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When I began pulling inspiration for my future engagement ring back in my dating days, of course I considered a classic diamond. But, this was 2010, Prince William and Kate had just gotten engaged, and so I also loved the idea of a sapphire ring. After trying and failing (!) to convince my Mom to let me use her right-hand sapphire ring as my engagement ring, I was excited to consider some colored options when John and I visited our local jewelry store to browse.

Sadly, the (otherwise very nice) clerk immediately steered us away from colored stones, and I reluctantly gave up the idea. Had I known about Leibish & Co. at the time, today I might be rocking a pretty blue ring on my left hand, but since I’m not, at least there’s hope for all you fancy colored diamond lovers out there! I’m excited to show you what Leibish & Co. has in store today, including, of course, sapphire engagement rings :)

Leibish & Co. is an internationally-recognized specialist and online dealer of natural fancy colored diamonds and colored diamond jewelry, like ruby engagement rings. The business began in 1979 and today is a leading supplier to renowned jewelers, designers, and manufacturers throughout the world, as well as stylish and sentimental brides and grooms! We have a soft spot for family businesses, and Leibish & Co. definitely qualifies – it’s helmed by a father and his five children.

Leibish & Co.’s stones are mined in Australia, Africa, India, and Russia and all come from legitimate, conflict-free sources. I was also happy to see that their selection is one of the largest online, with fancy and ideal cuts in hues, clarities, and sizes set for any budget.

In addition to ruby and sapphire beauties, they also have an enviable collection of emerald engagement rings. To browse their full selection and learn more about colored diamonds, visit their website!

And I’d love to hear: did you ever consider, or do you proudly wear, an engagement ring with a colored stone?

This post is brought to you by Leibish & Co. Thank you for your support of the brands who make Southern Weddings possible!

emily Written with love by Emily
2 Comments
  1. avatar Catherine Marks reply

    These are so pretty! I have a normal diamond, but I love to see a colored stone engagement ring! I am also partial to sapphires, as it’s my birthstone, but I love emeralds too.

  2. avatar Bri A reply

    I love that this sweet company is being highlighted (and amazing use of the word helmed!). I’ve always dreamed of a colored side stone and I love the two tone settings shown here!! Side note: I’d love to see a post on choosing your own ring vs being surprised. I have a pretty specific dream ring but would also love to see what my future hubs comes up with… I know there are so many perspectives and I’m curious what others think!

    Thanks!
    Xo

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How about a sweet-as-pie love story for your Thursday, belles? Ellie and Grayson are University of Virginia sweethearts whose friendship turned into a budding romance over a summer spent writing letters to each other. After Ellie found out Grayson had called her daddy to ask if he could take Ellie on a date, they never looked back. Their relationship grew thoughtfully and intentionally–despite their busy college schedules, they kept a standing Wednesday garden date to reconnect, share their joys and challenges, and pray for each other. Fittingly, Grayson got down on one knee during the last garden date of their college careers! Just five months later, these two were married right down the road at Castle Hill Cider, where the talented Mallory Joyce helped them pull their vision of a “refined comfort” aesthetic to life. I love the way they combined family heirlooms, local flowers, and even custom art to create a celebration that was as gorgeous as it was meaningful!

Thank you so much to Elisa Bricker for sharing this dreamy day with us!

My grandma, mom, and I went to a small boutique in my hometown of Louisville. It was a place I’d passed many times growing up, never knowing when I’d wander in looking for my wedding dress! I tried on a bunch of dresses but was not enamored by any of them. After an hour or so, we decided to call it a day. On our way out, I quickly browsed a few more racks, just to make sure I hadn’t missed any. Tucked in the back, I found my dress. I knew it was the one before it came off the hanger. I tried it on and it was perfect!

Describe your wedding flowers. Our wedding planner, Mallory Joyce, is also an incredibly gifted florist (a woman with many talents!). The vision of our wedding was simple and organic. In keeping with that, she prioritized local flowers that were in season. Everything from the bouquets to the decorative flowers felt freshly picked and naturally beautiful.

We did not do a first look. We both felt convinced we wanted our first look to be the moment when we locked eyes at opposite ends of the aisle. And we are so glad we waited. That moment, when my laughing eyes met his tear-filled eyes, is one I will never forget. Never before has the world been so silenced. The only thing that mattered in that moment was that I was walking forward to marry my best friend.

We had our good friends play our ceremony music, which was really meaningful. While we loved the songs we chose, it was even more special that the beautiful music came from our talented friends! I walked down the aisle to a musical version of the hymn “All Creatures of Our God and King,” which was a beautiful expression of the joy and thanksgiving we had on that day. We walked back up the aisle to the piano and violin playing Ben Rector’s “Brand New.” We’d danced, laughed, and celebrated to that song during our engagement season, so it was fitting to kick off our marriage with such a celebratory and dance-worthy song. One thing we loved about our ceremony is that my grandparents were our ring bearers! They have been married for over 50 years and are still madly in love. They have a relationship based on faith and friendship, something Grayson and I hope to emulate. Grayson and I look up to them in so many ways, and it was incredibly significant to have them present our rings to us. We hope and pray our marriage will look like theirs in 50 years. They still go camping in a favorite spot in North Carolina, for goodness sake!

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? At the beginning of our wedding planning, I was already stressing about some detail. Grayson sat me down and said, “Ellie, no matter how hard you plan, something is going to go wrong.” While this may sound a tad pessimistic, he was completely right. Some people didn’t receive the invitation we sent, expenses were higher than estimated, the list could go on. However, I held on to the second part of Grayson’s advice: “We are still going to be married, let’s keep our focus and joy set on that.” In twenty years (maybe even five), the little mishaps have no place compared to the immense joy of entering the covenant of marriage and celebrating that with all of your favorite people.

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I completed about 75% of the borrowed, blue, old, and new…does that count? The most significant was my something old. I got to wear my mom’s veil! The best part was that it matched my dress perfectly, and we didn’t even plan it that way. The lace appliqué detail on the veil resembles the appliqué on the skirt of my dress–something we discovered after we’d ordered the dress! I admire my parents’ relationship so much, and it was sweet to wear the veil that was with them at the start of their marriage.

Our relationship began in Charlottesville and it was really important to us that we were married there. The rolling Virginia hills hold so many memories, and it was only fitting that our wedding was in Charlottesville. We chose Castle Hill Cider for both our ceremony and reception because we had gone to a sorority formal there and loved the beauty of the setting and facilities.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: We love collecting art when we travel, something to hang in our home and capture the memories of our experiences. We wanted to carry that tradition into our wedding for our guests to enjoy! Our stationery artist, Jessica McSweeney, painted a watercolor of Castle Hill with the backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains. At each place setting, we had a 4×4 print of the piece with each guest’s name attached as a vellum overlay. We wrote a note on the back to welcome and thank our guests and share the story behind the painting. It is our hope that our guests took the watercolor home as a symbol of our gratitude for the impact they’ve had on our lives.

Despite good intentions, we did nothing to prepare for our first dance–no dance lessons or even living room practices to our song. That said, we’ve had years of learning each others’ dance moves from many formals and spontaneous swing dancing events. We walked onto the dance floor, totally unprepared, and all credit to Grayson, we nailed it. We danced our hearts out, dipping, spinning, and swinging our way across the dance floor to the song “(I Love You) More Today than Yesterday.” It was the most beautiful culmination of our years of dancing through life together, and foreshadowed a life of celebration and rejoicing together.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. It was freshman year at the University of Virginia and I was on my way out of a class when I noticed a familiar face holding the door for me (a true gent). I recognized Grayson from a brief encounter after our Christian fellowship’s weekly gathering. I reintroduced myself to him as we made our way back to our neighboring dorms. We quickly realized we had a lot in common, including our aspiration to apply for the business major. That sparked many hours spent studying together for the classes we shared. Rumors buzzed that we were dating after we were spotted having lunch after class in the cafeteria (gasp!), which we completely denied for the remainder of our freshman year–we had effectively “friend-zoned” each other. Summer came, and Grayson worked as a counselor for a camp where he grew up spending summers. Without cell service to keep in touch, Grayson struck up letter writing with me. I started to fall for this boy who wrote me letters, and returned to school eagerly anticipating what it could bring for the two of us. I mean, he wrote me letters…that must mean something, right?! Our nonchalant first interaction after summer quickly deflated any hopes I had. Little did I know that Grayson was definitely interested, but wanted to play his cards close to his chest until he know I had a sweet spot for him. Thus began the stalemate: both interested, both too scared to do anything about it! One day, when I was on the verge of giving up hope, I received a call from my mom telling me that Grayson had reached out to my dad asking if he could take me out for a date–a gesture that landed Grayson major points with my Southern-mannered dad. After a few dates hiking and brunching, Grayson finally revealed his admiration for me, and I got to do the same for him. We started slow, but our relationship was so worth the wait! We both really value the firm foundation of friendship on which our relationship began.
Tell us all about the proposal! We had a standing garden date every Wednesday of our senior year. We asked each other the same seven questions weekly and jotted down each other’s answers in a shared notebook. The consistency of the questions helped us realize growth and challenges, as our answers changed weekly. It was through this structure of seven questions that we began our discussions around marriage. On our last Wednesday date of our college career, I showed up in the garden as usual. Although it had been torrentially raining that morning, the sun decided to pop out just in time for our date. We struck up conversation and per routine, we whipped out our notebook of seven questions. We went through the first few, answering questions about joys, challenges, ways we could serve each other better, and prayer requests. Then came the question, “Is there anything left unsaid between us?” When it came Grayson’s turn to answer, he started speaking in poem! Grayson recited a thirty-line poem that he had written about the history of our relationship and the reasons he wanted to call me his wife. He ended with, “So get up now and stand, as I get down on one knee, Elizabeth McKinnon, will you marry me?” and of course, I said “yes!” Not only did Grayson plan the perfect proposal, he had also planned a surprise engagement party with 200 of our friends that evening. We had friends who had walked alongside us through every phase of our relationship celebrating the engagement. It was truly the best day of our lives, until the wedding!
When did y’all get married? October 29, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 200
Did you write your own vows? We did not! We kept to traditional vows.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We had dear mentors of ours read two different passages. One couple who had mentored us through our relationship and conversations about engagement selected and read Romans 12:9-13. A professor who discipled Grayson in college read Philippians 2:1-20. It was incredibly special to have some of the most influential people in our lives minister to us and our guests through those readings.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. It was fall in Charlottesville, which means one thing: pie. We had a simple mini cake for the traditional cake cutting, while our guests enjoyed an assortment of pies á la mode! As an ode to my hometown, we served Derby pie, a favorite of Louisvillians (mostly because of the equal portions of bourbon, brown sugar, and chocolate it contains). The pies helped make our wedding feel so homey and warm. They were the perfect addition!
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We actually planned for our marriage before we planned our wedding. Through the guidance of our mentors, we completed pre-engagement counseling sessions. We went through the same content as premarital counseling, just before we were engaged. Because there was no ring, social media post, or save the date, we were able to freely address fears and concerns about marriage. These conversations ultimately led us to a place of confidence in our relationship. When we got engaged, we felt well prepared (as much as you can be, at least) for marriage. Throughout our engagement, we continued to seek wisdom from our mentors, parents, and friends.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are loving living together in our apartment and creating a home together! We are just starting to form regular rhythms and adjust our habits to each other. What we’re loving most is the joy of just doing life together, from starting and ending our days together–it’s the little moments of laughter, bad jokes, and takeout Chinese that we treasure. After packing lots of life change into 2016, we’re hoping 2017 will be filled with fun as we discover the new normal. We are planning to join a small group through our church and are looking forward to making new friends in the area! With all of our free time now that we’re not planning a wedding, we hope to explore Richmond and discover favorite date spots, coffee shops, and walking trails. We will also return to Charlottesville to watch some basketball and cheer on the Hoos!

Photographer: Elisa Bricker | Videographer: DeVries Productions | Planner and Florist: Mallory Joyce Design | Venue: Castle Hill Cider | Wedding Cake: Arley Cakes | Caterer: C & O Restaurant | Rentals: Festive Fare | Lighting: East Coast Entertainment | Band: TFC via East Coast Entertainment | Paper Products: Poppy and Scooter | Bride’s Gown: Style D1751 by Essense of Australia | Bridal Salon: Rebecca’s Wedding Boutique | Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist: Anna Breeding | Bride’s Shoes and Bridesmaids’ Dresses: BHLDN | Men’s Attire: Jos. A. Bank | Tablecloths: Willow Knows | Napkins: Dot and Army

Mallory Joyce and East Coast Entertainment are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Catherine Marks reply

    I’m loving all these gorgeous Virginia Wine Country weddings lately, and this one is no exception! Her dress is to die for!

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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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