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Southern Weddings

Author: Marissa

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!!

One of my favorite questions we ask our couples is about the most “memorable moment” on their wedding day. Of course, the answers run the gamut, and I think that’s why I love reading them so much. For Cynthia and John, there was a tie between two: seeing each other for the first time at the church, and the exit from the reception. Cynthia said they both felt “like the beginning of everything.” Oh my stars, yes! I can’t imagine a better way to describe those moments than that. After always knowing they’d celebrate their marriage in Wilmington, Cynthia and John were delighted to share the coastal town’s Southern charm and laid-back elegance with their friends and family, and I’m thrilled we’re able to share it here today, too.

Big hugs to Melissa DeLorme Photography for these lovely photos!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I had so many different ideas of what I wanted, but this one was always in the back of my mind. It was light and easy to dance in, and just fit the vibe of our wedding so well.

We decided to have our first look at the church as I was walking down the aisle. To us, there’s something so romantic about that tradition.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We love the Southern charm and touches of downtown Wilmington. It’s elegant, but laid-back, being so close to the ocean. Also, the people who live there are genuinely kind. We were so happy our friends and family could come and experience it all.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The flowers at the reception, especially the hanging floral installation over the dance floor!

We live in Virginia, but Wilmington is our favorite spot to visit. One summer, we were walking downtown and passed a wedding on the dock. Since then, we knew we wanted to get married in Wilmington. St. Mary’s and Bakery 105 were our favorite venues downtown.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Red velvet and delicious. One Belle Bakery did a fantastic job. I showed them a picture of what I liked, and it turned out even more beautifully than the photo.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met in eigth grade and started dating in high school before he moved away for school. We got back together during my last year of college and the rest is history!
Tell us all about the proposal! It was really simple and sweet. He picked up the ring and went to my parents’ house to ask their permission. That night, he picked me up from work and proposed in my living room.
When did y’all get married? April 2, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 150
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We narrowed down our top priorities and need-to-haves. We used the wedding budget template in Microsoft Excel, which showed us exactly where we were on spending. If things didn’t fit into the category of need-to-haves, it was relatively easy to cut costs where necessary.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Our most memorable moment was a tie between seeing each other for the first time at the church and the exit from the reception. Both just felt significant, like the beginning of everything.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Enjoy every moment. It all goes by so quickly! Also, trust your instincts–they won’t steer you wrong.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Becoming puppy parents!

Photographer: Melissa DeLorme Photography | Videographer: Green Hope Productions | Planner and Florist: Salt Harbor Designs | Ceremony Venue: Basilica Shrine of Saint Mary | Reception Venue and Caterer: Bakery 105 | Wedding Cake: One Belle Bakery | Rentals: Party Suppliers and Rentals | Lighting: High Performance Lighting and Power | DJ: Drew via Active Entertainment | Bride’s Gown: “1661” by Mikaella | Bride’s Veil: IHeartBride | Hair Stylist: Natalie of Beauty Bar Boutique | Makeup Artist: Makeup by Amy Kennison | Bride’s Shoes: “Mika” Sandal by Menbur | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Chloe” by Jenny Yoo | Menswear: Ralph Lauren | Bridal Suite and Bridal Party Photos: The Loft on Front

marissa Written with love by Marissa
2 Comments
  1. avatar Elizabeth Frost reply

    Everything about this wedding is just classic. Stunning. Swoonworthy.

  2. avatar Ana Conlon wedding videographer reply

    The bridal party are so perfect! Amazing photos!

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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!!

After getting engaged, Courtney and Jeffrey originally planned to get married just five short months later. But, being a creative heart, Courtney wasn’t enjoying the planning process with such a time crunch, so they chose to push their wedding date out a bit. Extending their engagement allowed them to refocus in such a positive way. Courtney said, “We decided we weren’t going to stress over every detail, and that what was most important was what came after the wedding.” Their engagement then became a time to come together to plan a memorable wedding weekend, and to start building a home and a life together. I can’t think of anything else I’d wish for all engaged couples. Well, that, and maybe some amazing views like these at Lonesome Valley to celebrate their wedding in front of!

Thanks to Cheyenne Shultz for sharing these dreamy photos!

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! Yes! I borrowed my grandmother’s blue garter, the same one she wore at her wedding. I carried my other grandmother’s vintage handkerchief, on which she had embroidered a blue flower. And my dress, purse, and shoes were all new!

I am not someone who had ever given much thought to the type of wedding or wedding dress that I wanted, so I was overwhelmed when I first started looking and none of the dresses I saw seemed like me. I love fashion design, so I started designing my own dress. I really enjoyed the design process, but we began to run into some issues with having the dress made. My mom and I decided to take a day to go try on dresses as a fun experience and to get some ideas. The first dress I saw that morning ended up being the dress I chose, but only after agonizing for several days about whether or not to forgo my own dress design. No regrets. Trying on my dress was the first time I truly felt like a bride, and I still get sad thinking that I will never get to wear it again!

How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Our engagement was a time for us to focus on our relationship, to come together as partners to plan a memorable wedding weekend, and to start building a home and a life together. We used the planning process as an opportunity to improve our communication skills, to learn more about one another and how we deal with stress, and to become better at compromising. By making all of the major wedding decisions together (and most of the small ones too), we were learning how to turn “I” into “we,” a skill we will need for the rest of our lives together.

Music played a huge theme throughout our wedding because we share a love for music and got to know each other while dating by listening to music and going to live shows together. The ceremony songs were all songs that are special to us and include lyrics that express how we feel for each other. Our musicians were spectacular and even learned several new songs for us. We had a guitarist/vocalist and a cellist for the ceremony. While guests arrived and found their seats, they played: “In My Life” by the Beatles, “Follow You Follow Me” by Genesis, “You Can’t Hurry Love” by Phil Collins, “Into Your Arms” by The Lemonheads, “Crazy Love” by Van Morrison, “Romeo and Juliet” by Dire Straits, “True Companion” by Marc Cohn, and “Something in the Way She Moves” by James Taylor. My dad and I walked down the aisle to “Begin Again” by the Piano Guys, and we and our guests left the ceremony to “You Make My Dreams” by Hall and Oates.Our first dance was to “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Elvis. At the end of the night as our guests were lining up to send us off with sparklers, we went outside and danced alone to a song by one of our favorite bands, The National. In our guests’ welcome bags, we included CDs that we had made that included some of our favorite songs from shows we went to while dating. Instead of a guest book, we had a print that a graphic artist friend designed for us, which included the concert posters from the shows. Our guests signed this print at the wedding and we will now frame it. Instead of table numbers, the dinner tables were labeled with the artists and venues of the shows we saw while dating.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did. I wrote a letter to Jeff the morning of our first date, before we had met and over two years before the wedding, and I had not shared this letter with him or anyone else. The letter talked about my excitement about meeting him, how I had been praying for him and praying that God would make me ready for someone like him; how I could not ignore the events that had led to our first date and how the specialness of it had led me to write it all down; and how grateful I was for the hope it had given me. I started my vows by reading that letter to him. Jeff quoted Ferris Bueller: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

We knew we wanted a destination wedding at a place where our guests felt like they were on vacation from the moment they arrived, without it being too difficult to get to. We love the outdoors and wanted our wedding to be outdoors in a beautiful setting, with one location for the ceremony and reception. We described the kind of rustic elegant wedding we wanted to my mom, and she and her best friend started searching. When we first saw the images of Lonesome Valley online, they took our breath away, and when we visited for the first time, we were enthralled. The location also held some significance because the first trip we took together was to Highlands, North Carolina, just 20 minutes away, and we actually discussed having a wedding in the area on that first trip. When we learned that Becca Knuth and Asheville Event Co. could help plan the wedding if we had it at Lonesome Valley, we were sold. Becca became a close family friend while planning my older sister’s wedding in 2010, and we knew that she would take care of everything and that the wedding would be fabulous with her behind it. And finally, we had such a good feeling when we met Sarah Jennings and everyone else at Lonesome Valley and Canyon Kitchen. They were completely other-centered, truly making the process and the wedding day about the bride and groom, parents, and guests.

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Try to find a way to enjoy it! Once Jeff proposed, we considered having the wedding five months later. We decided we weren’t going to stress over every detail and that what was most important was what came after the wedding. However, I was hating the wedding planning process because as a creative person, I was frustrated by all the deadlines. There was no time for my creative juices to flow! When we pushed the wedding date out so that we had more than a year to plan, we started to enjoy the process and feel more creative. Additionally, we were purposeful in who we chose to work with during the planning process, knowing we would be spending a lot of time with them, either in person or via email or telephone. We loved ALL of our vendors and still keep in touch with many of them after the wedding. Although the planning can be overwhelming and stressful, you only get to do this once and you want to look back on it with fond memories, so try to find a way to make it fun and enjoyable.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We were set up by our friend, Ali. Ali and her now husband, Dan, had been close friends with Jeff for years. Ali gave Jeff my phone number and Jeff called to set up the first date, which fell on Easter Sunday 2014. It was an incredibly awkward first phone call since we’d never met each other (and since Jeff is verrryyyy quiet until he gets to know you). I remember having so much to talk about on our first date that the restaurant started turning the lights off on us!
Tell us all about the proposal! We went to Charleston for a long weekend, and Jeff proposed in one of the parks around midnight. I really didn’t want an engagement ring and had made this known to Jeff, so when he said he had a ring for me, I was going to try my best to act like I loved it. When he pulled out a giant blue plastic ring that flashed various colors, I didn’t need to feign delight because it was the best ring I could have imagined. We took months to design three wedding bands for me and one for him, which we exchanged on their wedding day. Jeff is still trying to understand how I went from not wanting a ring to wanting three.
When did y’all get married? June 4, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? About 115
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Canyon Kitchen is a fantastic restaurant, and we wanted to take advantage of having the reception there. We chose not to have a wedding cake, and instead had them make an assortment of scrumptious desserts including pecan pie, cobbler, red velvet cake, cookies, and lemon bars. And we had s’mores! Our guests could choose from an assortment of chocolates and roast Bailey’s-infused marshmallows around a fire pit.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We chose not to have a cake simply because Canyon Kitchen made such yummy desserts, but it saved us some money too! We also did not have a getaway car. We took the shuttle with our guests to the after party and were driven to our wedding cottage by the groom’s siblings! We also did not feel like we needed a lot of flowers because the setting was so gorgeous on its own.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Right now, we are loving navigating life together and having sleepovers with our best friend. We have a lot to look forward to, but I am trying to keep in mind Jeff’s last line of his vows and not move through life so fast that we miss it.

Photographer: Cheyenne Schultz Photography | Videographer: Magic Hour Creative | Planner: Becca Knuth and Sarah Kiomall of Asheville Event Co. | Ceremony Venue: Lonesome Valley | Reception Venue, Caterer, and Dessert Baker: Canyon Kitchen | Florist: Floressence Flowers | Rentals: Professional Party Rentals | Band: The Dickens | Paper Products: Fabulous Fancy Pants | Bride’s Gown: Alyne | Bride’s Accessories: Toni Federici | Hair and Makeup: Hair and Makeup by Heather Ellison | Groom’s Attire: Sid Mashburn | Officiant: Pastor Jim Knuth | Ceremony Musicians: Tim White and Sharon Gerber | Rings: Samantha Louise and Regal Collection Corp. | Invitation Printing: Brand Printing | Program Design: Devon Jeffers | Guest Book Print Design: Liam Strain | Transportation: The Trolley Company

marissa Written with love by Marissa
2 Comments
  1. avatar Cheyenne Schultz reply

    Y’all are the best! Thank you thank you for featuring Courtney and Jeff’s wedding…we are so grateful!

  2. avatar Lorin Fairweather reply

    SO stunning!! Cheyenne incredibly captured this couple’s lovely day!

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In our editorial meeting this week, we were chatting about how for many couples, rain on their wedding day often ends up playing a big role in some of their favorite memories. This just so happens to be true for Meagan and Chris! Despite being terrified of the possibility of rain on their wedding weekend at Oldfield Club, when it actually rained just as their outdoor ceremony started, Meagan experienced one of her favorite moments. With her best girlfriends, lots of laughter, and a bit of champagne, not even the rain could dampen their spirits. After a few minutes, the sky cleared and their ceremony restarted. To honor her late father, Meagan and Chris were married by her cousin in a ceremony that was not only special, but full of joy–exactly what her father would have wanted. Don’t miss the funny way her cousin closed the ceremony!

Big hugs to Ashley Sewell for sharing this Lowcountry wedding!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. My sister and one of my bridesmaids went shopping with me in New York. We went to one salon at a larger department store and I had one of the first appointments of the day. When we got to the door, there were a few other brides there also waiting for their appointments. When they unlocked the door, it was like a Black Friday sale at Target–people were speed-walking and throwing elbows. I don’t think I ever really recovered from that initial experience and didn’t love any of the dresses. We then headed over to Mark Ingram and the experience was completely different. The consultant was wonderful and gave her opinion in a way that I truly appreciated. My sister and friend got to sit in the dressing area and everything just felt so much more relaxed. They were having a Peter Langner trunk show that day and when I put on one of his dresses, it just felt right. My friend told me that she knew she had found her dress because after she tried it on, she didn’t want to take it off. When I tried on this dress, I got that same feeling and knew that I had found exactly what I wanted. Peter Langner was actually in the salon that day, and after getting his approval and a photo with him and Mark Ingram, I knew that I was done with the dress decision.

Chris and I both wanted to get married outside and it just so happened that the time had changed the Sunday before our wedding, so it was going to get dark early. In order to have a ceremony and a reception at a time that we both agreed on, we knew that photos would have to happen before the ceremony. We also wanted to spend as much time as possible with our guests and didn’t want to be off taking photos during cocktail hour! Ashley Seawell was so helpful talking through all the details with us, and I really trusted her judgment when it came to timing and logistics for the first look. The actual first look was such an amazing moment and gave Chris and me the rare opportunity to spend a couple minutes alone just enjoying the day.

We used traditional vows for our ceremony but took a more untraditional approach for our officiant, as my cousin married us. He works in advertising and is, quite frankly, hysterical. My dad had passed away about ten years ago, and when he and my uncle would get together, it was like being at a comedy show. I knew that I wanted to have a ceremony that he would have enjoyed, because he appreciated a good laugh better than most people. My uncle walked me down the aisle and my cousin performed a ceremony that literally every single person enjoyed–we knew that we wanted our ceremony to be special, but we also wanted to laugh and enjoy this incredibly joyful moment! He even ended it with “and now, I have officially married my cousin!”

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? I grew up in Texas and went to the University of Georgia, so I have a soft spot in my heart for the South. Chris grew up in Virginia Beach and spends most of his life fishing or thinking about fishing. We knew that we wanted to do a quasi-destination wedding that was in the US, but also knew that we needed to be on the water, as Chris had always wanted to go fishing with his groomsmen the weekend of the wedding. I started doing a lot of research and actually spent a ton of time on the Southern Weddings website researching venues. When I saw Oldfield, I immediately knew that was the spot. It is beautiful, on the water, has the most amazing people that work there, and had the ability to house our entire wedding party onsite, something that was very important to us given the amount of time and money people from across the globe were spending to get to our wedding. We really wanted to take all the thinking out of it once people got there. We used all of the venues at Oldfield for our events and it worked out perfectly. They all have a unique charm to them and it made each event seem different!

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: My amazing mother-in-law spent hours and hours creating the most amazing oyster garland. After we got engaged, I remember showing her a photo of an oyster garland and telling her about how cool I thought that was. She was able to bring the image to life! She collected oyster shells from oyster roasts, restaurants, etc. and then cleaned them, drilled holes in them, and strung them together to create this amazing garland. In addition to the garland, she made oyster candle holders and wreaths that were so beautiful and were perfect for our Lowcountry vibe. I’m currently trying to convince her to open a shop on Etsy. I also might have bought an oyster chandelier in the craziness of wedding planning. I’ll hang that in our house one day, right?

We used Minette Rushing for our wedding cake and the groom’s cake. For the groom’s cake, I surprised Chris at our rehearsal dinner with a cake in the shape of a marlin. It was such a fun little detail, and the actual cake was to die for. Toward the end of the welcome dinner party on Friday night, they were running low on the cake, but they didn’t want to cut the marlin cake. Well, my mom, who is a true sweet lover, was just not okay with only getting a couple slices of cake that night. She stuck her finger in the marlin and looked up and said, “now you can cut it.” We were all dying laughing, and of course, were excited that we all had more cake to eat! The wedding cake was perfect as well. Minette created a cake that was exactly what I wanted. All of this goes back to my theme of trust the experts. I think that Chris and I are most looking forward to our one-year anniversary so we can eat the cake top tier, because we didn’t get any at the wedding!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Chris and I both attended business school at the University of Virginia. Chris graduated two years before I did, but I never met him through recruiting or other alumni events while I was in school. He moved to New York after graduation and I then also landed a job there. I was on a walk with one of my friends from school right before I moved to the city when she told me that I should meet Chris when I moved. I didn’t really think much about it, as I was mentally preparing for a career in investment banking and a move to a completely new city.The night I moved to New York, I went out to dinner with some friends and we decided to stop by a bar called Village Tavern for a couple of drinks. I guess you could say the stars were aligned because Chris and his friends had the same idea. The people we were with knew each other and we all started talking. Chris and I were introduced, really hit it off, and a couple of weeks later, went out on our first date. I didn’t think it was possible, but I literally met my husband the day I moved to New York!
Tell us all about the proposal! My family is from Texas and we used to celebrate Thanksgiving in Mexico. Chris and I decided that it would be fun to honor that tradition and celebrate Christmas in Mexico with both of our families. On the Friday before we were scheduled to leave, I had just gotten home from a canned food drive for work and was busy packing. The apartment was rather clean and Chris looked nice, but I didn’t think too much about it, as we had dinner plans with our friends–plans that I thought I could get out of because I was super tired and couldn’t imagine having a big night before we got on our 6 A.M. flight for Mexico. I was in our bedroom packing when Chris asked for me to come help him with something. I stood there for a second thinking that maybe if I didn’t immediately respond, he’d figure it out. Well, he called for me again and I walked into the living room to find him in front of our little Christmas tree on one knee with maybe the most terrified look on his face! He asked me to marry him in our 600 square foot apartment with Frank Sinatra singing “Christmas Waltz” in the background, and it was perfect. We went to eat at Little Owl, one of our favorite restaurants, and spent the night celebrating with friends–and still made our 6 am flight to Mexico!
When did y’all get married? November 7, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 175
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We had two readings during our ceremony. One was n excerpt from “Gift From the Sea” by Anne Morrow Lindbergh, and the other was a quote from John Lennon: “When I was five years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy.’ They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.” The John Lennon quote is written in chalk on the wall of one of our favorite coffee shops in Hatteras, North Carolina. Chris spent most of his life going on fishing trips in Hatteras and we were glad that we were able to work in a special ode to that in our ceremony.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? In his speech on Friday night, Chris said that I challenge him in ways that he would have never expected. One of those ways was enrolling us in dancing lessons before the wedding. I think I had this vision of us executing a perfect ballroom dance routine and Chris loving every minute of dancing practice. Neither of those things happened, but dancing lessons started to be a special activity for us. We were obviously not great at actually dancing, but through those lessons and the dinners that we treated ourselves to after the lessons, we spent a lot of time learning about how we work together and talking about expectations that we both had regarding our marriage. It started out as something we dreaded, and after it was all over, we both agreed that we should always try and make it a priority to find time for these special activities that we could do together to continue to learn about each other and grow as a couple. We are currently taking golf lessons and we might be better dancers!
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? I had obviously been stalking the weather and when I saw that it was going to be 80 degrees the weekend of our wedding, I thought to myself, I’m so glad I bought pashminas for all the female guests for the ceremony and have an espresso/coffee truck coming to serve guests warm drinks during our reception! I also noticed a little chance of rain around the time of our ceremony. Fast forward to our ceremony and I remember standing by the side of the house, looking up at the sky right before I was supposed to walk down the aisle, and telling my uncle that it was going to rain. The bridesmaids had all walked down the aisle and everyone was in their seats and I could feel the rain drops (my uncle continued to just say, “it’s not raining”). Ten seconds later, the sky completely opened up, so I ran into the house and sat in the bathroom as the entire wedding party and all the guests also ran into the house to take cover. My bridesmaids came into the bathroom with me, along with a couple of glasses of champagne. The champagne was opened and all the guests had a little pre-ceremony cocktail hour as we waited for the rain to stop. I sat in the bathroom with my bridesmaids and we just laughed and had an amazing time. Thirty minutes later, the storm passed and the sky looked beautiful, so we just picked up right where we left off, and Chris still cried when I walked down the aisle! During the planning stages, I was terrified of the possibility that it might rain that weekend, but when it actually happened, it turned out to be one of my most favorite memories of the day!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? You are most likely not a wedding planner and do not host parties for 100+ people on a regular basis. Trust the experts and listen to your vendors. Also, my biggest regret is not having a video of the speeches at our rehearsal dinner and of our ceremony. Even if you don’t have a videographer, make sure you capture these moments on video!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Chris and I just rescued an epileptic Pomeranian that we named Kirby Smart, after the new Georgia coach. We are still loving living in New York and are just excited about continuing this crazy journey together!

Photographer: Ashley Seawell Photography | Planner: Embellished Events | Venue and Caterer: Oldfield Club | Florist: Garden on the Square | Wedding Cake: Minette Rushing Custom Cakes | Rentals: EventHaus | Band: Papa-Sol via East Coast Entertainment | Paper Products: The Wedding Library | Bride’s Gown: Peter Langner | Bridal Salon: Mark Ingram Atelier | Hair and Makeup: Christine Stephens | Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Adrianna Papell | Groom’s Attire: Hickey Freeman | Ceremony Music: Charleston Virtuosi | Custom Map and Signage: Signet Sealed | Custom Monogram: Katherine Killeffer | Transportation: Old Savannah Tours | Espresso Truck: Corner Perk | Live Painting: Elaine Burge

Oldfield Club is a wonderful Southern Weddings sponsor!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
3 Comments
  1. avatar Bri A reply

    I’m so amazed by all the details that shine through (that oyster garland!!) and their love for each other is so clear! Thanks for sharing, Meagan!

    Xo

  2. avatar Jess Metcalf reply

    That oyster garland!!! I love it!

  3. avatar Mel reply

    These are my favourite bridesmaids dresses!! Love, love, love!

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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