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Southern Weddings

Author: Lisa

I am a big believer in the idea that when it comes to the person you’re meant to be with, when you know, you know. Today’s beautiful bride and groom, Erica and Danny, are the perfect example of this. They met when they were kids, but they didn’t start their relationship till years later. When they finally got together, they both knew right away that they had found “the one” and committed wholeheartedly. I love how Erica described their first year together when she said, “We confidently jumped in head first and never once considered putting floaties on.” That takes courage, y’all, and as you can see here in their overflowing-with-love wedding pictures, it was completely worth it.

Thank you so much to Megan Thiele for sharing Erica and Danny’s wedding with us!

I put off wedding dress shopping for a year. I didn’t feel great about my body after being pregnant, but I was worried that if I waited any longer, I wouldn’t be able to get the dress of my dreams in time for the big day. To my surprise, I loved almost every dress I tried on. I planned to buy one of the dresses from the first boutique I went to, but my mom convinced me to try one more place. At the Wedding Gallery in historic downtown St. Charles, I tried on three dresses and again, loved them all. The dresses were now starting to run together, so my mom suggested trying something different than the lace mermaid gowns I had been trying on, and I agreed. The wedding dress specialist asked me what I envisioned I would look like on my wedding day. I laughed and said, “A princess, of course!” I told her I loved beaded dresses but was afraid that with a rustic venue and wedding, I would look out of place. She said, “I think I have something” and brought out a beautiful Martina Liana beaded and lace dress. I thought the lace gave it the vintage, rustic look I was going for, but the beads gave it a glamorous look too. I had my mom wait outside the room until I had the belt and veil on too. When she walked in, she didn’t say a word. My mom is not a crier, so I knew I wasn’t going to get any tears out of her, but I thought she’d at least have something to say about it, so I asked “Well, aren’t you going to say something?” She replied, “You look like a princess.” Needless to say, that was the dress I wore on my wedding day.

Mismatched navy dresses, cowboy boots, and some seriously gorgeous bouquets? This bridal party has style in spades!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Danny and I have known one another since we were kids, but the stars just never quite aligned — that is, until New Year’s Eve 2010. I truly believe we were always meant to end up together, just not until then. I believe it takes heartache and mistakes to learn what you want in a relationship and who you want to be in a relationship. I also think it takes knowing what “wrong” feels like in order to know what “right” feels like. With that being said, when Danny and I had started dating, we both knew right away, this was right. This was it. We confidently jumped in head first and never once considered putting floaties on. Within the first year of our relationship, we moved in together, bought and built our first home, got engaged, and brought a beautiful baby boy into this world.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? There were two moments in particular that will most definitely stick with me forever. First was when Danny started to cry while reading his vows. In the many years I’ve known Danny and the three years we’ve been together, I have never seen him cry. I think everyone was shocked and it caused quite the chain reaction. The second one was when my dad said in his speech, which will make me cry writing this, “I love my daughter with all my heart and I know Danny does too, but nobody could possibly love her as much as that little blonde-haired, blue-eyed grandson of mine does.” Everyone knows how much I adore my little boy and Connor is most definitely a mama’s boy, but hearing my dad say that really tugged at my heart strings. I felt that my father was really proud of the person and mother I had become and that I was doing a good job as Connor’s mom.

If I had to choose one detail that was my most favorite, it would be the table design. I wouldn’t say it was one detail, but every part of it was so well thought out and detailed. We had navy linens on the guest tables, and on the head table, we used hemstitched tablecloths over navy linens. Each person had a chevron, polka dot, or stripe placemat with a rattan charger on top and a light blue linen napkin. Each place setting had a vintage mismatched flowered china plate, just like my grandma’s! The silverware was wrapped in twine and had a yellow billy ball and blue thistle tucked into it. My centerpieces were flowers in wood boxes or mason jars on top of wood slabs or wood pillars, and there were metallic candle holders all around them. Our guest sat in white chiavari chairs, and Danny and I each had an oversized wood chair with signs that said “Better” and “Together.”

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Susie G’s Bakery made us three simple but delicious wedding cakes. They were white cake with raspberry filling, covered with buttercream icing. Our dessert bar was much more elaborate. We had assorted cakes in mini mason jars and yummy chewies that were inspired by Danny’s love for turtles, provided by Susie G’s Bakery. We also had a variety of freshly baked cookies from Grandma’s Cookies, s’mores cupcakes from Sarah’s Cake Shop, and assorted fruit pies from Sugaree Bakery. At the end of the night, my wedding planner said she had never seen a dessert bar picked over as much as ours was. Both my family and Danny’s have a sweet tooth!

Tell us all about the proposal! Danny asked me to marry him on October 14, 2011. I was eight months pregnant and we had just built and moved in to our new home. I was a bit overwhelmed with everything, so although I knew a ring would eventually come, I definitely did not think it would come then. Danny and I were both born on the 13th and Connor was not only due on the 13th, but on my birthday. I had dropped a few hints that the 13th is a great day and it would be fun if all the important things in our lives happened on the 13th, hint hint. So, on October 13, Danny spent half the day trying to carve a pumpkin that said “will you marry me,” but since he couldn’t finish before I got home from work, he decided to throw the 13th idea out the window. On October 14, I came home from work to see the carved pumpkin surrounded by flowers and candy corn (great gesture for a pregnant woman). Like a gentleman, he got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife. He said he didn’t just love me during our good times, but that he loved me all the time, even in the worst of times, and that he never wanted to see me sad or stressed. He said his goal in life was to always take care of our family, and promised that if I would be his wife, he would never stop working to make sure our family had everything they need.
When did y’all get married? June 8, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 180
Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? Yes, we did. Our ceremony didn’t start until 5 p.m. and I just didn’t think it made sense to be apart from my best friend for most of the day on one of the most important days of our lives.
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? Yes, Danny’s vows were amazing from top to bottom, but my favorite part was when he said, “I am a major believer that everything that happens in life happens for a reason, and for some reason, the man upstairs has blessed me with a beautiful angel and the sweetest baby boy a father could ever ask for.” Danny’s favorite part of my vows was, “You and Connor are what make my heart beat and one lifetime with you could never be enough”
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Our good friends, Jamie and Andy Pusateri, each wrote an original reading for our wedding. We honestly couldn’t have asked two better people. Jamie wrote and read “Love Through the Eyes of Little Ones,” which was beautiful and extremely appropriate, as she knows exactly the love we have for our child. Andy wrote and read “Love Defined.” He memorized it completely and it was honestly the best reading we have ever heard at any wedding. We told him he really needs to consider having it published!
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. I walked down the aisle to the keyboardist and violinist playing David Grey’s “This Year’s Love.” The first time we heard it, it gave me chills. Danny and I had our first dance to Ingrid Michaelson’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love.” This song is the anthem to our relationship. I even based my vows around the quote “Only fools rush in where angels fear to tread” and ended them saying “but I just couldn’t help falling in love with you.” My dad and I danced to “My Girl,” by The Temptations. My favorite movie growing up was My Girl and I always told my friends that that would be the song I would dance with my dad to on my wedding day. It was a really hard song to slow dance to, but my dad and I took a dance lesson and practiced every morning in my living room until my wedding. Connor and I heard it on the radio the other day and he immediately started humming and dancing—he knew it was baba (what Connor calls my dad) and mama’s song!
Describe your wedding flowers. Tina Barrera did an unbelievable job on our flowers. I knew I wanted them to have a lot of pink and I wanted a rustic look, but without too much greenery or too many berries. The bridal bouquet consisted of coral peonies, white astilbe, hot pink ranunculus, ivory peonies, magenta stock, blue thistle, yellow billy balls and silver brunei berries hand-tied with lace. The bridesmaids’ flowers were the same as the bridal bouquet, except they had less white throughout and were wrapped in burlap instead of lace. All of the men in the wedding wore coral spray roses, hot pink ranunculus, billy ball and thistle boutonnieres. At our ceremony, we hung mason jars down the aisle filled with hot pink stock, coral roses, blue thistle, silver brunei, pink garden roses, yellow billy balls and white hydrangeas, which were also placed on wooden pillars of various heights on the head table. Throughout the reception venue, we used wood box centerpieces, mason jars on wood slabs, tin cans, and birch vases, filled with the same flowers that were spread throughout the venue. Upstairs, where we held cocktail hour, we had small clusters of all-white hydrangeas, stock and roses in small mason jars.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Everything! I may be from the city but I am a country girl at heart, and Danny is most definitely a country boy! For attire, Danny and the groomsmen all wore bow ties and vests and had matching navy and light blue striped socks. The bridesmaids and I wore cowboy boots. The ceremony was at a winery and took place outdoors near a pond, and the reception was in a big red barn. At the ceremony, they handed out signature wine slushies with monogramed straws. We had a lemonade and tea station, hay barrels with quilts around the dance floor, and a bonfire. We had an H monogrammed on the dance floor in chalk. Our ring bearers and flower girl came out in an old western wagon with tin cans attached and rustic signs that said “Here Comes the Bride” and “My Mommy and Daddy are Getting Married.” At our dessert station, we had tons of wicker monogrammed E+D and H signs, as well as burlap and quilt banners with cute sayings on them. Also, we were in the country, so the scenery was high grass, grape vines and corn fields. On the way there, you passed sheep and cows and other farm animals. And of course, we had mason jars galore, tin cans, wood slabs, birch vases and old wood boxes all over the venue.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My something blues were my necklace and earrings. I wore Danny’s birthstone, aquamarine. My something old was my grandmother’s ring. It was passed down to her from her Grandmother and she passed it down to me! My something new was an earring of mine and Connor’s birthstone, from one of my maids of honor. I borrowed one of my mom’s rings, that included Danny’s birthstone, which I wrapped with twine around my bouquet.
What is the one details or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Katie Fogerty, owner of Kate & Co would be first. My wedding wouldn’t have been what it was without Katie. I am a complete perfectionist, and get anxiety about the smallest things not being perfect. Anything Katie and her crew were responsible for was perfect, and I couldn’t be more thankful. I also have to say my seamstress, Connie Simpson, owner of R & M Design. When I bought my wedding dress, I was still trying to get baby weight off and was also still nursing my son. By the time the dress arrived, I had lost all the baby weight, and then some. It didn’t even look like the same dress. Connie took it in six times and miraculously made me have some curves again (in the places I wanted them)! When I had my final fitting, I fell in love with the dress all over again. Also, my wedding photographer—she didn’t miss a detail and I can keep reliving the day over and over. Plus, she saved the day and drove the hubby and me to our ceremony when our trolley broke down!
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Raising a baby while planning a wedding. I felt guilty focusing on the wedding and not giving Connor my 100 percent undivided attention. I didn’t think it was fair to him, so I did the timely stuff after he fell asleep or super early in the morning before he woke up. Anything that needed to be done during business hours, I did at nap time. I can’t even tell you how many of my vendors probably got emails from me at midnight.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $50,000
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? To do a same-day edit film, especially if you are doing pictures before the ceremony. It was extremely important to me that since we weren’t going to see each other for the first time when I walked down the aisle that everyone would be able to see our first look at the reception. It was the most beautiful short film I’ve ever seen and I’m not exaggerating when I say there was not a dry eye in the entire place. The staff was even tearing up! It started the night off just right, and those five minutes were worth every penny!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? Expanding our little family. Connor is such a miracle and I hope God blesses us with more little miracles.

lisa Written with love by Lisa
8 Comments
  1. avatar Lauren reply

    What a beautiful story! I love the beading on her dress and the contrast with the ivory of the gown.

  2. avatar Dana reply

    what an adorable, happy family. i love what her dad said at the wedding!

  3. avatar Charissa reply

    What a darling wedding, love the brides white cowboy boots!

  4. avatar Joel reply

    Beautiful!

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  8. avatar Ashley reply

    Who is the designer of these bridesmaids dresses!?! I LOVE Them!!!
    Thanks!
    XOXO

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As y’all are reading this, I’ll be on my way home to Texas! One of my good friends from high school is getting married this weekend, conveniently in the same area where my family lives. Even though I look at wedding things all day, every day, nothing compares to being at a real wedding and seeing people say their vows and commit their lives to one another. I am getting a little teary-eyed just thinking about it! We love pretty details around here, but I’m thanking my lucky stars this week that I work at a magazine that focuses first and foremost on how love always wins.

Alright, y’all, I think I’ve been sappy enough for one post–now let’s take a look back at this week’s features and weddings! Our fun summer series continues with Marissa’s preppy pink Dream Southern Summer Wedding. Naturally, she included tons of stylish details and plenty of monograms!

How are y’all doing on your #summerdoin lists? Nicole checked off quite a few during her recent trip to New Orleans, where she stayed at the newest addition to The Honey List, The Soniat House. I’m definitely adding it to my list of places to visit!

For all of our newly engaged (or soon-to-be engaged!) belles, this is a must-read! There are so many things to do after getting engaged, but in her Expert Advice post this week, Emily listed a few steps that new brides should take first.

We are so excited about V6, and hope you are too! We’re still looking for lots of fun things to include, like real weddings, reader models, and lovely pictures of the South (extra points if they have farm animals in them)! Check out our Submission Needs post if you think you may be able to give us a hand!

Three cheers for Real Weddings!

We loved the Southern style, stunning venue, and pretty peach details at Tiffanie and Pierre’s Miami wedding! See it here.

Lisa and Eric’s charming DIY wedding stole our hearts this week, thanks to its clear focus on family, friends, and true love. See it here.

The story of how Laura and John met is too cute for words, and their backyard Alabama wedding was equally sweet! See it here.

A few more things to note!

It’s Facebook Friday, so be sure to stop by for a sweet engagement session by Sweet Julep Photography!

A big congratulations to our friends and Blue Ribbon Vendor members, Adam and Austin, on the launch of their new brand, Blueberry Creative! You may recognize their videography from LaraCasey.com, and you can find more of their incredible work in their Blue Ribbon Vendor listing.

Have a wonderful weekend!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Lara reply

    Yay! Love never fails! : )

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I couldn’t help but smile when I read Laura and John’s love story. After he offered to help her carry boxes up five flights of stairs (she refused!), they didn’t get to know each other until a year later, when he stopped her in the hallway in search of googly-eye stickers! This unconventional conversation-starter led to a beautiful relationship, a surprise proposal, and ultimately, a delightfully Southern wedding. Since Laura and John met in Oregon and he grew up in Indiana, this Alabama bride sure had her work cut out for her! The azaleas were in full bloom by the time they held their deeply meaningful ceremony in her parents’ backyard, followed by a reception full of Southern foods and treats. I can only imagine how many of their Northern guests fell in love with the South that night! Just like Laura and John’s adorable love story and beautiful wedding, it’s easy to love, don’t you think?

Many thanks to Kelly of Spindle Photography for sending Laura and John’s wedding our way!

John was the first guy I met when I moved to Portland, Oregon. He was the only person (besides a fireman) who offered to help my friend and me move boxes up five flights of stairs to my new apartment. I stubbornly turned down his offer to help. I later found out that he lived down the hall from me, but our schedules were pretty different and I barely ever saw him. A year later, fate and googly-eye stickers brought us together. One night, when I returned home from dinner with my friend, John approached us in the hall and asked if I had any googly-eye stickers that he could use for a model he was building for a science class. Oddly enough, I did. He invited my friend and I over to his place that night (where she quietly told me that she thought he might like me), and we’ve been side-by-side ever since.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. Finding my wedding dress was such a special experience. My parents flew me back home to Alabama the summer before my wedding so that I could find my dress with my loved ones by my side. The first place I visited was The White Room because two of my older sisters had had their beautiful dresses perfectly altered by Carolyn Kelley, the owner. I searched around for something unique and picked out a variety of styles to try on. The first one I put on was perfect, and it was floor sample in perfect condition! I tried on about ten more dresses after that, but kept thinking about that first one. Also, my dad (who has impeccable taste) kept saying, “That’s pretty, but I’m not sure that it’s as special as that first one.” Finally, I put the first dress back on. We added a very simple veil and everyone in the room teared up—it was definitely THE dress. Then, on top of everything going so well that day, my amazing grandparents surprised me by purchasing my dream dress. It was just one of those incredibly lucky and lovely days.

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We did decide to do a first look. I really felt like it would be more special to see each other that day without a crowd of people watching (though my sisters and bridesmaids were stealthily watching from a distance). Plus, I knew that if I saw him for the first time while walking down the aisle, I would have been so overwhelmed by emotion that I probably would have cried through the entire ceremony (which I basically did anyway, but it would have been more intense). It was so comforting to see him, and so sweet to see him see me. I’m glad that we set aside time to do that and let that moment sink in.

What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We had three readings. John’s mom read an excerpt from “The Bridge Across Forever” by Richard Bach. My step-mom read “A Marriage” by Mark Twain. Then, I had our officiant (who is also one of our best friends) read an excerpt from a letter my mom wrote me before she passed away about finding real love.

This picture might be my favorite out of all of them. They look like they just adore each other!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? It was really important to me that I married John in my hometown. He grew up in Portland, but most of his family is from Indiana, so I wanted to make sure that I showcased the charms of the South for all of our Oregon and Indiana guests. Fortunately, Mother Nature cooperated with us and our spring wedding showed off Alabama’s most gorgeous time—my parents’ backyard was filled with blooming azaleas! Of course, we made sure to highlight Southern food: candied pecans, sweet tea, mint juleps, shrimp and grits, crab salad and fried green tomatoes were some of the highlights.

Tell us all about the proposal! John was determined to surprise me, which was a difficult undertaking since we designed my engagement ring together. Actually, I had been anticipating a proposal for almost three years when the time finally came. He had a few elaborate plans that involved us being outdoors, but each fell through due to many strings of rainy days. After a handful of failed attempts at creating an ideal situation, he came up with a low-key plan. He told me one weekend morning that he had to go down to Eugene for business (which isn’t unusual). I kissed him goodbye and went about my day fixing up things at the house. Many hours later, as I was taking a nap, John came through the door with a nervous look on his face. At first I was startled because I didn’t expect him and was half asleep. Then, he got down on one knee, took out the ring (a beautiful combination of two family heirlooms) and told me why he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. I was stunned! I quickly realized that I was so stunned that I did not hear his proposal, and I asked him to propose to me again, which he did. Obviously, I said yes. We spent the rest of the day together doing things we love doing and being totally excited.
When did y’all get married? April 13, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? About 75
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? Yes, we did. My favorite part about our vows was that we wrote them separately, but they ended up being very similar. My favorite line from both had to do with our desire to help each other fulfill our dreams.
Describe your wedding flowers. My wedding flowers were gorgeous! I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted, but I found a vendor I could really trust (thank you Mandy and the HotHouse team) and left most of the decisions up to her. I told her what colors I wanted, and that I wanted ranunculus and poppies—the rest was up to her and her team. I didn’t ask for roses, but I’m so glad they included them since John and I live in The City of Roses.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Much of my wedding was focused on highlighting things that I love about the South. I knew that I wanted several regular cakes instead of one large one, so we chose a couple of uniquely Southern cakes (strawberry and coconut) and a beautiful chocolate cake (because you have to have chocolate). I also included two cheesecakes because John isn’t really into regular cake.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: My favorite detail is that we had an intimate ceremony in my parents’ backyard. When I asked John what his favorite detail was, he said, “My bride.”
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Distance! Planning a wedding from nearly 3,000 miles away comes with many challenges. Luckily, I have lots of awesome family members and friends in Alabama that stepped up to the plate and really made the wedding possible.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $10,000-$25,000
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? I was happy about pretty much everything involved in our wedding, but our photographer, Kelly Cummings, was exactly what we needed throughout the day. She made sure the whole day flowed the way it should, and ended up being the person I turned to for just about everything. Also, she has given me the most beautiful photos that I will cherish for the rest of my life. Our wedding really would not have been the same without her.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? The most memorable moment was probably the fire. Right as we were leaving, one of the sparklers set the guest book tablecloth ablaze. We were already in the car, but watching that happen and seeing all the guests scramble to save the guest book (which was heroically saved—thank goodness) was an interesting and memorable end to an eventful day.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Don’t try to live up to anybody’s expectations—make the day about you and your husband. At the end of the day, you aren’t going to have a perfect wedding or meet everyone’s expectations of what it should have been. Though, if you let go and make decisions that feel right, y’all will have a happy day to look back on. For some more practical advice: get that guest list hammered out as soon as possible! Putting together that list with all the correct details was one of my biggest hurdles. Also, don’t fret over little details. As long as you have vendors you trust and respect, all the details will come together in a beautiful way.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are looking forward to so many things. Mostly, we are looking forward to future travels, but we are also very excited to start looking for a house to call our own. The thing we look forward to most about being married is growing together and starting a little family.

Photographer: Kelly Cummings of Spindle Photography | Ceremony Venue: Bride’s parents’ backyard | Reception Venue: The Avondale Villa | Florist: Mandy Majerik of Hot House Design Studio | Wedding Cakes: Edgar’s Bakery | Caterer: Yellow Bicycle Catering | Bride’s Gown: Christos Eloisa | Paper Products: Paper Source | Hair Stylist: Mark Hyde at SalonU | Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: J.Crew Louisa in Dusty Shale | Groom’s Attire: J.Crew | Groomsmen Attire: J.Crew shirts and Forever 21 ties

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

lisa Written with love by Lisa
4 Comments
  1. avatar Nicole reply

    That puppy! And how funny that Laura asked John to propose a second time — I’ve read so many proposal stories where the bride doesn’t remember a word the groom said, so I’m glad she asked for a repeat :)

  2. avatar Morgan Trinker reply

    SO gorgeous! Kelly captured this one perfectly. Love Laura and John’s style, and love their story even more! :)

  3. avatar Dana reply

    the picture with the bridesmaids all petting the puppy is such a great shot! what an interesting venue too!

  4. avatar Katie reply

    I think Laura’s wedding was gorgeous. So ram tic and well done! I would love to know where her earrings came from! I’m in love with them!

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