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Hi belles! Our friend Stephanie Scholl is the newest gal to take you through her wedding process here on the blog! Stephanie will be blogging for us every two weeks or so until her wedding in April. In case you missed her first post, be sure to check it out here! — Emily

The final countdown is here, friends! Our wedding is less than a month away, Rob and I just returned from our bachelor and bachelorette weekends, and all of the RSVPs for our wedding are in! I seriously can’t believe we’re in the homestretch of our engagement. It’s been such a sweet season for both of us, and we’ve grown so much as a couple, too. (PS: I can’t say enough good things about investing your time and hearts into pre-marital counseling!) I love knowing that Rob and I will get to be joined together as husband and wife on April 1st and that so many of our loved ones will be in Raleigh to celebrate with us! We’re so grateful for it all, and, of course, I love finding creative and thoughtful ways to express our thanks.

One of my favorite Southern traditions is the bridesmaid luncheon, and I cannot wait to partake in this sweet and celebratory tradition! Generally the day before her wedding, the bride hosts a luncheon to honor her bridesmaids and the beloved ladies in her life. I am ecstatic that I get to celebrate how incredible, encouraging, generous, and thoughtful my bridesmaids and our moms (and a few other special ladies!) have been throughout the years. I am having this luncheon at the Carolina Inn in Chapel Hill, NC, a place very near and dear to my heart. Not only do I plan weddings there regularly, but during college I lived in a cute house just across the street – and my sister got married at the Carolina Inn almost four years ago!

For many months now, I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect gifts for my bridesmaids, and I wanted to share some of my finds with you all, as you very well might be on the hunt, too! Most any bride-to-be has heard of the dreamy floral robes from Plum Pretty Sugar, and their robes (so many styles and patterns!) are the perfect accessory to get ready in the morning of your wedding.

Speaking of the morning of your wedding morning and getting ready with your best girls… you can’t forget the mimosas to properly toast to your wedding day! Champagne from Le Grand Courtage (I always love rosé!) or white wine from Speak Wines are two favorites: not only are their labels and packaging both beautiful and occasion-appropriate, but most any bridesmaid would love to be gifted a bottle or mini-bottle of champagne or wine. And with mimosas, you can’t forget the toasting flutes! Naturally Chic Gifts, based out of Raleigh, creates personalized champagne flutes (I’m a fan of the stemless ones!) and wine glasses in an array of metallic colors for your best girls.

I also have long loved the adorable Minimergency Bridesmaid Kits from Pinch Provisions, which hold everything you’d ever need for a wedding-day snafu. And, of course, one of the most popular bridesmaid gifts is jewelry for the wedding day, like matching earrings or a necklace that complements her bridesmaid dress perfectly. I love finding local stores to get jewelry from, and Moon & Lola is a Raleigh favorite! The best way to beautifully hold your bridesmaid gifts is in a pretty bag, like this Hello Lovely tote from PCB Home, all tied up with a pretty ribbon. And, above all else, a card with a written note expressing your thanks and love is the most important part. Taking the time to write a thoughtful note (to your soon-to-be spouse, your parents, your wedding party, and even vendors) is paramount!

We are hosting some fun wedding weekend events to love on our guests well and to welcome everyone to Raleigh, especially since most everyone will be traveling into town for the festivities. Welcome bags are always a marvelous way to show your guests some local flavor and your personalities, and they can also provide information on the wedding weekend timeline.

We are having an informal, everyone-is-invited welcome party on Friday night immediately following our rehearsal dinner, as it was important to us to spend as much time with our guests as possible! It’s a great way for everyone to get to know each other better, for us to meet those extended family members that we haven’t been able to meet yet, and to extend the celebrations even more. Most of all, we want to make sure our family and friends feel welcomed and celebrated when they arrive in Raleigh, especially since quality time are both mine and Rob’s love languages!

I’d love to hear how you celebrated your wedding weekend: did you have a bridesmaid luncheon or a welcome party? Are there any fun traditions or celebrations that you incorporated into your wedding weekend, or want to when you do get married?! And I’m cutting it close here with our rapidly approaching wedding date, but I have to ask: do you have a great idea for a meaningful, thoughtful gift for grooms? I have one gift for sure (so excited!), but I’m still searching for the perfect accompanying gift for Rob. I’m all ears if you have any suggestions!

All photos by Sarah Morrel Photography

P.S. In case you missed a post:
The proposal
Venue and photography
The dress
Bridesmaid style
Engagement photos
The details

emily Written with love by Emily
4 Comments
  1. avatar Christian reply

    Stephanie,
    Great ideas! Your bridesmaids are going to love everything! I had a hard time with a groom’s gift too. I spent so many hours searching, until I had a lightbulb moment. I have designed a valet box for him that my dad is building and staining out of wood that was harvested off of some family land I own. I ordered two engraved plaques for it – one for the top of the lid with his initials and one for the inside with a special message. Inside, I’m going to be putting a few trinkets including a book of notes I’m writing to him. Also, if you haven’t checked out UncommonGoods online, do so – they have some really awesome unique gifts. Good luck!!!

    • avatar Stephanie Scholl reply

      Christian, these are AMAZING ideas!! Thank you so very much for sharing! I love, love, love the sentiment + meaning behind your gifts for him, and goodness is he going to love it all!!!

  2. avatar Joy – Leicester Wedding Photographer reply

    I love these gift ideas!! Great touch :)

  3. avatar Amy reply

    Who wouldn’t want these gifts! So generous and loving! Looks like everything is coming together!

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Update: We’ve secured our models for the Raleigh shoot on March 23, but we’re still accepting model submissions for our upcoming Mobile, AL and Laurel, MS shoots!

The onset of March has the SW ladies excited about sunshine-filled days, our own version of March Madness, and most importantly, kicking off editorial season for our tenth anniversary issue! We’ve spent months dreaming up our best ideas to celebrate 10 issues of Southern Weddings, and we’re going to need your help to bring those visions to life!

There are few things we love more than featuring your lovely faces on the pages of our magazine, so keep reading if you’re located in Raleigh, NC, Mobile, AL, or Laurel, MS! We’d love for some of y’all to join us!

Raleigh, NC on Thursday, March 23
We’re looking for a bride and groom between the ages 25-35. If you’re interested, please send an email to howdy (at) southernweddings.com with the subject line: V10 Raleigh Model Call. 

Mobile, AL on Tuesday, April 25
We’re looking for a bride and groom and bridesmaids. If you’re interested, please send an email to howdy (at) southernweddings.com with the subject line: V10 Mobile Model Call. 

Laurel, MS on Thursday, April 27
We’re looking for bride and groom, bridesmaids, groomsmen, parents of the bride and groom, and kids (ages 4-9). If you’re interested, please send an email to howdy (at) southernweddings.com with the subject line: V10 Laurel Model Call. 

All hair/skin colors are welcome! If chosen, we will need you to be available on site from about noon – 8 p.m. We might start later or end earlier, but we want you to be prepared! Please note that you must be 18 or older to apply and we are not able to compensate for travel/participation.

If you’re interested, please send an email to howdy (at) southernweddings.com with the subject line listed above (this will help us make sure we haven’t missed your email!) Be sure to include a recent headshot (no need for professional photos, we just want to see your lovely face!), a few candid photos, and your height. We promise it’s going to be a blast!

Written with love by Jess Metcalf
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It’s hard for me not to feel akin to couples whose love stories mirror my own a little…reading their interviews quickly takes me back to my own perfect day eight years ago. I always feel this way with college sweethearts in particular, but never have I run into a story quite as similar to mine as Kelsey and Kevin’s. From college baseball to time in the minor leagues, and even sharing the same “most memorable moment” on our respective wedding days (be sure to read below to find out what that is!), I might have had to do a double-take while reading their interview. Unlike my wedding, on the other hand, Kelsey and Kevin’s Virginia wedding was filled with beautiful blue hues and gold and ivory accents. Eucalyptus, dusty miller, thistle, and cappuccino roses were used in the florals (created by Kevin’s cousin) to achieve a romantic and organic feel that perfectly complemented their venue, Castle Hill Cider. Making their day even sweeter, guests traveled from over ten states to celebrate with them, leaving them humbled to have all of the people they love together as they became husband and wife!

Big SW hugs to Michael and Carina for sharing this lovely day with us!

When it comes to growing up in the South, family is always number one. Although Kevin is from New Jersey, this was something I realized and loved about him and his family just as I had known it with my own. We chose to have a small wedding party–my sister was the maid of honor and Kevin’s sister was my bridesmaid. Kevin’s brother was his best man and his brother-in-law was a groomsman. We wanted all aspects of the weekend and that day to be about our family, who had supported us and believed in us over the past eight years.

I never ever thought we would do a first look. I had always dreamed about the feeling that the bride and groom have when they see each other for the first time when the bride is walking down the aisle. But, when the sun sets at 5 P.M. and your ceremony is at 4, you quickly realize you will not have enough sunlight following the ceremony to get all of the pictures you want. The first lesson of marriage, I guess–compromise! The first look was really beautiful and still felt extremely special and intimate. It was a cool November day with just enough afternoon sun to keep us from feeling the chill. Our pictures are incredible and it was worth doing a first look to have the lifelong treasures of our photographs.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? When we were planning our ceremony, we decided on personalized vows that blended some traditional pieces with some lines we felt strongly about. It definitely took some research, both online and in books, as well as some ideas from our officiant to create something that seemed right for the two of us. Our vows included the following: “I promise to encourage and inspire you, to laugh with you and to comfort you in times of sorrow and struggle; I promise to love you in good times and in bad, when life seems easy and when it seems hard; I promise to trust you and honor you; I promise to cherish you and to always hold you in highest regard. These things I give to you today and all the days of my life.”

We were so happy and honored to have Kevin’s cousin, Kathy, be our florist. I never thought it would be possible since she lives in New Jersey, so when she offered, we both felt such overwhelming gratitude and excitement. It was so special to have family involved with the wedding. Kathy is so talented and her work is stunning. I knew she understood my vision and I was blown away on the day of our wedding–we could not have loved them more.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We actually visited Castle Hill about a month before we were engaged. We took my mom on a weekend trip for her birthday and decided to stop by because none of us had been there before, and we had heard great things about the cider. I can remember the four of us sitting outside, enjoying a glass of Big Pippin and talking about how beautiful it was there. We had always planned to get married in the Charlottesville area, so when the time came to choose a venue, it seemed like the perfect fit. We loved the idea of being able to have the ceremony in the loft and the reception downstairs in the main barn area. The view from Castle Hill of the Blue Ridge (not to mention the drive in) really captured what we wanted our out-of-town guests to experience when they came to Virginia.

Our wedding cake was funfetti, but a little amped up! Our amazing baker went above and beyond to make the groom’s funfetti dreams come true. The cake was three tiers and featured a Bavarian cream filling and a vanilla buttercream with rainbow sprinkles cascading down.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? We really enjoyed the moments after we were announced as husband and wife, immediately following the ceremony, when we were in the suite while guests went downstairs for cocktail hour. We were surrounded by our families and there was no shortage of smiles and the happiest tears. Those few minutes of just being able to breathe, hold on to one another, and soak in the moment is something we will always cherish.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Kevin and I met at UVA. Kevin was on the baseball team and a few of his teammates lived on the first floor of my dorm. I was on the dance team and had to move in early too, so they were some of the first people I met when I got there. Kevin and I started off as acquaintances, but by the end of spring semester, we went on our first few dates after I boldly reached out to him via AOL Instant Messenger (we still laugh about it to this day!). Mostly, our first dates were spent going to Blockbuster (Kevin is a huge movie buff) or walking to “the Corner” by campus to grab lunch between classes. When Kevin was drafted to the minor leagues following our third year at UVA, we began the long-distance stint of our relationship and were finally reunited in Charlottesville in the fall of 2014, when Kevin came back to finish his degree and work as a student coach at Virginia.
Tell us all about the proposal! Kevin proposed on a Saturday evening after I had been out running errands with my mom all day. My parents were renovating their kitchen, so we had a girls day–went to brunch, got our nails done, went and looked at light fixtures–all of that good stuff. When I got home, I was pretty tired and went to relax before we were headed out to see my sister later that evening. Kevin appeared, and at the time, I thought he had been out playing golf that day. He quickly said that, “he couldn’t lie” about playing golf and pulled out the ring to propose. I was in shock! He confessed that he and my dad had been out together that day ring shopping, and although he had made plans to propose the following weekend at the UVA homecoming football game in Charlottesville with all of our friends, the ring burned a hole in his pocket within the few hours he had it. I’m sure he had a good plan in place, but I would not trade the way it ended up happening for anything else. It was perfect.
When did y’all get married? November 12, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 180
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. Shopping for my wedding dress was surprisingly easy and stress-free, mostly because Annalise Bridal Boutique (and the owner, Lindsey) was an absolute dream to work with. It was a snowy Sunday morning in February when my parents, sister, grandmother and I went into the city for my appointment. I tried on maybe six or seven dresses, but knew which one I loved the most all along. The dress checked all of my boxes, and once we added the cathedral veil, I knew that it was the one. We were also able to FaceTime my then-future mother-in-law and sister-in-law to share the good news with them, and I couldn’t hold back the tears!
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. For the ceremony, we had a guitarist, which created a beautiful experience in the candlelit loft. Our guitarist provided us a breadth of unique selections. For the family and bridesmaid processional, we chose J.S. Bach’s “Sleepers Awake.” For the bridal processional, we chose “Wild Mountain Thyme,” and for the recessional, “The Mysterious Barricades” by F. Couperin. We both love country music, so our first dance song was “In Case You Didn’t Know” by Brett Young. At the reception, we had an awesome DJ who really understood the crowd and how to keep everyone up and dancing. We had a really fun group of guests, who would have likely been up there no matter what was played, but our DJ did a perfect job playing a great mix of music that all could enjoy. The crowd favorite was “Sweet Caroline” which most people know anyways, but it is a regularly played song at UVA sporting events, so our guests really got into it!
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I did! I wore a gold and pearl bracelet from my Nana. For my something blue, my Nana gave me an embroidered handkerchief as a gift, and she also gave me an ivory handkerchief that belonged to her mother, my great-grandmother. My something new was my wedding dress and veil.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? You hear it from so many people when you start planning your wedding, but our biggest challenge was probably the guest list. When you have been dating as long as we had, you’ve been through so many stages and milestones in your life, both individually and together. Because of this, our first take at a guest list really added up. We had always imagined having an intimate wedding, so we had to work really hard to make the invitation numbers reasonable.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $50,000-$75,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? To save money, we ordered glass vases from the Dollar Tree to use as our candle holders in the loft. We were also able to bulk order the larger pillar candles, as well as the votives for the reception, and transitioned the ceremony candles from the loft down to the reception afterwards.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? My biggest suggestion for anyone planning a wedding that is not where they currently live would be to hire a wedding planner. Our planner, who happened to be a friend from college, was my saving grace. I was traveling for work right before the wedding too, which could have added serious stress to the situation, but Maureen took care of everything with such grace and professionalism. I know we could not have done it without her.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are really looking forward to making our new house our home. We watch way too much HGTV and are excited to start making our own list of what we want to tackle next, as husband and wife.

Photographer: Michael and Carina Photography | Videographer: Danny Freshley of Altamira Film Co. | Planner: Maureen McKenna of Just a Little Ditty | Venue: Castle Hill Cider | Florist: Kathy Lynn Floral Design | Wedding Cake: Cakes by Rachel | Caterer: Harvest Moon Catering | Rentals: Festive Fare | Lighting and Ceremony Draping: Blue Ridge A/V and Lighting | Ceremony Guitarist: Peter Richardson | DJ: JG Entertainment | Paper Products: Rock Paper Scissors | Bride’s Gown: Style 5834 by Liancarlo | Bridal Salon: Annalise Bridal Boutique | Bride’s Veil: “Chelsea” by Sara Gabriel | Hair Stylist: Brianna B. Adams | Makeup Artist: Emily Artistry | Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Jacqueline” by Jenny Yoo | Men’s Attire: Jos. A. Banks | Calligraphy: Jodi Macfarlan Calligraphy and Joie de Vivre | Officiant: Jim Burton

marissa Written with love by Marissa
2 Comments
  1. avatar Bri A reply

    This was so fun to read! I loved all the personal touches and the interview was so joyful, even through the page. ;) Thanks for sharing!

  2. avatar Catherine reply

    What a beautiful day! This area of Virginia has so many gorgeous venues. I can’t wait to attend a wedding in Crozet, VA in May!

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