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Best Southern Wedding Vendors

by in Main on

We’re just smitten with our new Blue Ribbon Vendors and we can’t wait for y’all to meet them! I couldn’t agree more with Em’s advice on how to find the best wedding vendors. I know I’m a bit partial, but I think our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory is the first place to look because it’s overflowing with the best talent in Dixie. Each one of these vendors is hand-picked, and I’m confident working with whichever one you choose would be a joy. Get to know the newest ladies and gents through some of our favorite interview questions, then click through to their listings to find out more!

Name: 12th Table
Category: Rentals
Where you call home: Nashville, TN
Best piece of advice you can give to brides and grooms? Surround yourself with the people you love and respect and who will stand beside you throughout your marriage.

Full Name: Amber Hatley
Category: Photography
Where you call home: Raleigh, NC
Favorite thing about weddings in the South? The intimate details, Southern hospitality, and of course, mac and cheese!

Full Name: Carrie Joy Osborne
Category: Photography
Where you call home: Marietta, Georgia
Best piece of advice you can give to brides and grooms? Let go. Give yourself permission to just relax and enjoy your wedding day because no matter what happens, you’re marrying your best friend!

Name: Davy Whitener
Category: Photography
Where you call home: Atlanta
Favorite part of a wedding day? The father-daughter dance always gets me. I usually tear up thinking about my two baby girls, even though it’s a long way away!

Name: Enraptured Events
Category: Event Planning & Design
Where you call home: Dallas, Georgia
Favorite thing about weddings in the South? I love the natural beauty of the South. It provides decor that you just can’t get anywhere else. It’s charming and magical at the same time.

Name: Erin Lindsey
Category: Photography
Where you call home: Huntsville, Alabama
Favorite part of a wedding day? My favorite part of a wedding day is when the bride and groom see each other for the first time! It’s always such a beautiful moment and I almost always get choked up!

Full Name: Love Lee Lane
Category: Event Planning & Design
Where you call home: Lithia, FL
Favorite thing about weddings in the South? The rich traditions, twinkling lights, high school sweethearts, charming details, effortless sophistication, warm and inviting friends and family, dancing under the stars, history, and romance! Southern weddings bring such JOY!

Full Name: Meant to Be Boutique
Category: Fashion
Where you call home: Lexington, Kentucky
Best piece of advice you can give to brides and grooms? Life is too precious and too short to live with hesitations–be a team, and love wildly together. Choose joy, be intentional, trust faithfully, serve selflessly, and be adventurous!

Full Name: Pear & Thorn Productions
Category: Videography
Where you call home: Fellsmere, Florida
Favorite part of a wedding day? My favorite moment of a wedding day is the first moment the bride and groom get to be alone together, usually right after the first look or right after the ceremony. I like to sneak around the corner and film because it truly is, in my mind, the purest, most uninhibited moment of the day.

Full Name: Rach Loves Troy Photo + Cinema
Category: Photography
Where you call home: Savannah,GA > Louisville, KY
Best piece of advice you can give to brides and grooms? Don’t choose your vendors based on availability, budget, or because someone told you so. You need to find people who you connect with, who get your vision for your day, and will invest in your relationship.

Full Name: Sunshower Photography
Category: Photography
Where you call home: Charlotte, NC
Favorite thing about weddings in the South? Weddings in the South just seem to celebrate heritage more than any other place on Earth! I love how proud my brides and grooms are to celebrate their college team, their favorite BBQ, or even just their family name!

Full Name: Untamed Heart Photography
Category: Photography
Where you call home: The rolling hills of the Midwest.
Favorite part of a wedding day? When the bride and groom walk up the aisle hand in hand as a freshly married couple. There is so much joy in that moment from everyone. It just blesses my heart to witness it every time!

Check out all of our favorite vendors in the Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory! If you would like to recommend someone (or nominate yourself!), please send me an email!

kristin Written with love by Kristin
1 Comment
  1. avatar Liz Cox reply

    Yay yay yay!! Love y’all! So thankful to be a part of the SW family. Big hugs from KY!

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We often talk about how much we love it when couples pull inspiration from their own stories for their wedding designs, and Mary Beth and Nicholas are a perfect example! Mary Beth said she wanted their evening to feel lush and elegant, like a “black tie version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” They filled the Oxmoor Estate and Gardens with white flowers and lots of greenery, and even had a hanging garden hovering above their dance floor! But the true inspiration for their verdure reception stems from their proposal, where Nicholas jokingly used a blade in place of a ring! By mixing various grasses into the design, they created a dreamy reception with heartfelt meaning. It was the best of both worlds!

Thanks to Bella Grace Studios for sharing Mary Beth and Nicholas’ wedding day with us in our last print issue!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. What was your favorite thing about it? After trying on about 100 dresses (no joke!), I finally found a custom gown at Jin Wang’s studio in San Francisco that I loved. Jin started telling me about the creative process for a custom gown right then, and I was sold. We worked on it together for the better part of a year; it’s such an intense process, but totally worth it as I was so thrilled with the final product. The front of the gown was very simple and the back was accented with gorgeous, ethereal organza details and a long train. The back of the gown was definitely my favorite part!

Since we got married outside at a gorgeous estate with beautiful gardens, I really wanted to keep our flowers simple, but elegant. My planner chose gorgeous blooms in whites and greens. I carried a bouquet composed of white peonies, David Austin garden roses, stock, hydrangeas, and astilbe. The blooms were held together by lace from my mother’s wedding dress and an Italian handkerchief she had given me that morning. Each bridesmaid carried a unique mono-floral grouping of blooms ranging from hydrangeas, stock, peonies, roses, tulips, and calla lilies. I loved this detail, as I think it really complemented the various dresses the girls chose.

Describe your bridesmaids’ dresses. How did you choose them? Having such a large bridal party, I wanted to keep everything simple and soft so that the colors from the garden would really pop, so I asked each of my 13 bridesmaids to choose their own dress in any shade of nude. Designers ranged from Carven to Reformation to La Perla to Stone Cold Fox, among others, and the final product was flawless.
What did the groom and groomsmen wear? Since our wedding was black tie, all 13 of our groomsmen wore classic black tuxedos. Nick wanted to stand out, however, so he chose to wear a formal ivory dinner jacket. I personally loved this detail, as it was a very Southern choice for my very Northern groom.

We considered several different locations for the wedding, including Hotchkiss, Jackson Hole, and Beaver Creek, but when I went to Louisville for my best friend Barrett’s birthday, it just felt like the perfect place, as it’s the city I grew up in and a place that few of my friends had visited before. Seeing Oxmoor Farm for the first time really sealed the deal for me, as it made me feel as if I would be inviting guests into my own home.

Tell us a bit about the wedding ceremony. What part was most special to you? Did you include any special readings? The ceremony was one of the most special parts of the day for me! I will never forget the feeling I had watching Nick’s face as I walked down the aisle, since he rarely gets emotional, but was definitely a bit teary-eyed in that moment. We asked Nick’s future brother-in-law to do a reading and he chose Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116, which was absolutely perfect for us. Another favorite detail was the recessional–we had our string quartet play the chorus of Donna Lewis’ “I Love You Always Forever,” a song Nick and I both adore.
Did you write your own vows? Nope, we chose to keep our vows traditional. Sweet and simple!

What was the design inspiration for your wedding? Why was this design special to you as a couple? If I had to pinpoint exactly where my inspiration came from, it would probably be a black tie version of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”–I wanted the whole evening to feel elegant and lush, with traditional white flowers and tons of greenery everywhere. Since Nick proposed with a blade of grass, I also really wanted various grasses to be mixed into the design, which ended up looking fantastic and feeling meaningful.

I had so much fun at our reception. We had a separate tent for dinner and dancing, and my planner, Lauren Chitwood, did a wonderful job executing my décor vision. I wanted our guests to feel like they were walking into a scene straight out of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” when they entered the tent, and it really did feel just like that–white flowers and greenery everywhere, with a stunning hanging garden over the dance floor. For dinner, we served a summer zucchini ribbon salad with burrata to start, followed by herb and peppercorn encrusted strip steak over creamy cheese grits and spring vegetables. For dessert, we gave every guest a cupcake from Plehn’s Bakery, the very same bakery that made all of my birthday cakes growing up. The Sultans of Swing performed and did a fantastic job. Nick and I danced to Van Morrison’s “Wavelength,” which was one of my favorite parts of the whole night, and the Sultans kept people on the dance floor for the rest of the night playing everything from Frank Sinatra and Etta James to Bruce Springsteen and Justin Timberlake–they were seriously phenomenal. Since our best man and maid of honor had spoken the night before at our rehearsal dinner, my dad was the only person who toasted at the wedding. His speech was incredibly sweet and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only person who became teary-eyed!

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. We initially met as high school students at the Hotchkiss School, a boarding school in Lakeville, Connecticut, but didn’t start dating until six years later in New York after I literally ran into him and broke his sunglasses at my best friend’s house in Newport, Rhode Island. I was so embarrassed at the time, but turns out he wasn’t that phased, as we had a blast together that weekend and he asked me to drinks for the first time the following week!
Describe the proposal: It was a lazy, foggy Saturday morning at home in San Francisco, and Nick surprised me with breakfast in bed. This wasn’t that random, as he loves to cook, but this time, there was a little jewelry box on the tray with a blade of grass inside (I had always joked with my friends that I loved Nick so much that if he proposed with a blade of grass, I’d still say yes, so clearly, this story had gotten back to him!). After I opened that box and lost all ability to speak, he dropped down to one knee beside the bed and pulled out the real ring! We celebrated with friends the following day in Point Reyes, where we shucked and grilled oysters and drank copious amounts of rosé!
How did you prepare for marriage while planning your wedding? We did several premarital counseling sessions over FaceTime with our minister, my cousin Adam Webb, who lives in Atlanta. He had us read The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy Keller. One of the biggest takeaways for both of us was to always aim to do some sort of unselfish act for the other person at least once a week. This simple, but thoughtful, task has already impacted our relationship in the best way!
How many guests attended your wedding? 185
Bride’s favorite detail of the wedding: My favorite details were the blade of grass motif that was carried through everything from the wedding invitations to the décor, the cupcakes from Plehn’s, and the handwritten notes on the escort cards that also served as dance cards. It’s an old-fashioned tradition for women to record the names of the gentlemen with whom she intends to dance at a formal ball, and so Nick and I thought it would be fun to create dance cards for all of our guests to encourage them to seek out dance partners and maybe even meet some new friends. Whether or not they actually found the people listed on their dance card, we’ll never know, but what we do know is that people were on the dance floor the entire evening!
Were there any family traditions you included in the ceremony? I originally wanted to wear “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue” as my mother had done in her wedding. The lace from my mother’s wedding dress that was wrapped around my bouquet was my something old, the wedding dress was new, my mom’s diamond earrings were borrowed, and my sapphire engagement ring was blue. However, Nick surprised me with his grandmother’s earrings, so of course, I wore those instead of my mom’s!
Tell us about your wedding cake or sweets. Growing up in Louisville, I was lucky enough to have a Plehn’s Bakery cake every year for my birthday, so choosing a wedding cake was a no-brainer. Nick is totally obsessed with cupcakes, so rather than serve a traditional Southern groom’s cake, we decided to place a cupcake–either red velvet or lemon with cream cheese icing–on each guest’s plate after we cut the cake. Absolutely delicious!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? We’re excited for everything about the future! As Nick always reminds me when I start to get sad that the wedding and honeymoon are over, these next few months are just the beginning of the rest of our lives! I can’t wait to see what happens for us professionally, I can’t wait to see where we end up buying a house, and I can’t wait to explore the world and raise a family together!

Photographer: Bella Grace Studios | Videographer: Two Rings Wedding Videos | Planner, Designer, Linens, and Lighting: Lauren Chitwood Events | Venue: Oxmoor Farm | Florals: Paul Latham of Lauren Chitwood Events | Caterer: Wiltshire Pantry | Dessert Baker: Plehn’s Bakery | Bride’s Gown and Veil: Jin Wang | Bride’s Shoes: Aquazzura | Bride’s Earrings: Cresalia Jewelers | Hair Stylist: Hali B & Co.| Makeup Artist: Sloan Winters | Bridesmaid Salon: Drybar | Groom’s Dinner Jacket: Saks Fifth Avenue | Paper Goods: Lettered West | Rentals: All Occasions Event Rental | Transportation: R&R Limousine

marissa Written with love by Marissa
3 Comments
  1. avatar Catherine Marks reply

    I love the dance cards idea and all the greenery! What an elegant day!

  2. avatar Bri A reply

    What a beautiful wedding!! I love that she carried the grass theme throughout – what a sweet reminder of the proposal! Such a sweet interview.

  3. avatar Darek Novak reply

    Love the skin tones on this set. So creamy. Beautiful wedding.

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Knowing that so many of you are newly (ish!) sporting an engagement ring, we’ve been working our way through wedding planning must-dos here on the blog for the past few weeks. After several rounds of budget advice, it’s time to move on to vendors: finding them, hiring them, and working with them! For all of our best wedding planning advice in one place, be sure to pick up your copy of the Joyful Wedding Planner!

For many of us, planning a wedding is the first time we’ve had to hire someone – maybe ever, and almost certainly for something creative! It can feel like a lot of pressure to get it right, because your wedding vendors are the folks who will transform your big, precious ideas into a celebration that can be enjoyed by the people you love most. We’ve got a whole roster of vendors we love for browsing, but today we’re taking it one step further and really breaking down the question “how do I find vendors for my wedding?”

Use your network. Naturally, some of the best recommendations come from people you trust. Loved the flowers at your best friend’s wedding? Ask her who she used. And remember, negative reviews can be just as helpful as positive ones!

Ask your vendors. Found a vendor you 100% click with? Ask him for other vendor recommendations. Photographers and planners, especially, work with countless vendors every weekend and can have great insight into the best options in your area.

Look to blogs and magazines. Wedding blogs and magazines can be a wealth of vendor leads, in a number of different ways. Search for real wedding or editorials that took place in your area and follow up with anyone whose work you love. Check to see if they have a vendor directory, usually a hand-picked selection of vendors that have been vetted in some way (ours is called the Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory). And don’t forget print and online advertisements – if you love a publication, chances are you’ll love the vendors that care enough to advertise with them.

There’s a common belief that vendors and venues charge more for the same services as soon as the word “wedding” is mentioned. Surprise! That’s probably true – but for good reason. A once-in-a-lifetime event like a wedding comes with an entirely different set of expectations, pressure, time spent planning, service, and creativity than your average cocktail or bridal party, and a higher price often reflects that. Though it can be hard to justify the expense on the front end of a wedding, talented vendors are worth every penny in the end!

I’d love to hear: how did you find your vendors? Who are your favorites?

emily Written with love by Emily
3 Comments
  1. avatar Joseph Requerme Photo reply

    Usually your suppliers will recommend someone that they trust, so, ask your supplier. Those points you have mentioned are really helpful.

  2. avatar Christine reply

    Yes to all of the above. Also, Instagram can be a great resource to find vendors. Follow beautiful wedding accounts and check to see who they tag. You can discover many wonderful vendors using that method! I found most of my wedding vendors via wedding magazines and trusted wedding websites and blogs (like this one!). I also turned to my wedding planners and their relationships for additional vendor intros. Honestly, the vendor finding process was so much fun!

  3. avatar Bri A reply

    These are such helpful tips because there are so many options out there! I especially love asking vendors that you have a rapport with, because working with someone brings a unique perspective!

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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