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Southern Weddings

Author: Lisa

With all the excitement surrounding finding your dream wedding dress, it’s sometimes easy to forget that the dress is only one part of your wedding day look! In the same way little details and sweet touches add layers of beauty to your reception tables, carefully chosen accessories customize your look in a way that’s all your own. I couldn’t help but think back on my own wedding day while perusing Bel Aire Bridal’s new collection–I was a spring bride, and thought an elegant, but still romantic and sweet, bridal style would be a perfect fit for the season. All of those words rang true to me when I was thinking of ways to describe these new Bel Aire Bridal pieces, from the rose gold and pearl comb to the horsehair-edged veil. So, if you’re a spring bride too, you’ll definitely want to take a look!

Just like when hunting for your dress, the key to choosing the perfect accessories for your wedding is to keep the big picture in mind. Is your venue ultra-modern and chic or romantic and rustic? Are you planning a black-tie soirée or a garden brunch reception? Envisioning your celebration and how you hope to look and feel will make it much easier to decide between multiple options you love! Need a little extra help? Click through Bel Aire Bridal’s My Bridal Style pages for inspiration (and let us know in the comments what kind of bride you are! I was a “Classic Bride” :))

Of course, if you have your dress, that will certainly play a major role in your accessories decision, but here’s a secret: if you fall in love with a veil or earrings or another accessory early on, there’s no rule saying you have to wait to find your dress first! We’ve heard plenty of stories from brides who searched for a dress to match the veil they dreamed of wearing. In fact, I kind of love the idea of basing your wedding day look around an accessory (what kind of dress would you pair with this tiara or this comb?), especially because it’s something that’s so easy to pass down to future generations. “Heirloom potential” is an important consideration when choosing your accessories, and I can imagine any of the Bel Aire Bridal pieces becoming family treasures for decades to come!

Which of these pieces is your favorite? Did you have a favorite wedding day accessory? We’d love to hear!

Photography: Kurt Boomer Photography | Styling: Joy Proctor | Venue: Culver Hotel | Gowns: Musat Bridal | Shoes: Bella Belle | Hair and Makeup: Team Hair & Makeup

This post is brought to you by Bel Aire Bridal. Thank you so much for your support of the brands who make Southern Weddings possible!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
  1. avatar Bri A reply

    I’m a long (looong) ways off from a wedding, but I love the idea of finding a dress to match the veil! That sounds like it would be much less overwhelming than starting with a blank slate or without a vision. Thanks for the tip!

  2. avatar Kirsti reply

    I will be a “Classic Bride” as well, Lisa! I have always pictured my wedding day look to be timeless and classic and am about to start my search for a dress to match that!

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I’m a big believer that wedding inspiration can come from anywhere–your dress, a favorite painting, the college campus where you and your beau fell in love…the sky’s the limit! Rebecca and Chad found inspiration for their spring celebration in a very unlikely place, and then incorporated it into their wedding in the sweetest ways. Ready to hear what it was? The name of the town where they were married! The Inn at Willow Grove in Orange, Virginia was not only a lovely, elegant place for them to tie the knot, it also gave Rebecca and Chad the idea to include oranges and orange blossoms throughout their decor. My favorite detail has to be Rebecca’s dreamy bouquet by Southern Blooms (plus I bet it smelled heavenly!), but the adorable orange cake pops in vanilla cake with orange zest (yum!) are a very close second.

We’re so delighted Rachel May sent this celebration our way for our ninth issue!

We got married in the spring, our ideal season for a wedding. The date was May 21, 2016. The ceremony and reception were both at the Inn at Willow Grove in Orange, Virginia. We chose the Inn at Willow Grove because it allowed our bridal party and some family and friends to spend the entire weekend together. It was like a destination wedding without having to travel far. We rented all four rooms and all ten of the cottages for the weekend. Once we arrived at the property Friday afternoon, we never had to leave. The rehearsal, ceremony, and reception were all on the property. Our dog, Jack, was even allowed to stay on the property all weekend. From the moment we found the Inn, we knew it was the perfect venue for us. We can’t wait to go back and celebrate anniversaries there. It is a truly beautiful place.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. What was your favorite thing about it? Wedding dress shopping was a lot more fun than I was expecting. The first time I went was with a few of my bridesmaids and mom. It was so fun trying on all of the different dresses–there are so many styles! I was also surprised that I liked certain dresses on that I probably wouldn’t have picked at first. The dress I ended up getting was from Bella Rosa, which was closing, so I got it off the rack for a discounted price. The size from the store fit me almost perfectly, so there were not many alterations to be done. My favorite thing about my dress was the lace overlay. It was so beautiful and gave the dress a vintage feel. I also loved the scalloped detail on the neckline. The dress had a low back, and we added buttons down the back zipper. I loved the extra detail the buttons added.

The wedding ceremony took place outside in the garden of the Inn. Although it was still a little chilly, the rain had stopped and the weather turned out pretty perfectly. With all of our family and friends surrounding us, it became a very intimate spot that I am so thankful we were able to use. Our friend, Pastor Win Davis, performed the ceremony. The part that was most special to me was how personal Win made the ceremony to us. Everything about it was perfect.

Chad’s two sisters each did a reading, which was very special to us. Chad’s niece and nephew were flower girl and ring bearer, and my cousin’s son was an additional ring bearer. Our chocolate lab, Jack, also walked down the aisle in his own bow tie as the Dog of Honor. Having our pup in the ceremony meant a lot to us.

What was the design inspiration for your wedding? Why was this design special to you as a couple? We wanted an elegant, simple feel for the wedding. We chose soft colors (dusty blue and champagne) as our main colors. Since the Inn at Willow Grove already provided a beautiful, elegant outdoor venue, the rest of the design inspiration was just to add that romantic wedding touch. The Inn is located in Orange, so we incorporated the orange blossom into our design for a unique, fun detail.
Tell us about your wedding flowers. How did you choose them? What did you love about them? Our wedding flowers were done by the very talented ladies at Southern Blooms. I love, love, love the work these ladies do and knew I did not have to stress about the flowers at all. They asked me a few questions, showed me what ideas they had, and then I left the decision making up to them. One way I took away some stress from wedding planning was letting the people who do their craft for a living make the decisions. I trusted that they would make it beautiful, and they did. I loved how perfectly the flowers fit us and our wedding style. Southern Blooms exceeded my expectations.

Our wedding cake was designed by Keya from Candy Valley Cake Company in Richmond. Keya had also made the cake for my sister’s wedding eleven months earlier, and not only was it the best wedding cake I’ve had, it was so beautiful. We had four different flavors: vanilla with raspberries and lemon zest, mocha Oreo, chocolate chocolate, and vanilla vanilla. The cake was white and decorated with orange blossoms. Keya designed the oranges out of fondant, and Southern Blooms added the flowers. It was really beautiful and tasted delicious. Keya also made us orange blossom cake pops that were made with a vanilla cake with orange zest.

Best advice or most memorable comment someone made to you during the wedding celebration: Chad’s brother, Drew, gave really good advice to Chad during his speech that I think is great advice for both of us to remember throughout our marriage. Drew said, “The best thing that you can do is treat Rebecca like you did when you first met, and realize and remember that she is still that special person.”

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. We actually went to high school together, but did not start dating until a few years later. We both attended Virginia Tech and during our third year as Hokies, we started seeing a lot more of each other around campus. We starting spending more time together and slowly became more than just friends. We dated our last year and a half at Virginia Tech and then both moved back to Richmond after graduation. We are so thankful Blacksburg brought us together–it was meant to be!
Describe the proposal: In May 2015, we decided we wanted to take a vacation to someplace we had never been. Chad said he was going to plan the trip and did not tell me any details. I was surprised and excited when I learned we were going to San Francisco–the first time on the West Coast for both of us. We spent three amazing days in San Francisco, then Chad said he had another surprise–we were headed somewhere new. We drove to a beautiful resort, the Carneros Inn in Napa. When we arrived, our room was not quite ready (although now I think it probably was), so we were given a glass of wine and a map of the property to go explore until the room was ready. We were walking around taking in the beautiful views when we came to an apple orchard that faced the mountains. In the middle of the orchard was a table. Chad started walking us towards it and that was when I knew. On the table was champagne, chocolate-covered strawberries, and a card. Chad handed me the card and I opened it to find the words, “Will you marry me?” I turned towards Chad and he was down on one knee. It was perfect. Then, we spent three days in beautiful Napa and Sonoma celebrating with great wine, great food, and each other. I was so impressed that Chad planned and coordinated everything on his own. I never wanted that trip to end.
How did you prepare for marriage while planning your wedding? We were lucky to have guidance from our friend and pastor, Win Davis from Cambridge Baptist Church in Henrico, Virginia. Win suggested we read The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. The book is a great way to learn both about how you personally feel loved and how you can best communicate love to your spouse based on his or her love language. The book helps you realize that not everyone expresses or feels love in the same ways, and it provides simple examples of ways to better communicate love to one another. Our relationship and love for each other is so strong that I didn’t feel we needed to prepare too much. Marriage is lifelong, and we both already knew we were committed to putting in the work to make our marriage thrive. We really just took the time to enjoy our engagement and not let any stress from wedding planning take away from our relationship.
How many guests attended your wedding? Around 200
Tell us a bit about your first dance. Our first dance was one of the things I was most nervous about. Neither of us are big dancers, and I don’t like being in the spotlight when I dance. We took dance lessons, which I recommend to any couple, even if you are big dancers! Not only were the classes so fun, but it made us both feel more comfortable and able to enjoy the moment on our day. It turned out to be a fun moment for us.
Did you include any Southern traditions in your wedding? Since we were in Tennessee a month before the wedding, our family friends buried the bourbon for us. I think it is such a fun tradition, and it successfully kept the rain away for our ceremony!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? Right now, we are just enjoying being newlyweds in our new city of Nashville. We are looking forward to what our marriage has in store for us, and all of the adventures we will have together.
What advice would you give to someone currently planning his or her wedding? I would say try to enjoy every minute of your engagement, because it goes by really quickly. Being engaged should be about the two of you preparing to spend a life together and reflecting on how your relationship started and what you both want going forward. Planning a wedding shouldn’t be so stressful that you can’t enjoy your engagement at all. Also, pick vendors that you feel you can trust, and then let them do what they do best. Most vendors are in this business because they are passionate about what they do, and most of them have done many weddings before. I fell in love with all of my vendors, and did not have to stress about whether they would meet my expectations or not. I just couldn’t wait to see their work!

Photographer: Rachel May Photography | Videographer: White Flair Productions | Planner and Designer: Fête Weddings | Venue and Caterer: The Inn at Willow Grove | Florals: Southern Blooms | Wedding Cake: Candy Valley Cake Company | Bride’s Gown: “Jolene” by Mikaella | Bridal Salon and Veil: Bella Rosa | Bride’s Shoes: Antonio Melani | Bride’s Earrings: Nadri Jewelry | Bridesmaid Dresses: “Celestina” in Blue Harbor by BHLDN | Hair Stylist: Welsy Mourino of Elle Style Studio | Makeup Artist: LaCretia Baskfield of Elle Style Studio | Men’s Fashion: Style 790 in Slate Allure by Street Tuxedo | Invitations, Favors, and Day-Of Stationery: ‘ello Paper | Ceremony Sign and Handlettering: Type Delight | Linens: La Tavola Linen | Tent and Staging: Gibson Rental | Band: Dance Candy via Sam Hill Entertainment | Transportation: Ambassador Limousine | Lighting and Draping: Lighting Professors

Rachel May Photography is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
  1. avatar Rachel May reply

    Thank you so much for featuring Chad & Rebecca’s wedding in the magazine and now here on the blog! It’s always such an honor to see my work featured by you ladies!

  2. avatar Alex reply

    I LOVE to see pups included in the wedding/ceremony, and hearing about dog-friendly venues! Our dogs are SO special to my fiancé and I, they must be included in our ceremony and stay with us on our special day! (I ESPECIALLY love when the featured dogs in question are labradors!)

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It’s an incredible feat when a wedding feels magical enough to takes guests out of their normal lives, but makes them feel right at home at the same time, and I’m convinced that Mattie and Louis accomplished just that. They chose to be married on Mattie’s parents’ property, which is not only breathtakingly beautiful, but also deeply meaningful–it’s where Mattie’s parents and her brother were married, too. Mattie grew up admiring the garden parties her parents frequently hosted, so she and Louis decided to adopt the same elegant, but relaxed, feel for their wedding. With the help of Simply Chic Events and Beehive Events, they combined the garden’s natural aesthetic with plenty of nods to their families, the most stunning blooms, and a hearty helping of Southern hospitality to create a day that was uniquely theirs.

Many thanks to Kate Headley for sharing this gorgeous day with us in V9!

We got married on June 18, 2016 at 6 P.M. at Old Mill Cottage, my parents’ home in Crozier, Virginia. Because we knew our wedding would be outdoors, we targeted an early summer wedding date to try and avoid the risk of high heat that is common in Virginia in July and August. The ceremony and cocktails were held in different locations of the arboretum and gardens. The dinner reception was held under tents. I had always dreamed of being married in the gardens of the home where I grew up. It is a beautiful place, made even more special to me because my parents were married in a grove of trees on the property, and my older brother and his wife chose Old Mill Cottage for their wedding and reception as well. My parents love the outdoors and gardening and have spent years building a gorgeous, five-acre arboretum which provided perfect spots for the ceremony, cocktails, and reception.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. What was your favorite thing about it? My mom and I went shopping in New York one weekend and found my dress at Gabriella New York Bridal Salon. I had been eyeing Marchesa’s Azalea gown on Pinterest before we went shopping, and when I put it on, I knew it was the one. I thought it was the perfect garden wedding dress and loved the crystal and flower petal appliqués and airy tulle overlay.
Describe your bridesmaids’ dresses. How did you choose them? I wanted mix and match bridesmaids’ dresses, so I shared the color palette with my bridesmaids and asked them to pick out a couple dresses they liked in that palette. From there, I was able to coordinate their picks, and everyone got to wear something they liked!

Tell us a bit about the wedding ceremony. What part was most special to you? Did you include any special readings? We had a Christian-Jewish interfaith ceremony. Louis and I spent a lot of time putting the ceremony together to blend our traditions, cultures, and religions, which made it very unique and personal to us.
Who participated in your ceremony? Family members, friends? If so, what did they do? Louis’ sister, Rebecca, co-officiated the ceremony with the minister from my church growing up. The minister conducted the ceremony and exchange of vows, while Rebecca led the sections of the ceremony honoring Jewish wedding traditions. Our niece and nephew, who are also our godchildren, were the flower girl and ring bearer. They are so special to us and it was wonderful that we were able to include them in such a big way. They were adorable and really stole the show!

My parents are beekeepers, so we had a subtle bee and honey theme throughout the wedding: specialty honeybee cocktails, bee emblems on the invitations and paper goods, a honeycomb-inspired display for the escort cards, clover honey ice cream to go with the cake, and of course, a jar of Old Mill Cottage honey for the guests to take home!

What was the design inspiration for your wedding? Why was this design special to you as a couple? The season and the botanical setting of our home and property were the design inspiration, as well as the style of entertaining that I learned from my parents. My parents like to host outdoor dinner parties that are best described as casual, elegant, French-style dinners with colorful tables, lots of flowers and candles, and bottles of wine on the table. Our wedding planners expertly developed the beautiful details of our wedding and reception to complement the setting and style that were important to us.

We had the good fortune to work with a very creative floral designer who also lives “in the country” and appreciates the beauty of interesting botanicals, as well as the more traditional flowers. I wanted vintage-inspired bouquets and arrangements that used seasonal flowers and greenery in our color palette.

We had one kiddie table set up outside the tent for all the young kids we were having at the wedding. At each kid’s “place setting,” there were jars of colored pencils, mini etch-a-sketches, small wooden toys in wood berry baskets, and a kids Polaroid camera.

Tell us about your wedding cake or sweets. The base layers of the cake were completely covered in buttercream and then faded to a scraped naked style as you worked your way up the layers. The hand-piped buttercream on the base layers mimicked the embroidery on my grandmother’s family’s antique silk piano shawl, which was used on the altar table at the ceremony, and which also provided the inspiration for the design of our invitations. The cake was adorned with cascading fresh flowers. Our cake was layered with two different flavors: lemon zest cake with blackberry buttercream and lavender cake with honey buttercream. They were both served with clover honey ice cream.

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. We met in 2007 in New Orleans when we were both attending Tulane University. We knew of each other through mutual friends and eventually found ourselves hanging out in the same crowd. After a few nights out on the town here and there, we could tell there was a connection. We both refer to one specific late night that ended at the infamous dive bar near campus called Snake and Jake’s as the night that really sparked our relationship. And the rest is history!
Describe the proposal: Louis proposed to me at the gorgeous historic Driskill Hotel in Austin. We had just seen a comedy show and decided to get a drink at the Driskill Hotel bar. While we were enjoying a cocktail, Louis excused himself to go to “the bathroom.” A few minutes later, the concierge came up to me and said Louis would like for me to join him in the Governor’s Suite and handed me a key. I knew right then what was about to happen! I went up to the room and Louis was on one knee out on the porch overlooking downtown Austin. It was very romantic and a night I’ll never forget!
How many guests attended your wedding? About 225 guests
What were some of the highlights of the reception? My stepdad’s toast, the Hora (chair dance), all of the kids on the dance floor, and our amazing band that had everyone dancing!
Tell us about your grand exit. Louis and I stayed until the band stopped playing at midnight and hopped on the bus with the rest of our guests back to the hotel, where we continued the party.
Did you include any Southern traditions in your wedding? In the fall of 2015 after we got engaged, Louis and his parents traveled to Virginia to spend the weekend with my family at Old Mill Cottage. We had a ceremonial burial of a bottle of Virginia Gentlemen bourbon under a garden statue at the site of the ceremony to ensure good weather for our wedding day…and it worked! Also, Louis’ father and brother served as his best men.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? We just moved from Austin, Texas to Mobile, Alabama and we’re getting settled into our first home together! We’re looking forward to establishing ourselves in Mobile and eventually starting a family.
What advice would you give to someone currently planning his or her wedding? Make sure to enjoy every second of your wedding week! It goes by so quickly, and there’s no reason to stress over the little stuff at that point.

Photographer: Kate Headley | Videographer: Monachetti Weddings | Planner and Designer: Simply Chic Events | Venue: Old Mill Cottage and Arboretum | Florals and Rentals: Beehive Events | Caterer: Occasions Caterers | Wedding Cake: Sweet Fix | Bride’s Gown: “Azalea” by Marchesa | Bridal Salon: Gabriella New York Bridal Salon | Bride’s Shoes: Stuart Weitzman | Bride’s Earrings: BHLDN | Matron of Honor’s Dress: Style 651755 by Needle and Thread | Bridesmaids Dresses: Various styles and colors by Jenny Yoo and Adrianna Papell | Hair Stylists: Ashleigh Snider and Niki Crocker of JAK Salon | Makeup Artist: Stephanie Parker Makeup | Groomsmen Fashion: The Black Tux | Paper Goods: Brown Linen Design | Linens: La Tavola Linen | Dinner Tent Chandeliers: Amelia Wood Bead Chandeliers from Pottery Barn | Favors: Old Mill Cottage honey jars | Transportation: James River Transportation | Lighting, Tents, and Flooring: Skyline Tent Company

The Black Tux is a delightful Southern Weddings sponsor!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
  1. avatar Bri A reply

    Oh my, I tried to pick just one favorite detail but there were so many that I don’t know where to start! All of this is so amazing — the location, mixing the traditions, the bee details (I die!) — and of course the sweet dogs and this gorgeous couple. Love it! Thank you for sharing this gorgeous wedding!

  2. avatar Catherine reply

    Her dress is stunning and just perfect for the aesthetic of the whole day!

  3. avatar Kimberly reply

    Gorgeous wedding! Welcome to Mobile!

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