end of a long weekend, so we’ve made it a regular thing!
What’s your favorite place to find recipes? Before we subscribed to Blue Apron, we cooked from the cookbook Pretty Delicious almost exclusively. Candace Kumai’s recipes are DELICIOUS, and healthy… what?! Crazy! She even has a recipe for healthy chicken and waffles and mac and cheese. It’s bananas! Additionally, we love Persian food, and we miss Amir’s mom’s cooking sorely, so we try to make some of our favorite Persian dishes from time to time.

Where do you splurge and where do you save when decorating? Anna: I am a big bargain hunter. My happy place is spending hours in an antique mall, searching for that one amazing find. I’m all about finding things that you love and making them your own, whether that’s with a coat of paint, new hardware, etc. Having said that, I think some things that are worth splurging on are bedding, textiles and rugs, and solid wood furniture. We’re slowly adding special pieces to our home, but it’s still a work in progress! The next thing I’d love to invest in is custom drapes. One day! One of my favorite spots to shop is Furbish Studio (online and at their flagship store in Raleigh). They always have a unique collection of home decor–custom pieces, original art, and fun items to fill your spaces with. It’s my favorite!
What is your favorite memory from your wedding? Dancing! Amir and I love to dance. Our wedding was on a HOT day in June on the coast, and we were drenched with sweat by the end of the reception from all the dancing, but we didn’t care!

How do you remember your wedding in your home? We have several framed photos from our wedding in our home. Additionally, as the collector and scavenger, I salvaged a few items from our wedding that we still have in the house–they’re a beautiful daily reminder of that day!
Which items from your wedding registry do you use the most often? Our bedding! Again, this is something I felt the need to splurge on, so we were lucky to receive our beautiful linen bedding from Restoration Hardware as a gift. I could never sleep in anything else now!
How does your family handle finances? Picking a financial system that works best for us is something we’re constantly playing around with. Instead of a set budget, one major thing we do is ALWAYS discuss big purchases together before we make them–anything from a new pair of shoes to bigger things, like items for our home. It’s good to have an open line of communication regarding finances. We also had to learn the things that were important to each other in regards to how we spend our money. We both enjoy different things and had to understand why those things were important for the other to spend money on!

What’s your best tip for balancing your relationship and other life priorities? We have made it a point to spend a lot of time together doing things we love–for us, that’s running errands, eating out, traveling, etc. Our schedules are both busy and difficult to manage at times, so when we’re home, we really make a point to be 100% at home and devoted to spending time together. Amir will stay at work an extra thirty minutes to finish his notes on patients if that means he doesn’t have to bring it home with him and finish it here. Additionally, eating time is important for us, so we always step away from what we’re doing to sit together and eat. As someone who works from home, it’s often hard for me to step away from work when I feel like it’s always there and nagging me. Meal times are our time together, so no matter what, we do that with no distractions. I think finding the things you love and really taking the time to do that together is so important. This could be as simple as walking to get ice cream once a week–if that’s what matters to you, then do it!

What is one small way you love or serve your spouse? Anna: Amir hates to drive. I don’t know why, but he hates it. So, I always drive, no matter where we’re going, no questions asked! Amir: Anna is not a morning person, so I will always be the one up letting the dog out or anything else that needs to happen in the early hours. It’s better for all of us when she gets her beauty sleep!

Big hugs to Anna and Amir for sharing! Keep up with Anna on her blog and Instagram!

emily Written with love by Emily
  1. avatar Katie reply

    I love all your green plants, Anna! I especially love the outdoor cactus in the pink pot :)

  2. avatar Kelly reply

    You know what I love most about this post? Knowing that there’s another woman out there who drives her husband around!!! I need to adopt Anna’s good attitude about this, as I tend to complain that my husband hates driving and fuss that I’m doing the “guys’s role.”

  3. avatar Lindy reply

    I LOVE these features! Love the colorful and personal details in this home!!! So fun!

  4. avatar Emily reply

    Asian every Sunday is DEFINITELY a tradition John would love to adopt. And I love that you do errands together – that’s one of our favorite things, too! It still makes me feel like a grown-up :)

  5. avatar Molly reply

    Yay/fist pump for downtown Chapel Hill living! Love your home Anna!!!

  6. avatar Ashton Dreyer reply

    This is my favorite segment on the blog! I love seeing each homes different vibe. This one is sunny and cheerful. I love it.

  7. avatar Graham reply

    It was SO much fun photographing this wonderful family and thank you ladies for sharing their beautiful home!

  8. avatar Erin Phillips reply

    I’m so in love with this home tour! I can’t get that little lion pillow out of my head, too stinkin’ cute.

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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