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Category: Real Southern Weddings

Bride Mary shares her classic wedding at Idle Hour Country Club!

Fellow classic brides rejoice: we have we got something so good for you today! Meet the darling Mary. Together with her planner, Shelly Fortune, she and her beau Courtney planned a magical wedding day in Kentucky that is Southern and classic perfection (with just the right about of preppy). Y’all, when I look at these images, all I can think of is how absolutely timeless Mary looks in her fabulous Modern Trousseau ballgown! The fully pleated skirt with embossed floral motif and off the shoulder neckline is giving me all the Jackie Kennedy vibes, and I am LOVE-ing it! Of course, her pearl necklace and all-white cascading bouquet is just the icing on the cake. Keep reading to see more of her delightful day (ending with fireworks!!).

Big SW hugs to Lang Thomas for capturing Mary and Courtney’s sweet day!

We buried bourbon a month before and it did the trick with the weather! It was forecasting 90% rain til the Wednesday before the wedding. We also had a bourbon tasting bar at the reception. We used our married monogram for a few details throughout the ceremony and had gardenias (my grandmother’s and dad’s favorite flower) in floral pieces. My engagement ring was old, my dress was new, and my mom lent me a sapphire ring for something borrowed and blue.

My parents got married at Good Shepherd and had their reception at Idle Hour. I grew up going to both places and was baptized and confirmed at Good Shepherd.

What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We used mostly greens in our arrangements rather than full florals.

What did you serve for your wedding cake or dessert? We had a cake with layers of lemon, pistachio, and raspberry champagne. Courtney wanted an ice cream bar instead of a groom’s cake, so that’s what we did!

What was your most memorable moment from your wedding day? The first dance with my new husband – it was so much fun but still so meaningful to spend that time together with our family surrounding us.

What was your favorite detail from your wedding? The band! I LOVED how everyone was glued to the dance floor. It was a blast. And the FIREWORKS!

Tell us your love story in one sentence. We met in medical school in Nashville, Tennessee.
Tell us all about the proposal! Courtney proposed with Mary’s grandmother’s ring as they were leaving for a planned trip to hike Machu Picchu in Peru.
When did y’all get married? June 3, 2017
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 310
Tell us the highlights of finding your wedding dress. I went with my mom, Courtney’s mom, and my two maids of honor who live in New York to Wedding Atelier in New York City.
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? No. We wanted a traditional wedding.
What was one of the most meaningful or special parts of your ceremony? My brother, Wood Van Meter, sang some of Song of Ruth between the readings. Wood is an actor in Washington, D.C.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Our first dance was to “Everlasting Love” by Carl Carlton – Courtney picked it!
What was your favorite thing about wedding planning? Shelly Fortune, 100%. She was so laid-back but simultaneously on top of it. I was never stressed.
What was the hardest part about planning your wedding? Being in medical school and simultaneously applying for medical residency! Courtney and I are both at the Mayo Clinic, he for orthopedics and me for obstetrics and gynecology.
What advice would you give to someone currently planning a wedding? Take your time in a longer engagement!

Photographer: Lang Thomas Photography | Videographer: Carl S. Miller Wedding Films | Planner: Shelly Fortune Event Design | Ceremony Venue: Good Shepherd Episcopal Church | Reception Venue and Caterer: Idle Hour Country Club | Florist: Magnolia Floral Design and Interiors | Wedding Cake: Tinker’s Cake Shop | Band: The Big Beyond via Sam Hill Entertainment | Bride’s Gown: Modern Trousseau | Hair and Makeup: Pink Lou Lou Design Studio | Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Groomsmen Attire: The Black Tux

marissa Written with love by Marissa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Paula Dance reply

    Beautiful pictures, very classy wedding. The fireworks picture is a lovely touch :)

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Bride Maiya shares her glamorous Hitching Post Hill wedding filled with dark, moody florals.

During our editorial shoot season, I search through hundreds of gorgeous gowns to find just the right ones to tell the sartorial stories in our print features. And I’ll admit, I occasionally play favorites. I may also play favorites with our real weddings gowns. I can’t help it!

So as the fashionista in the office, I am extra excited for y’all to meet Maiya! Her Calla Blanche is currently giving me all the heart eyes. I mean, the glamorous, beaded bodice; the classic, A-line satin skirt; and that dramatic, deep V back? Y’all. It’s the perfect fit for her dark, moody florals and the “formal but not stuffy,” dinner party vibe she and her beau Ryan worked with their vendors to create (think: “when men wore formal dinner jackets to meals at home,” says Maiya.) This Mad Men-loving gal can absolutely get on board with that!

Thanks for sharing, Robert Chicoine!

I developed the idea for patterns while hand-creating the invitation suite. It was a two-dimensional opportunity to select patterns, colors, textures, and metallic, similar to selecting finishes for a house but in paper form. Once I found an invite card, a discontinued wallpaper that I used to line the envelopes, a gold, black, and white floral paper, and fabric studs, I had all the same elements I’m used to working with on a much smaller scale. The diamond-shaped studs on the band holding the papers together once again pulled together patterns as a theme for our wedding. Using the thermography heater was one of the most fun projects, I used it to seal each invite closed with our gold foil crest, which I then also used to create custom name place cards for each guest that also contained the menu for the evening.

Being a designer and a creative type, any time a textile needed to be chosen I was in heaven. So for my bridesmaid dresses, I placed a lot of pressure on myself to come up with something unique. I’m still a little impressed by how well it worked out. Once I found the first dress that had a lattice pattern on it, I decided to see how I could incorporate that pattern within the moody dusty color palette I was working with. I love the pattern because it reminds me of spending time in formal English gardens; it was a nice nod to my heritage. My florist will tell you that the only color that was off the table was red. And any other colors were fair game so long as they had a patina and richness to them. All of the dresses were unique, but incorporated the diamond and floral lattice pattern. The colors all blended so well with each other and incorporated many of the details I love most in fashion: lace, brocade, silk chiffon, and beading. While I selected all of the dresses, they decided who wanted to wear what.

Being able to relax during cocktail hour and enjoying the company of our guests was important for us, so planning a first look was the smartest choice. Our close friend and photographer, Robert Chicoine, also encouraged us to do a first look because he knew how important capturing real emotion in the photographs would be. He was also working with film and wanted to capture as much natural light as possible. When we met with all our vendors, we emphasized the importance of the evening feeling as though we were hosting a large dinner party. My exact words were something obnoxious like “imagine when men wore formal dinner jackets to meals at home.” We both like formality but not stuffiness, and knowing our guests came from all over the world to celebrate with us, we didn’t want to miss a single minute of our party. By having a first look, we were able to take a few moments of time for ourselves to reflect and enjoy before the day became the happiest blur of our lives.

I ultimately found my dress while shopping in New York with one of my bridesmaids and my husband’s cousin. We spent the weekend in a cloud of white dresses, delicious food, and laughter. After pulling apart the boutiques and doing everything they tell you not to do (including trying on dresses without knowing how much they cost), my friend found the perfect dress with the most elegant beading and a full satin skirt. I tried it on at Wedding Atelier and immediately knew it was the one. When else in my life would I be able to wear something like that?

Isn’t there a saying about how the best things are in your own backyard? We searched all over the country for a wedding venue and ended up finding the perfect location less than a mile from our house. We knew we wanted a small intimate feeling for our wedding, but the elegance and grandness you find on old historic plantations and manors. Having too much or too little space can impact the entire feel of the event. Most of the beautiful spaces we toured either required serious décor changes or impossible-to-find rentals to realize our vision. When we first toured Hitching Post Hill, we immediately felt at home with enough feeling of wonder and curiosity because of the owner’s one-of-a-kind French art collections and old-world charm. Hitching Post Hill had all of the things we were looking for: historical significance, a beautiful huge front porch, and owner/proprietors with impeccable taste.

What were some of the most meaningful or special parts of your ceremony? Did you write your own vows? One of the most special parts of our ceremony was what was unplanned. Put simply, we got married in the most beautiful living room I have ever encountered. The living room was our “plan B” in case of rain but during our planning stages, it was more of a joke. It wasn’t going to rain on our wedding day! We were going to get married on the front lawn with the estate in the background! Well it rained, for both our rehearsal dinner and wedding day.

Our officiant took the opportunity to surprise us during the ceremony and go off-script, making us turn to face everyone standing with us during our short ceremony. We stood and reflected about how as one unit, our support system of family and friends (literally) stood with us as we took our vows and began our married life. We wrote our own vows, taking pieces of our beliefs that we plan to hold each other to throughout our life. We also decided rather than each repeating vows separately we would repeat the words together, starting our promise to each other in unison. Just as we plan to travel through life, as one!

What was your most memorable moment from your wedding day? The entire day was overwhelmingly beautiful. We will never forget the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to gather all of our family and friends in one place, share dinner under the stars, listen to live music, and dance the night away.

What was your favorite detail from your wedding? Seeing the transformation that our florist, Porter and Ives, made to our venue! She made the outdoor tent and carriage house into a candlelit outdoor garden room complete with bowls overflowing with fruit for our dinner feast under a 300+ year old champion tree. The vines she hung in our ceremony space were a work of art, and the heirloom roses she works with filled the house and tent with an unbelievable scent. Working with the owners of Hitching Post Hill was also an amazing experience. They are talented graphic designers and had so many unique objects that we wove into the outdoor area as well, such as fireplace mantels and original doors that we placed inside the tent to create a magical warm environment.

What was Southern about your wedding? An outdoor dinner party under a 300+ year old champion tree nestled next to a Greek revival house and taking portraits on the wrap-around porch is about as Southern as it gets. Our band and dance floor used to be a carriage house. We also used Southern touches such as old fashioned drinks from the bar, sweet potato pie as part of our dessert spread, lawn games, and had tons of green, white, and peach pumpkins from Ryan’s family farm.

Tell us your love story in one sentence. College sweethearts who fell in love in the rain.
Tell us all about the proposal! Ryan picked me up from work on a Friday evening to celebrate our five-year anniversary. Little did I know, he had been busy working with a local jeweler to design my engagement ring and incorporate stones from his grandmother into the setting. (Cue the tears.) He proposed on the roof of the Kennedy Center overlooking the monuments in DC. The part of the story he loves to tell is that I made him propose twice. It all happened so quickly and I was in such a state of amazement that I barely remembered him getting down on one knee and I wanted to cement it in my mind. So I asked him to get down on one knee again. Of course, the natural thing to ask of someone who just confessed their love to you is to make them do it again.
When did y’all get married? October 1st, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 70+
Tell us the highlights of finding your wedding dress. My friends and family know that I like to wear well-structured clothing with embellished details, so searching for a wedding gown online and in magazines was frustrating because nothing seemed right. I wanted the skirt from one, the beading from another, the fabric of another dress, and the back of a top in my closet. For years my mother has catered to my fashion whims and helped me create items that suit my petite frame. My mother has altered almost every dress I have ever worn. So when I started to look for a wedding dress, I knew no matter what, I was not going to put her through that for this. But she gave me the foundation and appreciation for what a quality dress should look and feel like.
What was your favorite thing about wedding planning? Taking my love of interior design and using those same visual cues and inspirations with event design was an incredible experience. I couldn’t believe how similar the planning was. I worked with familiar things but in a different way. For example, I subtly infused a diamond-shape pattern and large dark moody florals to many aspects of the design in order to give the feeling of a Dutch still life painting. As a theme, they found their way into my bridesmaid dresses and onto the invitations, china, and tablescape. It was something that few people probably noticed, but was a key component to unifying the look. That’s how I like to create unfussy unity in spaces.
What advice would you give to someone currently planning a wedding? Don’t get too caught up in the process and forget the reasons why you are getting married. We kept our future marriage and our love and respect for each other at the top of our priority list. Planning our wedding was a way to share our love with those most important to us. If you and your partner are not already a team, become one. This is not the time to not communicate as a unit. Always have a plan B, acknowledge that some things are outside of your control, and that you just have to let some things go. But stay on top of your planning early so that everything two days out (if not sooner) can be forgotten about. Re-read every contract you are sent with a magnifying glass and recognize that no one, not even your wedding planner, cares more about your wedding than you do. That is 100% normal and to be expected.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I borrowed my mom’s earrings, blue was covered by the sapphire ring I received from one of my mother’s closet friends at my bridal shower that my amazing bridesmaids planned for me. My something old was my great-grandmother’s diamond and sapphire art deco bracelet, and the new item, no surprise, was my dress. And since I was planning on dancing all night, I didn’t put a six pence in my shoe.

Photographer: Robert Chicoine | Venue: Hitching Post Hill | Florist: Porter & Ives | Wedding Cake: Buttercream Bake Shop | Caterer: Spilled Milk Catering | Rentals: Select Event Group | Band: Bachelor Boys Band | Paper Products: Handmade by the Bride | Bride’s Gown: Calla Blanche | Bride’s Veil: Veiled Beauty | Bride’s Jewelry: Charles Schwartz & Son | Bridal Salon: Wedding Atelier | Hair and Makeup: Natalie and Jeff of Style Me Bar | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Rent the Runway | Bouquet Ribbons: Silk & Willow | Groom’s Attire: Charles Tyrwhitt | Rehearsal Dinner Venue: Cipolla Rossa | Robes: Le Rose Gifts | Guest Accommodations, After Party, and Farewell Brunch: The Mayflower Hotel

marissa Written with love by Marissa
2 Comments
  1. avatar Mimi Winkelvoss reply

    It was a magical night and Maiya’s talent and effort took your breath away. She was truly the most beautiful bride I have ever seen!

  2. avatar Jackie reply

    What a beautiful wedding. I love the rich color palette.

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Bride Lauren shares her outdoor wedding at Magnolia Plantation and Gardens!

Where are my Bluegrass State gals? Today’s bride, Lauren, and her beau, Paul, are Kentucky natives, and did such a fabulous job of combining their pride in their home state with the beauty of their wedding destination (Charleston – always a good idea!). “‘Family’ and ‘Southern’ have always gone hand in hand for me,” Lauren told us, and by that marker, her wedding was a perfect fit for SW.

From dress shopping with a slew of family members to a ceremony arch built by Paul and his brother to pecan pralines lovingly made by Lauren and her mama, this wedding exudes homespun love and style. I’ll let Lauren tell you more about it, though, so keep reading for all of the details!

Thanks to Blue Ribbon Vendor The Happy Bloom for sharing Lauren and Paul’s day with us!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? We love traveling, so we always planned on doing a destination wedding. We visited Charleston while we were engaged and immediately fell in love with the natural beauty of the Magnolia Plantation and Gardens. The plantation was founded in the 1600s and has so many beautiful and historic details. We held our ceremony on the banks of the Ashley River underneath the live oaks, which were draped in Spanish moss. I can’t imagine a more perfect place for a traditionally Southern wedding!

I’m very family oriented, and I loved dress shopping with my mother, sister, and nieces! We loved seeing all the different styles and had so much fun trying them on. I knew I wanted a lot of lace and embellishments, so finding my Kenneth Winston “Ella Rosa” dress was so exciting. It was simple yet elegant, which is exactly what I wanted, and the dramatic train sealed the deal!

What were some of the most meaningful parts of your ceremony? One of the most special parts of the ceremony was the reading performed by our eleven-year-old niece, Avery. She read ‘I carry your heart with me,’ by e.e. cummings. We practiced together for weeks, and she did so perfectly. I also shared my walk from the bridal suite to the altar with both my stepfather and my father. They have both played such a big role in my life, and I was so happy that I got to include them both.

Did you decide to do a first look? We did. Seeing my husband before the ceremony was so reassuring, and made a world of difference in calming my nerves. It also really helped with our photography timeline and allowed us to enjoy our reception immediately after the ceremony ended!

What was your favorite detail from your wedding? My favorite detail was our arch, which was built by my husband and brother-in-law. We draped the arch with ivory fabric for an elegant look and Lori Denicola from Petaloso attached a beautiful bunch of eucalyptus in the corner. The fact that it was built by my husband made it that more special!

We live in Kentucky and we tried to include details from home in our special day. Our first dance was a song about love and the mountains where we live. We also served bourbon and bourbon pecan pies to tie in our Kentucky bourbon heritage. My mother and I also made homemade pecan pralines to give as favors. Family and “Southern” have always gone hand-in-hand to me!

Our cake was almond flavored and had a simple, white buttercream icing draped in flowers and greenery. We used greenery throughout our wedding to tie in the natural beauty of the gardens on the plantation. Our groom’s cake featured a handmade wooden topper with a kayaking couple that read, “Adventure awaits the Durhams.” My husband loves white water kayaking, so it was very special to him!

Tell us all about the proposal! Two years ago we planned a vacation to Kauai. We love hiking and spending time outdoors, so we spent most of our time exploring the beautiful island. A few days before we left, we hiked out to a cliff overlooking the ocean and the mountains of the Na Pali coastline. Paul set up our camera to “take some pictures,” and when we reached the overlook, he got down on one knee and proposed!
When did y’all get married? May 18, 2017
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 60
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding. For the bridal processional, we used Elvis’s “Can’t Help Falling In Love,” which was performed by our string violin-cello duo. My father is a huge Elvis fan and I always remember him singing Elvis songs throughout the house growing up! For our first dance, we chose “Shake the Frost,” by Tyler Childers. It’s a song by a local artist about love and the beautiful mountains of Kentucky where we live.
What was your favorite thing about wedding planning? Seeing our vision come to life! We planned our wedding from several states away and it was difficult to make all the important planning decisions from a distance, so I was unsure of how everything would turn out. In the end, everything came together so smoothly and perfectly and was far better than I had ever imagined!
What was the hardest part about planning your wedding? Indecision. Charleston has a huge wedding industry and there were so many beautiful options available for everything from rentals to flowers to food!
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $10,000-$25,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We had a very DIY attitude towards our wedding. My husband built our arch at home and we brought it to Charleston with us. My mother and I made homemade favors. I also provided most of the decor myself and was able to find many things on sale or while bargain hunting!
What was your most memorable moment from your wedding day? Our first look was very emotional. I was crying as soon as we reached the area where Paul was! It was so overwhelming to see him for the first time on our wedding day and made all of the hard work and planning so worth it!
What advice would you give to someone currently planning a wedding? You truly can’t do it alone. Our wedding coordinator was invaluable during our rehearsal and ceremony! She made the experience so much more stress-free for me. I would also advise including details that are fun for both them and their guests. We had an open bar, photo booth, and s’mores bar by the fire pit on the patio and our guests really enjoyed these details!

Photographer: The Happy Bloom | Planner: Holly Simpson with A Charleston Event | Ceremony and Reception Venue: The Magnolia Plantation and Gardens | Florist: Petaloso | Wedding Cake or Dessert Baker: Sablee | Caterer: Crazy Dutchman Catering | Rentals: Eventworks | Draping: Pure Luxe Bride | Band or DJ: Becky Lawson | Music: Charleston String Instruments | Paper Products: Minted | Bride’s Gown: BE295 by Ella Rosa | Bride’s Accessories and Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Hair Stylist: Valarie Bishop of The Cutting Edge | Makeup Artist: TeRae Reed | Bridesmaid Dresses: Adrianna Pappell | Groom and Groomsmen Attire: Stafford

The Happy Bloom is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
2 Comments
  1. avatar The Happy Bloom reply

    Thank you for the lovely feature! xoxo! Happy Monday!

  2. avatar Svilen {Svatben Fotograf} reply

    Stunning photos, bright and crisp! Love the detail shots!

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