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Southern Weddings

It’s safe to say that when it comes to hospitality, Southerners have a knack for taking things up a notch! One of my very favorite memories from Bridal Market last year was when Alabama-based designer Heidi Elnora invited Kristin and I to see her new collection. Instead of seating us at a runway show, she had us over at the AirBNB she and her team were staying in for the week, offered us PB&J sandwiches and M&Ms, and let us spend as much time as we wanted admiring each and every gown. After days of running around the city in our highest heels, it was such a breath of fresh air to experience such gracious Southern hospitality! This is one of SO many reasons we were thrilled to learn about Heidi’s latest and greatest project: the heidi elnora Atelier, located right in the heart of Birmingham. She poured her heart into turning this downtown warehouse into the ultimate destination for brides, and I’m completely confident that any gal would feel comfortable and confident while dress shopping at the gorgeous space she created!

Tell us about the beginnings of the heidi elnora Atelier—why did you want to open the atelier, and how did you get started?
Heidi:
Ever since I started heidi elnora 10 years ago, I have dreamed of owning my own building. It was one of the many items on my bucket list. Last summer, after my reality show aired on TLC, I decided to start looking for a permanent place to set up shop. Lo and behold, there she was, an empty brick box that was built in 1891 on the most perfect cobblestone street, Morris Avenue, in downtown Birmingham, Alabama. I immediately contacted my husband and my real estate agent, and within a few days, we were under contract!

Tell us about the renovation process! How did you find the space and transform it to fit your vision?
Heidi:
I basically bought an 8,000 sq. ft. empty box (no plumbing, electrical or HVAC), but to me, it was the perfect canvas to begin creating my atelier. I basically became a general contractor for seven months, making sure that every wall, plug, paint color, and detail was perfection. I would literally be at the building every morning to discuss the daily plans with my builder, and every night, I was on Pinterest and Houzz, pulling ideas and additional details together. The majority of the goods used in the building were sourced locally from wood mills, iron workers, local artisans, and even a rock quarry from Alabama for a specific local marble for the mini bar in the bridal suites. (Yep, we have a mini bar in the bridal suites–you never know when you need to celebrate with rosé!)

Just for fun, here are a few before pictures!

Tell us about what y’all offer to brides and gals.
Heidi:
We offer everything, from our 70+ wedding gowns from our three collections (heidi elnora, Build-a-Bride, and Hello Darling), to creating a couture gown from scratch (brides fly in from all over the country for this), to buying your bridal lingerie (For Love and Lemons), wedding shoes (Harriet Wilde and Badgley Mischka), veils, accessories, garters, rehearsal dinner dresses, and bridesmaid and hostess gifts. The heidi elnora Atelier can dress you from head to toe and everywhere in between!

What sets the heidi elnora Atelier experience apart from other bridal salons?
Heidi:
What sets the heidi elnora Atelier apart from other bridal salons is that I took the BEST pieces and practices from all the stores that I sell to or have visited and incorporated them into the atelier, creating the ULTIMATE bridal experience. I call the atelier the “Barbie dream bridal boutique” because it is just that–it’s EVERYTHING!

What is your single best tip for a bride about to start shopping for her wedding gown?
Heidi:
Stay true to who you are. Do not allow friends, family, or a bridal stylist to persuade you into wearing something that doesn’t make your heart smile. You have to LOVE your dress…almost as much as you love your fiancé :)

Do you have a favorite memory of the heidi elnora Atelier?
Heidi:
It’s probably people’s expressions when they see it for the first time. It’s truly lovely–all 8,000 sq. ft. of it.

What is your current favorite wedding dress in the store? If you were to get married tomorrow, what dress would you wear?
Heidi:
I would probably have to go with one of the dresses from my Hello Darling line. They are more relaxed in terms of fitm and very lightweight. They are light-hearted and full of whimsy, and that is where I am now being a mother of two little boys.

What is your favorite memory from your own wedding day?
Heidi:
Seeing my sweet fiancé/now-husband, Jeff, at the end of the aisle, and knowing that I was getting to spend the rest of my life with him.

What is the single greatest lesson you’ve learned in business?
Heidi:
That God has got this. All of my worrying does nothing to move things faster, or make things happen more efficiently.

Name three items every gal should have in her closet.
Heidi:
A great pair of comfy black jeans with the knees cut out, a chandelier, and an organized shoe closet with lots of year-round boots.

Thank you so much, Heidi! Be sure to follow along with her and her gorgeous atelier here:

Website | Atelier website | Facebook | Twitter | Heidi’s Instagram | heidi elnora Atelier Instagram

This post is brought to you by heidi elnora Atelier–thanks for your support of the brands that make Southern Weddings possible!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
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Seersucker, Spanish moss, a gracious plantation home, and a beautiful (real life!) couple in love: sounds like just the ticket for Southern Weddings! Allison Pedigo and Elizabeth Marie Weddings & Events put together these details, inspired by the Lowcountry of South Carolina and the hospitality we all hope to offer on our wedding days and in newlywed life. Don’t miss the beautiful wreaths on the venue doors and at the reception table, and the joyful petal toss at the end!

From the team:

Incorporating a taste of South Carolina was important to us, not only for the sake of matching our backdrop, but in helping our viewers take a front seat and truly feel the essence of the Palmetto State — a place where porch sitting takes precedence over air conditioning and southern hospitality is just a way of life. My trips to South Carolina as a kid growing up consisted of beach visits, lagoons, humidity, popsicles and our annual Low Country Boil. Since sending guests home with Frogmore Stew wasn’t an option, we opted for a homemade starter for “guests” to enjoy at their leisure.

We began the day by photographing our bride as she went about her quiet, thoughtful morning, taking a moment to reflect on the commitment she would soon make to her groom. We created two separate spaces — one which was a sweetheart table for our couple after they wed in front of the estate, the other for their guests to enjoy the reception under the shade of the large, live oak that greets you upon stepping foot on the property. We ended the day with a whimsical, petal send-off as they exited down the long pathway as bride and groom.

Our bride and groom had recently wed before we planned our collaboration, so it was truly a joy to capture raw emotion and excited banter between the two throughout. Brandy and Drew have a love like none other, and I love how their adoration and newlywed giddiness show through in this collection of images.

Photographer: Allison Pedigo | Venue: Wavering Place Plantation | Planning and design: Elizabeth Marie Weddings & Events | Floral design: Camille & Gray | Makeup: Lee Chamberlain with Studio O2 | Bridal gown, sheer skirt, and jewelry: White Magnolia Bridal | Groom’s suit: Suit Supply | Invitation suite and favor tags: That Pretty Invitation | Silk ribbon: Silk and Willow | Cakes: Izzabee’s Confectionaries | China, napkins, flatware, and glass favor jars: Crate & Barrel | White chiavari chairs: Party Reflections

emily Written with love by Emily
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  1. avatar Amy South reply

    Beautiful!

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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I admit it: I’m a product junkie! However, even my love for trying beauty products has its limits, which is where tried and true favorites come in. It’s even better when said favorites are inexpensive and easy to snag at the drugstore! Since we had so much fun with our last Southern Style post, I’ve asked my darling colleagues to share their current favorite drugstore beauty buys. They’ve shared their go-tos below, as well as some extra details about their top picks!

I have the same theory about lashes as I do about hair: the bigger the better! Seriously, I would wear false lashes every day if I could, but for now I’ll stick to special occasions and our team shoots. Our friend Sam, from Lula Hair and Makeup recommended Ardell “Wispies” to me a few years back, and they instantly became my go-to lashes.

Chapstick | Anti-residue shampoo | Top coat | Nail polish remover wipes | Ardell “Wispies”

I’m a creature of habit when it comes to my nail polish colors (pale pink or coral for the win!), so if I’m feeling adventurous about trying a new color, my go-to is NYC Longwearing Nail Polish. It dries quickly, is only 99 cents, and is the easiest way to try out a new color without investing in a $10 bottle of polish!Jess

Matte balm | Nail polish | Cleanser | Mascara

Dry shampoo is probably one of the greatest inventions out there for long and thick-haired girls like me. I love the Batiste line, and the cherry scent is one of my favorites!Amber

Dry shampoo | Nail polish

Since I am a bit militant about sunscreen and keeping my face in the shade, the only way for me to achieve a “sunkissed glow” is with bronzer. I’ve been using Neutrogena Healthy Blends for years, and it does the trick!Emily

Mascara | Neutrogena Healthy Blends | Dove bar soap

I never go out of town without these Say Yes to Cucumber wipes in my cosmetic bag (they’re perfect for traveling). I’ve also been known to reach from them after a long work day, when washing my face seems just too complicated.Kristin

Matte lip pen | Aveeno Daily Moisturizer | Yes To wipes | Mascara

It’s a 10 Miracle Leave-In Product is my secret weapon for long hair! It has 10 different functions, from protecting against split ends to adding shine. I especially love that since it’s a cream that’s applied as a spray, it doesn’t weigh my hair down.Lisa

Essie nail polish | Makeup remover wipes | ColorBurst Matte Balm | It’s a Ten

I love Burt’s Bees! I’ve been using this stuff for years, and putting a dab of the minty balm on my lips always makes me feel a little more fresh and put together, even though it’s colorless. I always have one in my bag and one at home!Nicole

Coral polish | Revlon lipstick | Cream eyeliner | Burts Bees | Grapefruit body wash

What’s your favorite drugstore staple?

marissa Written with love by Marissa
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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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