Southern Weddings Magazine

Author: Nicole

I love a classic Southern bride! Lauren (who happens to be one of our Southern Bride Bloggers, y’all!) and her beau, Aaron arranged photos in the Raleigh Rose Garden before marrying inside a church. The photos the resulted from Vesic Photography are simply stunning and their moody blue and green surroundings remind me of our V4 cover, but with a life of its own. Lauren actually took inspiration from Southern Weddings to come up with the readings with Aaron, collecting quotes from other couples to craft the perfect ceremony. I love the idea of incorporating the words that strike your heart in addition to the traditional vows and think Lauren’s tactic of slowing curating her favorite words often works best.

For forever, I dreamed of wearing a lace mermaid wedding dress. I had a modest budget so I found myself going to many stores to find the perfect dress. I tried on about 30 dresses in total. I finally found the dress while shopping with my mom and aunt at Bridalmart in Burlington. Bridalmart is this huge store and they have hundreds of dresses at many price points, but you have to pull them yourself. It can be overwhelming if you don’t know what you want! My aunt pulled and showed me the dress, but I was hesitant because I wanted a strapless dress and the fit was more trumpet than mermaid. I tried it on anyways and it was so beautiful. I was still skeptical, but my mom snapped many pictures. Looking at the pictures the days after our visit, I knew this was my dress!

Describe your wedding flowers. 
I wanted a color palette of cream, pink and peach. We used four types of garden roses, hydrangeas, ranunculus, spray roses, limonium and seeded eucalyptus. I think the funniest part was visiting my parent’s house the day after the wedding and seeing it packed with flowers.

Did you decide to do a “first look”? 
We did! I am so happy we did. Our photographer had us stand back to back and we exchanged a few words before turning around. We hugged and kissed and I was so happy. Like many people say, it was our only time alone that day. Also, it was our only opportunity for outdoor photos. We shot ours at the Raleigh Rose Garden, which was minutes away from the church. I have a large family and after the ceremony, we spent time taking the traditional family photos inside the church.

What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? 
I actually used Southern Weddings for readings inspiration. I would copy and save readings onto my computer that I liked! We ended up choosing Philippians 2:1-5. “Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus”

We had very traditional songs during our ceremony because as a little girl I had always dreamed of getting married to these songs. Pachelbel’s Canon in D was the bridal processional, the recessional was Mendelssohn’s Wedding March. During the ceremony, we had two songstresses. Emily, who introduced us, sang Schubert’s “Ave Maria” and the Lord’s Prayer. Andrea, my good college friend, sang “Center of My Joy” by Richard Smallwood. We loved having our friends take part in our wedding ceremony. At the reception, Aaron and I danced to “I Was Made to Love You” by Gerald Levert. We were nervous about the turns in our dance so we whispered to each other before every turn to make sure we were on the same page! My dad picked “I’ll Write A Song for You” by Earth Wind & Fire for our daddy-daughter dance. If you read the lyrics, you’ll want to cry because it’s so sweet. Lastly, Aaron and his mother danced to “Stand by Me” by Ben King.

My grandmother loved collecting glassware, so I used her LE Smith Moon & Stars glasses and her milk glasses for centerpieces. I used her doilies and lace handkerchiefs for decor as well. Our hors d’ouervres were macaroni and cheese and “redneck martinis,” which are pulled pork in a martini glass with a hush puppy on top. However, I think the most Southern thing about my wedding was how much my family helped. My aunt was the coordinator, my godmother handwrote all of my place cards and my mother was responsible for everything else I needed! My dad also let Aaron drive his classic ‘55 Chevy for our transportation to the reception and as the getaway car.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. 
We did mini cupcakes for our wedding cake! It was fun because you could try multiple flavors. We had pumpkin, lemon, chocolate and vanilla. We had a mini-cake on top to cut that was pumpkin as well. After the cake was cut, we passed chocolate shot glasses filled with Kahlua and Bailey’s Irish Cream.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: 
All of the dancing. I wanted the wedding to turn into a huge party at the end and it did! We played Motown music during dinner and afterward transitioned to more current music. The dance floor was packed. Everyone was showing off their best dance moves, including some break dancing, a split and Aaron did the worm.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. 
In 2009, I returned home to Raleigh after graduating from college at Hampton University. I complained to one of my close friends, Emily, that I was bored and would like to meet someone. Emily told me that she worked with a guy who may be a good fit for me. She arranged a double date between herself, her boyfriend, Aaron and myself. Emily and her boyfriend ended up arriving over an hour late to the date so the first hour was just the two of us, complete strangers! We hit it off and the night ended with Aaron buying me Krispy Kreme donuts. The rest is history and Emily sang at our wedding!

Tell us all about the proposal! 
I love Zumba and my dad and I often go together at the YMCA. I would always encourage Aaron to come too, but he’d always decline. Finally on December 30, 2011 he agreed to come to a class with us. Usually it’s hard to find one man in a Zumba class so I had a lot of fun bringing two! After class, Aaron said he would like to continue working out with my dad. I headed home. (I lived with my parents at the time.) Later, Aaron surprised me by showing up at my door. Little did I know, but he had actually stayed at the gym to ask my dad for my hand in marriage! He asked in the locker room, which still think is funny. At my house, Aaron suggested we go for a walk and I agreed. I was so confused, and he was acting slightly different and had brought me huge bouquet of flowers. We sat down in my mother’s garden. Then Aaron got down on one knee and proposed. I was surprised and happy, I said yes! It was a few days after Christmas so my entire family was at home to share the good news with.

When did y’all get married? 
April 13, 2013

How many friends, family, and loved ones attended your wedding? 
270

Did you write your own vows? 
We didn’t! I knew I could never eloquently put my feelings into words so we said the traditional words.

Did you have something borrowed, something blue, and something new? I borrowed my mother’s pearl bracelet (and I still have it, oops). My undergarments were blue and said “Bride” in rhinestones! And my dress was new!

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Our budget and the guest list, which go hand in hand. We ended up having a huge guest list and going over budget, but it was definitely worth it. Even with 270 people, I felt like I was surrounded by my closest friends and family.

What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? 
I love flowers, so I loved picking out the flowers with Dawn McCreary and collecting the centerpieces. The bouquets turned our beautifully and while I felt silly at first asking for a flower crown for the flower girl, it was gorgeous!

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? 
We have so many memories. My favorite is standing back-to-back with Aaron in the Rose Garden, followed by being surrounded by all of our family and friends on the dance floor.

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? 
If you can afford a day-of coordinator, consider it. My aunt and mom were wonderful and did all the work, but it would have been nice to have hired someone so they could relax and enjoy the day a little more. Besides that, don’t be afraid to ask friends and family for help. As I said earlier, my godmother wrote my place cards. I had a party to assemble the invitations. A friend from church addressed all of my invitations as a gift. Now that I know how much work goes into a wedding, I will definitely be ready to help my friends when it’s their turn.

What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? 
We just moved in together, so I’ve been working on blending our possessions and decorating the house. We’re both focused on our relationship and our careers right now. I’ll be starting work as a resident physician in psychiatry at a local hospital in a few weeks and Aaron’s busy as an IT manager at software company.

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
4 Comments
  1. avatar amanda reply

    SOOOOO fun to see Lauren’s wedding on here this morning!!! I just love the photos from her wedding and tell her all the time how much I LOVE her dress!! They’re a beautiful couple!

  2. avatar aaron reply

    My wife and our family and friends made this fantastic day! I’m very proud of lauren for planning this wedding and applying her vision! Shes my rock star! Thanks sw mag for sharing our day with others. Thanks all

  3. avatar Lauren reply

    What a BEAUTIFUL couple. I absolutely love everything about their wedding.

  4. avatar Laura reply

    What a beautiful wedding! I am getting married at The Garden on Millbrook next year and seeing this post made me so excited for my own big day!!

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We’ve been building up steam in the Southern Weddings office this week with V6 shoot planning, feature planning and many more exciting projects I wish I could spill the beans on! I’m happy to say that after a chocolate tasting for Taste TV on Wednesday, we’ve successfully eaten enough sugar to propel us through the week’s end. Now, I think we’re all looking forward to some family-time with our dads this weekend.

With the unofficial start of summer behind us, we’ve been out and about completing #SouthernDoins all over the place. See what we’ve been up to here.

Lara and Emily returned home from the Engage!13 Conference at Biltmore last week. We love this recap of the Southern welcome party designed by our friends at Pressed Cotton.

We know bridal parties can get quite large in the South, but we loved getting the deets behind the Southern tradition of house parties. Read more about them here!

With Father’s Day this weekend, we wanted to take a moment to share the best advice we’ve gotten from our dads.

I am so thrilled that we’re able to share Jewel + Ben’s engagement session with y’all. Jewel is one of our Southern Bride Bloggers and their love story is so encouraging and a reminder that the real beauty of a wedding is a lifelong partner who will stick with you through thick and thin. See it here.

Real Weddings steal our hearts!

Chatham + Charlie’s bright, bold soiree took weddings at home to another level! We love that an untraditional piece of the big day was inspired by the bride’s grandmother. See it here.

Amy + Bryan took the traditional pink wedding scheme and made it their own with pops of neon and fun marquee signs! See it here.

Lauren + Marshall used the details of the wedding as a way to showcase their personalities and to show Southern hospitality to their guests. See it here.

Before y’all go…

Take a minute to join us in wishing a huge congratulations to all the belles and beaus getting married this weekend!! Big hugs to our Southern Bride Bloggers, Jewel, Allison and Martina who are also saying, “I do!”

Be sure to stop by our Facebook Friday for a little something sweet from Happy Everything Co.

Have an amazing and restful weekend!

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
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Amy + Bryan, Balitmore natives, might have a few Northern tendencies in their blood, but their wedding was full-on Southern. The two decided to tie the knot in Charleston, where Bryan surprised Amy with a getaway and a proposal, so there was plenty of reason to adopt the beautiful city as their own personal sanctuary. I adore that Amy + Bryan decided to go traditional on a few things — the ceremony music and the white cake (with stunning flowers!), for instance — but added their own twist with hot pink invitations and retro marquee signage. But these are all teeny details compared to the father-daughter dance. Amy’s dad wrote the song for their dance, recorded the vocals with Amy’s mom and played it back at the reception so the two could still dance together. How amazing!!

As Kristin would say, we’re sending Paige Winn a big squeeze for sharing this day with us.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. 
I had a hard time deciding on a wedding dress — I had serious love for a few different dresses. Ultimately, my wedding dress had every component that I wanted. It was the prettiest dress that I had ever seen or put on my body. That was such a happy day and I still love it so much.

Did you decide to do a “first look”? We did a little behind-the-door chat. It was actually pretty emotional, and luckily Paige Winn still made our pictures look somewhat attractive! It was so nice to hear Bryan’s voice for a minute prior to our wedding.

Stems created the most gorgeous, beautiful arrangements. There are pictures of me crying when seeing my flowers for the first time! They were pink, girly, romantic, soft, colorful, and playful – just all around gorgeous. All of the bridesmaids had variations of hot pink, white, and light pink flowers with each of the bouquets wrapped in different shades of pink ribbons. My flower girl wore a flower halo that she donned proudly and looked so beautiful in. My bouquet was an amazing display of girly pink wonderfulness, wrapped in a piece of lace ribbon from my mom’s wedding dress. The guys all had white flowers wrapped in pink ribbon, and they looked so handsome wearing them. There were displays of single flower arrangements on the tables in antique containers, and mixes of color blocked arrangements on other tables. It was fab!

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? 
Possibly my five-year-old niece telling me, “When the wedding comes, the wedding comes.” I’m still trying to dissect that deep advice. Another memorable moment was the look on my future husband’s face as I walked down the aisle. So incredible.

For my walk down the aisle, I chose Canon in D, a song that I had always envisioned myself walking down the aisle to; I think it is the most beautiful classical song. Way to go Bach! We decided on Brad Paisley’s “Then” for our first dance. We were debating some other songs for our first dance, and then this one sort of took me by surprise. I would hear it on the radio, and it would make me cry and think of our wedding day. I love when he talks about taking his fiancé to the place where he first met her to propose. Even though Charleston was not where we met, it was where we got engaged and the place where we were going to say our vows. It just felt right. My dad wrote me a song for our father-daughter dance. My mom and dad sung it and recorded it together so that we could play it at the wedding and my dad and I could still dance together. It was so sentimental, and more special than any other song I would have found.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? 
We went about as Southern as us Northerners could possibly get, from the all-you-can-eat Sticky Fingers sweet potato casserole and pulled pork at our rehearsal dinner, to the shrimp and grits and hush puppies at our reception. We had stations, farmhouse tables, vintage china, and mint julep containers for flowers. We wanted it to feel like you were in the South, and wanted it to just be really unique and fun.

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? 
Stay calm and be patient and polite. Also, know that it is all going to be worth it, and that the day will be better than you could have ever imagined. Have FUN. Lastly, if  at all possible, hire a wedding planner.

Our wedding cake was a four-tier cake with cascading ombre flowers ranging from hot pink to white. Each layer had a different kind of frosting. On the top of our cake were two little hand crafted clay birds. It was almost too beautiful to eat!

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: 
I think it would have to be our sparkler exit. We couldn’t believe our wedding was ending, but all of our friends and family were lined up with sparklers waiting for us to leave. As we were leaving, fireworks were going off for the RiverDogs baseball team. It was magical. We could feel the love from everyone, and loved exiting into an old fashioned London black cab. We would probably pay good money to be in that moment one more time.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. 
We met in the huge Baltimore blizzard of 2010 after a few too many drinks. We randomly met each other in the street and had an instant connection, sort of a “right place at the right time” situation. We then went sledding at 3 a.m.! Our first official date came a few days later at my favorite Mexican Restaurant. The rest is history.

Tell us all about the proposal! 
The proposal took place in Charleston. I thought that we were taking a little trip to Connecticut to visit Bryan’s family. Literally at the gate for Charleston, Bryan jokingly asked me if I wanted to go there instead. I said that I did, and he told me to look at my boarding pass. After realizing that he had planned a surprise trip, I asked him if he was going to propose (sorry Bryan!). He told me that he wasn’t, and the next thing I knew we were on our way. After a brief shopping trip on King’s Street for shoes that were not Uggs and clothes that were not sweaters, we made our way to our hotel room. Bryan had a big “Will you marry me?” sign hung on the wall and had flowers all around our hotel room. Then he was down on one knee! I was so shocked!

When did y’all get married? April 12, 2013

How many friends, family, and loved ones attended your wedding? 
120

What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? 
E.E. Cummings- I carry your heart. 1 Corinthians 13. Each read by our aunts.

Did you have something borrowed, something blue, and something new? My something blue was my “I Do” stickers on the bottom of my shoes – a must have! My something new was my wedding dress, and something borrowed was the lace from my mom’s wedding dress.

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? 
The distance and the travel. Thank goodness for the amazing Lizz Akerman at Southern Protocol. She made the process easy, but it was still challenging being so many miles away and communicating via phone and email.

What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? 
Lizz Akerman at Southern Protocol. She gets the job done and is so amazing and talented at what she does. We could not have done any of it without her. We are also a little bit obsessed with Paige Winn, and happen to adore Anne Bowen at Stems, Scotti Kline, and Sarah Murdoch at 428 Main.

What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? 
We are looking forward to buying our first house at some point in time and having children, and maybe getting a golden doodle. We’re also going to continue to have more adventures that begin with an idea as crazy as two kids from Baltimore getting married at a plantation in the South. Lastly, we are looking forward to just spending time with our amazing families and with each other.

Photographer: Paige Winn | Videographer: Hart to Hart Media  | Planner: Lizz Akerman | Invitations + Custom Fabric: Scotti Cline Designs | Ceremony Venue: Lowndes Grove Plantation, | Reception Venue: Lowndes Grove Plantation | Florist: Anne Bowen, Stems | Wedding Cake: FISH | Caterer: FISH | Rentals: Sarah Murdoch | Bride’s Gown: La Sposa, Style: Sala | Hair Stylist: Hunter Johnson | Makeup Artist: Jennifer Fernandez | Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Ivy and Aster | Groom’s Attire: J.Crew | Groomsmen Attire: Mens Warehouse

Paige Winn is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
6 Comments
  1. avatar Kat reply

    That cake is to.die.for. and I’m in love with that b&w photo of the groom dipping & kissing his bride on the dance floor! What a fun and romantic wedding!

  2. avatar Lisa reply

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen a hot pink wedding I loved so much! The flowers and invites are so gorgeous and fun, and those cocktail and love signs are perfect!

  3. avatar Occasions In Print reply

    What a gorgeous wedding! Love the “Love” sign that lights up! How unique!

  4. avatar Anna (Lover.ly) reply

    The cake and the stationery are my favorite aspects of this absolutely amazing wedding! The hot pink is just perfect for my good mood, too :)

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With warm-weather days now in full effect, the Southern Weddings gals are taking to the outdoors and #SouthernDoins more than ever. Here’s what we’ve been up to in May, as told by our Instagrams.

1. Emily and I traveled down to the Hilton Head area of South Carolina for a photo shoot. The location was so beautiful, I never wanted to leave!

2. In doing some cleanup at my dad’s house, I found a ton of his old Kodachrome slides with scenes from Virginia in the 80s.

3. Emily traveled to Virginia for an SWV6 shoot, with her azalea co-pilot traveling safely in the passenger seat.

4. Kristin celebrated Memorial Day with an impromptu supper at her aunt and uncle’s house, which was properly dressed for the holiday!

5. We released brand new prints in Lara’s shop!

6. Marissa did her very best not to take this cute little guy home from the shelter. Even though it almost killed her.

7. I traveled down to Atlanta for my sister’s bachelorette weekend and was dying for some peaches as we passed Gaffney’s peach water tower.

8. Since Marissa couldn’t be home on Mother’s Day, she wore her grandmother’s locket with her mama’s photo inside as a sweet reminder of them both.

9. Emily snapped a scene from her and John’s recent day trip to Saxapahaw.


10. Emily spotted this wild clematis on an evening walk.

11. Our sweet tea office chalk art by our very own Emily! It’s so cute, we’re considering turning it into a piece for our shop.

12. Kristin spent the weekend at the South Carolina coast getting sun kissed and eating her weight in hush puppies

13. Lara and Ari brought Grace to Fridays on the Front Porch at the Carolina Inn for some dancin’ and bluegrass!

14. Marissa about died when she saw these adorable tiny cowboy boots her friend has for her baby.

15. Katie Stoops arrived for our shoot in Chapel Hill and snapped this adorable photo of Gracie afterward.

16. This is what happens when Kristin and Marissa have way-too-long Google Hangout meetings. They get silly!

17. Kristin planted her very first baby herb garden!

18. I traveled to the National Stationery Show in New York and loved meeting Natalie Chang in the Kate Spade booth!

What did y’all do in May? What were the highlights of your month?

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
1 Comment
  1. avatar Emily reply

    May was such a busy month! My very best friend got married right in the middle of it and looking back on all those pictures (and the Instagrams from other guests) brings me right back to all that joy and love. It is the best.

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Is it really Friday, y’all? This week flew by with Lara and Emily at engage!13 Biltmore, PowerSheet Set orders flying out the door and new shop goodies coming in. I’m ready for a quiet weekend in after weeks of traveling and getaways.

Monday began with a post that made my mouth water. Marissa told us all about our favorite fried green tomatoes in our Southern Delicacy column.

We may be taking a short break from V6 shoots in June, but that doesn’t mean we’re not prepping for a few in July! Want to be a part of our features? We hope to see you join us in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, as a reader model! See this post for details.

I’m back from the National Stationery Show and I have so much to show you, belles and beaus! Check out my recap of the cutest new designs from stationers across the country. (Part 1 here, Part 2 here.)

Of course, there were way too many fun paper goodies to share in one way. Yesterday, I was back with the final posts in my NSS recap! (Part 3 here, Part 4 here.)

Real Weddings are sweeter than pie!

Audrey + Zane said “I do” in her grandfather’s chicken house. We love the farm details galore! See it here.

For Kelly + Sang, it was love at first sight! We adore their pink Virginia wedding and the wine box ceremony they included. See it here.

Before you go…

Reserve a space on your calendar for the LulaKate sample sale! Bridesmaid dresses, the Little White Dress collection, bridal gowns and ready to wear pieces will be available at the LulaKate store in Charleston from June 20-22. Prices will start at $75!

Be sure to stop by our Facebook Friday for a little somethin’ sweet from Happy Everything Co.!

Enjoy the weekend, my dears!

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
1 Comment
  1. avatar wedding songs reply

    the picture of the boy pulling a face is so cute and funny.

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