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Southern Weddings

Author: Emily

Hi belles! Our friend Stephanie Scholl is the newest gal to take you through her wedding process here on the blog! Stephanie will be blogging for us every two weeks or so until her wedding in April. In case you missed her first post, be sure to check it out here! — Emily

Goodness gracious, as of this week, we are a mere ten weeks away from our wedding day! As much as I feel like the time has absolutely flown by, Rob and I have also been intentional about savoring each moment, thoughtfully making decisions, and trying to stay present during a busy and exciting season of life. Now, all of our big tasks have been checked off, and it’s time to refocus on the small yet meaningful details, finalizing our ceremony, loving on our family and friends, and preparing well to become husband and wife!

One of the most exciting and wonderful days of our engagement was the day we took our engagement photos, which really and truly felt like a pinch-me moment. As silly as it sounds, that blissful, beautiful day was one of the best days of my life! Engagement pictures seem like such a rite of passage, a fun way to kick off the engagement season, and the perfect way to capture love and joy.

Rob and I are not used to being the ones in front of the camera, and I have to admit that I was a little nervous to be our photographers’ main subject (along with Rob, of course!). We selected Ally and Bobby as our wedding photographers for a myriad of reasons, including how comfortable we already were around them. I’ve now learned firsthand how important it is to really get to know your photographers and to get to work with them before your wedding day, and I cannot emphasize just how much FUN we had shooting our engagement pictures!

My engagement session advice to other brides-to-be is this: take advantage of your engagement session to get to know your photographers beforehand, get comfortable in front of the camera, and enjoy getting to snuggle and smooch your fiancé!

One of the other big decisions to make when planning your engagement session is deciding on your outfits! I was debating ordering or renting a long, flowy gown or statement gown for our engagement session, but the more I looked at dresses, the more I realized that this was just not me. Just because others have worn epic gowns does not mean that I need to!

One of the biggest takeaways I learned while planning out our engagement session was that I wanted these images and our day to be completely us. I didn’t want to worry about what others would want us to do or wear, or try to be something we are not! Once I stepped back and realized this, decisions were so much easier. I wanted to choose outfits that, when looking at our images in one year, ten years, and fifty years, we would look back on and still love.

Overall, I wanted to wear classic, timeless clothing in the colors Rob and I tend to gravitate towards the most: white, shades of blue, neutrals, and blush. We love High Cotton Ties, and this navy tie was a great addition to Rob’s dressier look. I’m so happy with how our look came together, but even more importantly, I love seeing how we smile at each other and how our love for one another shines through!

Another aspect of engagement session planning we had to tackle: where to have our session. If you’re puzzling out this question yourself, think about the places that are most meaningful to you and that make sense for the look you’re going for! We chose to have our engagement session on stunning Bald Head Island off the coast of North Carolina, and I cannot imagine a more gorgeous or perfect setting for our engagement pictures – it is like out of a fairytale! It’s only a few hours (and a quick ferry ride) from Raleigh, so Ally, Bobby, Rob, and I made a fun day trip of it. This island holds even more meaning for us now, and we are so grateful that we were blessed with a 70 degree, sunny, beautiful day in November!

I knew that we didn’t want any fancy, elaborate props and wanted to simply focus on images of just us. However, we made one exception, and it’s one of my favorite parts of our engagement session! We had our dear friend Alexa of Sage Paper Co. hand letter this truly stunning verse sign for us. In addition to being a part of our engagement photos, it will be displayed at our wedding, and we’ll have it hanging in our home forever. For us, it’s such a sweet reminder of what’s ultimately the most important part of our wedding and our marriage.

If you have engagement photos lined up, how are you incorporating personal touches to make your session unique to your love story? And if you have already had an engagement session, what is your favorite memory or best advice from the day? I would love to hear!

P.S. In case you missed a post:
The proposal
Venue and photography
The dress
Bridesmaid style

emily Written with love by Emily
2 Comments
  1. avatar julie reply

    Amazing Blog…Thanks for sharing lovely blog..

  2. avatar julie reply

    Amazing Blog…Thanks for sharing lovely Blog….

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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!

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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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
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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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