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Southern Weddings

Author: Emily

Have you heard? It’s Engagement Celebration Week! Whether you’ve been engaged for two days or twelve months, we invite you to join the party and celebrate like you said yes yesterday. Upload a proposal or ring shot to our hashtag, enter to win giveaways all week on Instagram, or take 20% off our wedding planner with code JOYFULLYENGAGED. We can’t wait to cheer you on!!

The first item most brides look to book is the wedding venue — and with good reason! Your venue sets the tone for everything that is to come, it often helps determine your wedding date, and it can take up a large chunk of your wedding budget. Many brides or grooms also often have a sentimental attachment to the spot they choose to say “I do,” so (as with many wedding decisions) there’s an additional emotional factor to consider.

Since we know many of you are at the beginning of your engagement (how exciting!!), we wanted to share some of the most important things to consider when choosing a wedding venue! To do so, we invited three of the event planners at Keeneland, one of Kentucky’s premier venues, to offer their tips, and combined them with some of the best info from the Joyful Wedding Planner. We’ve sprinkled a few lovely photos from Keeneland’s various venues throughout, too!

Honey Heart Photography

1. The Particulars of Your Wedding. Know your (approximate) guest count, (desired) date and (approximate) budget before starting the search. It’s okay to not have them all set in stone, but you want to have at least a ballpark for each! If you have any must-haves (great view, garden setting, white walls, etc.), write these down, too. Use this information to make a list of possible venues, then narrow it down to your top picks before scheduling tours.

Honey Heart Photography

2. Your Love Story. Do you have a special tie to a location or city? Your wedding should be filled with your unique love story, and your venue is a great place to start! The Keeneland folks love hearing from brides who met their fiancé on property, grew up coming to the track, or were proposed to in between races.

Nina and Wes

3. Catering. There are several benefits of choosing a venue with an in-house catering company (especially if it’s a fabulous one, like Keeneland’s!). Having the food prepared by an in-house team means you don’t need to create a kitchen from the ground-up, you usually don’t have to worry about renting china and silverware, and you know your venue and catering team will work together seamlessly. Of course, if you have a specific caterer you’ve been dying to work with, or you have a particular vision in mind (like food trucks), you’ll want to look for a venue that allows outside vendors.

Lang Thomas

4. Coordination. At Southern Weddings, we believe that every couple should have at minimum a day-of coordinator, even if it’s just a trustworthy and organized family friend. Whether you’re planning to hire a full-service planner or not, make sure that you meet with and get along with the venue contact who will be on site during your celebration! Ask what level of involvement they’ll have with your planning, too.

VRV Photographie

5. Venue Specifics. The frustrating thing about the wedding venue search is that you’re usually comparing apples to oranges, because every venue builds their packages differently and charges accordingly. Make sure to gather as much information as possible! In addition to our basic questions, below, here are a few next-level Q’s:

— How long do we have the venue on the day of our wedding? Will we have access early to set-up?
— Does our rental include tables, chairs, china, a dance floor, a stage, or any other rentals?
— How will our venue coordinator assist us?
— Do you have enough parking to accommodate our guest count? Do you require valet, and is it additional?
— Restrooms: are they big enough and nice enough for your taste?
— What is the rain plan?

6. Photos. Does the venue itself photograph well? Are there pretty spots for portraits? If not, is the surrounding area accessible, and a good fit for your aesthetic?

Honey Heart Photography

Thanks to the ladies at Keeneland for chiming in today with their expert advice! And remember: as you sift through information from your top picks, make visits to each, and consider your options, don’t be afraid to ask questions, get proposals, and use the expertise of the on-site coordinator!

Sending wishes that you all find your perfect wedding venue match as quick as a Kentucky thoroughbred! :)

This post is brought to you by Keeneland, a gorgeous wedding venue and iconic race track in Kentucky. Thanks for your support of the brands who make Southern Weddings possible!

emily Written with love by Emily
1 Comment
  1. avatar Ryan reply

    LOVE seeing our photographer friends and several past clients on Southern Weddings! The planners and staff at Keeneland are second to none and it is such an honor that we get to produce wedding videos at this beautiful Lexington venue!

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If you’ve never heard of Montage Palmetto Bluff, BOY do I have a treat for you today!

When John and I first visited this magical Southern destination a few years ago, it really did feel like we were stepping into another world — one where the light dripping through the Spanish moss is always perfect; everyone you meet is friendly, helpful, and relaxed; and each building and street is more adorable than the last. Since our first visit, things in Bluffton have only gotten more beautiful and accommodating, thanks to a recent multi-million dollar expansion and renovation.

It is truly my pleasure to give you the scoop on this Southern gem today, so let’s go take a tour!

Nestled within a lush 20,000 acre coastal nature preserve between Hilton Head Island and Savannah, Montage Palmetto Bluff delights guests at every turn. The property includes:

— 200 guest accommodations, including private cottages, guest rooms, and suites
— six dining experiences
— three distinct pools
— a spa
— a vibrant village and marina
— and a Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf course

Combined with all of the other available recreational activities and the sheer pleasure of walking Montage Palmetto Bluff’s grounds, your guests will never run out of things to do during their stay!

Top two photos by Rach Loves Troy from this wedding, middle two photos by Perry Vaile from this wedding, and bottom photo of the Sommerset Chapel

Most famous of Montage Palmetto Bluff’s wedding offerings is the May River Chapel – you’ve likely seen it in past weddings we’ve featured, like Jennifer and Kerby’s and Leigh and Steve’s. I truly think it is the most picturesque chapel in the South! The Sommerset Chapel is a newer, equally beautiful addition to the property, and it has a slightly larger capacity (up to 185 guests).

Photos by Rach Loves Troy from this wedding

For your reception, venue options include beautiful lawns and green spaces, including the Village Green with the iconic ruins of the Wilson Mansion. These spots are perfect for tenting, and can graciously host up to 500 guests. I love the history behind these locations, which once hosted some of the most fabulous Southern parties of the early 1900s while the mansion was still standing – quite the legacy!

Photos by Perry Vaile from this wedding

There are two beautiful ballroom options for indoor affairs, as well. I love that even the indoor options incorporate Palmetto’s lovely surroundings, with large wraparound verandas and gorgeous windows.

Photos by Rach Loves Troy

Once you arrive, trust me, you and your guests are not going to want to leave, so thankfully there are wonderful rehearsal dinner options on property, too. From a romantic wine cellar to the fire-pit dotted May River Lawn to the open-air pavilion at Moreland Landing, perfect for an oyster roast and complete with a five-story tree house wrapped around a centuries-old live oak tree (!).

Montage Palmetto Bluff has you covered in the beauty department, too, with Spa Montage. There, you can indulge in a couples massage, take a dip in both hot tubs and cold plunge pools, and get your hair and makeup done for the celebration itself in their full-service salon.

Curious to see more of this Southern wedding wonderland? Take a peek at a few past Montage Palmetto Bluff weddings we’ve featured:
Jennifer and Kerby: married on the Village Green with a tented reception at the Village Green
Leigh and Steve: married at the May River Chapel with a reception at Moreland Landing
Janelle and Paul: married at the May River Chapel with a reception in the Oak Ballroom
Caroline and Wyatt: married at the May River Chapel with a reception under a tent on the Village Green and dancing in the Oak Ballroom

Of course, you can always head to the Montage Palmetto Bluff website for the full scoop,, including their wedding brochure and contact information. And P.S: Even if you’ve already planned your wedding at another location, there’s still hope! Montage Palmetto Bluff makes the PERFECT honeymoon destination :)

This post is brought to you by Montage Palmetto Bluff. Thank you for your support of the brands who make Southern Weddings possible!

emily Written with love by Emily

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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Here at Southern Weddings, you’ll find that we steer clear of talking about wedding trends – in fact, they’re kind of persona non grata around here, because we would MUCH rather you have a joyful, meaningful wedding than a trendy wedding! But, we also acknowledge that you want your wedding to reflect who you are, and to feel fresh and exciting — and sometimes that requires talking about what’s new and next! :)

The interesting thing is that at least from our perspective, the overarching “trend” we’re seeing is… a more classic wedding! (How’s that for an oxymoron?) So today, we thought we’d share ten “twists” for 2017 to help make your classic wedding feel fresh. Call them trends if you will, but we hope they’ll help you think differently about ways to make your wedding your own!

I’d LOVE to hear from you in the comments, so chime in below with what you think about our predictions!

Left photo by Davy Whitener from V9, right photo by Sawyer Baird from V9

The Classic: An all-lace wedding dress
The 2017 Way: A wedding dress with lace accents, or romantic detailing like tulle

Call us trendsetters (haha), but we think the cover of our newest issue is representative of what will be most popular in wedding dresses this year. From sleeve detailing to lace combined with illusion netting, we are loving all of the ways designers are updating this very traditional material! We also love the way brides have been embracing tulle, like Whitney’s from this recent wedding.

Left photo by Elizabeth Messina, right photo by KT Merry from V7

The Classic: A chignon
The 2017 Way: A high bun, slightly undone

This style is formal enough for a ballroom, but fun enough for dancing the night away. In other words, it feels put together and special without feeling too perfect!

Bridal party photo by Heather Hawkins from this wedding, inspiration board image from Martha Stewart Weddings, navy striped photo by Jose Villa

The Classic: A blush color scheme
The 2017 Way: Blush + something else!

You love blush. We love blush. Blush isn’t going anywhere, but if you’re looking to make it feel a bit more fresh and unique, why not try pairing it with other shades? Right now, we’re loving blush + tangerine orange and kelly green; blush + navy, orange, and bubblegum; and blush + lavender, violet, and periwinkle. Can you tell Nicole, our resident orange lover, helped me put these palettes together? :)

Left photo by Floret Flower, right photo by Samantha James

The Classic: An all rose bouquet
The 2017 Way: An all sweet pea bouquet

We considered suggesting a garden rose bouquet as a fresh twist on the classic, but though I ADORE garden roses (they’re one of my favorite flowers!), they’ve become quite popular in the last few years! If you’re looking for something sweet, classic, but a little bit different, I suggest an all sweet pea bouquet. It’s not as common to see these flowers used by themselves, but I think it’s such a beautiful, Southern look.

Left photo by The Black Tux, right photo by Jose Villa

The Classic: A tuxedo
The 2017 Way: A navy tuxedo

Favored by movie stars and fashion-forward grooms alike, the navy tuxedo is poised to have a moment! It has all the sharp style of the classic black and white and fits right in at formal affairs, while also feeling current. If you’d like to try out this look, we love the midnight blue tuxedo from our friends at The Black Tux!

Left photo by Love & Light Photographs, right photo by Sawyer Baird

The Classic: Matching bridesmaid dresses
The 2017 Way: Matching bridesmaid dresses — in a pattern

While the mix and match look isn’t going anywhere soon — in one recent survey I read, 70% of brides chose it for their weddings!! — a look we love for 2017 is outfitting all of your ‘maids in the same fabulously patterned pick. There are SO many ways to make this idea your own, including stripes, florals, color blocking, and, of course, the Southern favorite: Lilly! Many options are off the rack, too!

Left photo by Amy Arrington from V9, right photo by Eric Kelley from V9

The Classic: An all-white wedding cake
The 2017 Way: Focus on the presentation

If you love a classic, white, tiered cake, we say: go for it! And if you’re looking for a way to make it your own, we say: focus on the cake table. A beautiful linen, a pretty cake stand, something hanging from the ceiling above it, or interesting lighting can all make this traditional choice feel more “you,” without adding color or embellishment to the cake itself.

Photo by Kristyn Hogan from V9

The Classic: A ballroom wedding
The 2017 Way: Bring the outdoors in

The good news is that we’ve seen ballroom aesthetics take a huge jump forward in recent years, as venues update their color schemes and materials to reflect current taste. Regardless of how recently your ballroom has been redone, though, a great way to make it feel fresh is to bring the outdoors in. This could be as simple as using branches (like magnolia or dogwood) in your centerpieces, or something as showstopping as installing full-scale trees around the dance floor.

Left photo from Emma Katzka, right photo by Jen Dillender from this ranch wedding

The Classic: A cathedral veil
The 2017 Way: A (modern) crown

Hear us out! Though a crown might sound a little… extravagant, the new versions we’ve been seeing are delicate and lovely and decidedly un-princess-y. (We’re loving Emma Katzka’s designs in particular.) They would make gorgeous heirlooms to pass down to a daughter, and are simple enough to look at home in a field or in the aforementioned ballroom! And of course, we still adore a classic veil, and these crowns and hair pieces all pair easily with the veil of your choice.

Left photo from Martha Stewart Weddings, right from My Baking Addiction

The Classic: A chocolate groom’s cake
The 2017 Way: The chocolate dessert of your (his) choice

Brownies, nutella chocolate chip cookies, pot de creme, chess pie, grown-up “dirt” (!), or even something non-chocolate: whatever your groom loves best, that’s what we think you should serve in his honor! We love these creative alternatives to a traditional cake, and think your guests will, too.

Friends, I’d LOVE to hear: what do you think of these 2017 twists? Did you do any of the classics or the new versions at your wedding? Let me know in the comments!

Davy Whitener and Amy Arrington are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

emily Written with love by Emily
  1. avatar Theo Milo reply

    Love this!

  2. avatar Ashley Moody reply

    Love these Southern twists! I think they are spot on…cant wait to see them incorporated in our 2017 weddings this year!! xoxo

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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