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It’s the most wonderful time of the year: the holidays are in full swing and we’re in full ‘reflect and celebrate’ mode in the SW office. It probably surprises no one that the Southern Weddings V9 Launch Party is near the tip-top of our grateful list for 2016. Gathering together with friends and family from near and far on an exceptionally enchanting evening in early November is nothing short of magical. Add in a few gorgeous Paper Crown dresses, some carnival-inspired fair food, and a wall full of love letters and you have something straight from a Southern Weddings (Notebook-inspired) fairytale.

Big hugs to A.J. Dunlap for these gorgeous images! We’re also tremendously grateful to ZimZoom Photobooth for helping guests capture their very own memories in our always-popular photobooth, and to the Carolina Inn for being the sweetest host in Dixie.

A little BTS secret: we always take a few quiet minutes before the party commences to soak in the room before we throw open the doors to start the celebration. For us, this party is more than just reveling in the launch of a magazine: it’s about honoring all of the MANY friends who play a role in helping make Southern Weddings happen, year after year. To guarantee everyone feels right at home, we make sure there is plenty of cozy seating (thanks Paisley & Jade) and fresh and fabulous floral arrangements (big hugs Serendipity Designs).

As has become tradition, the Southern Weddings gals gather together with our gents for one big group photo to commemorate the occasion; after all, the entire group together in one room (minus Amber’s sweet husband: we missed you Brandon!) is quite an accomplishment and it only happens once a year. Of course, all the gents were looking extra dapper in their High Cotton bow ties and the gals got some serious glam support from the ladies at Parlor Dry Bar and Lula Hair & Makeup. Our dear friends at Kendra Scott helped finish off our looks with some fabulous jewels (I don’t think I’ve taken my pearl bracelet off since the party).

I spy a sweet little June Thomas making her inaugural launch party debut and making sure her mama didn’t forget to sign our cover print and grab a party-favorite button from our sweet friends at Belle & Union. The gal behind that great teal desk is none other than the wonderful Jessica of Simply Jessica Marie, former SW Intern and master watercolor artist. She graciously hand-lettered everyone’s nametag (!!!) as they were checking in and added her artistic touch to many other party details, including the beautiful invitations and all the food signage.

The doors opened and the hugs started flowing!! It was an extra special treat to have Davy Whitener (our V9 cover photographer) and his darling wife Lydia travel up from Georgia to celebrate with us! So many friends traveled from so far and we were humbled and honored to be able to spend the evening with a collection of such talented and inspiring folks.

Taking a nod from Ali and Noah’s carnival run-in, our friends at Ashton Events helped us create our very own fair booth: pick a duck and win a prize! It was a pretty fun way to claim your swag bag or win a custom canvas from our friends at CanvasHQ. Too bad we couldn’t figure out how to put a Ferris wheel in the parking lot ;)

The Carolina Inn spoiled us rotten with their menu, inspired by the delicacies found in the pages of V9 – we nibbled on everything from miniature hot dogs to hot chicken sliders. And it wouldn’t be an SW party without pimento cheese, ice cold Cheerwine, and a feast of miniature Southern-inspired sweets. Our friend Randi of Sugar Euphoria brought her famous homemade macaroons and miniature cupcakes. Everything was so delicious, it was gobbled up before I made it over to the table to snag a treat.

Noah & Allie’s love story is an SW office favorite and we could think of no better way to honor their legacy than to create a love letter wall with help from our friend Leigh of Leigh Pearce Events. Party guests spent the evening crafting notes to other party guests and pinning them to the wall. Popping by to pin a note or check for your name was a highlight of the evening!!

It’s such an honor to stand up on the stage, look out into the crowd, and see ALL the faces of the friends who have gathered together to celebrate. Our sweet Lara was a bit under the weather the night of the party, but she said she couldn’t miss the chance to share gratitude with all our friends who gathered both in person and virtually. Speaking of our virtual friends, our hostess-with-the-mostess, Maghon Taylor of All She Wrote Notes (and her precious “Baby Tay” bump) made sure everyone who couldn’t join in person got an extra special party experience via Facebook Live! We wrapped up our speeches with a celebratory dance, and our favorite local DJ, Joe Bunn, kept the music flowing all night via a compilation of 40’s and 50’s tunes as another nod to our friends Noah & Ally.

We couldn’t be more grateful for all y’all who traveled from far and near (and fought through the crazy traffic) to join us in Chapel Hill to celebrate. I feel like we’re a broken record, but your love and support of V9 and the Southern Weddings mission means so much to us. We love y’all more than all the sweet tea and biscuits in the world!

A.J. Dunlap Photography, Serendipity Designs, High Cotton Ties, ZimZoom Photogbooth, Paisley and Jade, Simply Jessica Marie, and Sugar Euphoria are all delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory.

kristin Written with love by Kristin
1 Comment
  1. avatar Bri Arey reply

    From the first picture I thought “that looks like the Carolina Inn!”. :) Looks like an amazing night full of celebration! Congrats on another year.

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Layers upon layers of fluffy tulle, the most stunning ballroom, piles of perfect white peonies…our With this Ring editorial is the stuff wedding dreams are made of, if I do say so myself! We went straight to the classics when gathering inspiration for this shoot, asking ourselves time and time again what our readers’ “fairytale wedding” looks like. We know that many of you, like us, have a soft spot for the timeless details that will never go out of style, a heart for traditions, and the desire to experience the moments on your own special day that you identify with your parents’ and grandparents’ wedding photos. We had so much fun working with one of our favorite gals, Blue Ribbon Vendor Jacin Fitzgerald, to dream up beautifully updated versions of classic wedding details for this shoot, and we hope you love it as much as we do!

Thank you so much to Sawyer Baird for capturing these dreamy photos! See the whole feature in Southern Weddings V9, on newsstands now and in the Southern Weddings Shop.

I mean, y’all. STOP. That bouquet + that dress = too good.

We couldn’t have dreamed up a more fitting exit than the traditional rice toss! Love this photo Sawyer captured!

I wish y’all could have smelled Jacin’s arrangement for the sweetheart table – it was absolutely heavenly!

Sometimes, though, an update is in order, and I’m smitten with Jacin’s new look at an old-school tulle chair bow. The feminine, floaty detail perfectly mirrors our bride’s gown!

And y’all – do NOT miss the dreamy behind-the-scenes film from Blue Ribbon Vendor The Reason! They put together the most beautiful film that perfectly captures this classic day!

Planner, stylist, and florals: Jacin Fitzgerald | Photographer: Sawyer Baird | Film processing: Richard Photo Lab | Venue: Biltmore Ballrooms | Hair and makeup: Raney O’Keefe | Cake: Lush Cakery | Catering: Sun in My Belly | Paper goods: Open Ink Stand | Linens: Nüage Designs | Rentals: Southern Vintage and Crush Events Rentals | Bride’s gown: Legends Romona Keveza | Menswear: Menguin | Maid of honor dress: Kate McDonald | Mother of the bride dress, bride’s bracelet, and ring pillow: BHLDN | Rings: Trumpet and Horn | Flower girl dress: Nordstrom

Jacin Fitzgerald and Sun in My Belly are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
2 Comments
  1. avatar Meredith Sledge reply

    These took my breath away! Sawyer is AMAZING!! That second to last image is absolutely unreal!

  2. avatar Greg Coltman reply

    Great framing! Lovely images.

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It’s always so inspiring to hear from a bride and groom who were deeply purposeful and thoughtful through every step of their wedding planning. Anna and Matt are that couple in spades–after deciding to fulfill Anna’s dream of tying the knot in her home state of Georgia, they set out to plan a “peachy affair” that fit their personalities to a tee and graciously welcomed their guests to Atlanta. I loved reading the story of how Anna chose her stunner of a gown (“finding your wedding dress is like finding yourself”), the heart behind the readings and songs they selected, and the fun ways they tied Anna’s Georgia roots into their reception in particular. While they may live on the West Coast now, there was no denying the fact this was a Southern celebration through and through, and I can’t think of a sweeter start to Anna and Matt’s marriage than their Georgian Terrace wedding!

Thank you so much to our talented Blue Ribbon Vendor Amy Arrington Photography for sharing this gorgeous day with us!

Since Matt and I live on the West Coast, we knew we’d have many guests from different parts of the country attend our wedding in Atlanta. It was important to us that we incorporated the richness of the South in our wedding for our guests to experience and enjoy. We welcomed guests with baskets of treats produced by local Atlanta vendors: boiled peanuts, grits bits, pecan bars, chocolate peaches, and Coca Cola, to name a few. We also served Atlanta favorites as late night treats at the reception, including King of Pops and Krispy Kreme donuts.

At the risk of sounding completely cliché, I now tell my newly engaged girlfriends that finding your wedding dress is like finding yourself. One weekend last October, my mom flew to Los Angeles to help me find my dress. We literally went everywhere, from Pasadena to Orange County to Beverly Hills. Nothing I tried on felt right, or made me feel like myself. There’s something about living in Los Angeles that I’ve found more so than in other cities: the city sort of frees you up to be yourself. You are fearfully and wonderfully made, and, in my opinion, this city reminds you of that more often than not. I had all but given up when my mom and I made one final stop at Panache Bridal Beverly Hills. I looked at a dress on the rack and knew it was my dress. It was enchanting and unique, and best of all, I felt like myself when I put it on.

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! Yes! I borrowed my best friend’s veil that she wore at her wedding. My something blue was my shoes. For my something old, I wore my mom’s antique ring on my right hand, and my something new was my dress and earrings.

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Just being in Los Angeles while the wedding and the majority of the preparation was taking place in Atlanta. My mom, our wedding planner Kathleen, and several of my mom’s friends really made the wedding happen. They’re the ones who went to tastings and put together wedding baskets, favors, etc. I guess in retrospect, Matt and I had the easiest job of all–we got to enjoy the wedding day without having to do all of the heavy lifting preparation work.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? No, we wanted to savor the moment of seeing one another for the first time when I walked down the aisle.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We went the traditional route and used classic vows that our pastor helped us find.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Matt and I each selected a reading. For mine, I chose Psalm 103; a wedding is such a praise-worthy event and I deeply wanted Christ to be glorified in every aspect of the day. Matt selected Colossians 3:12-17, as he felt these were great words of instruction and grace for us as we entered into marriage together.

I had always known I wanted to get married back home in Atlanta. With so many of our friends and family making the trek from the West Coast and around the globe, we wanted to provide them with a truly Southern, Atlanta experience. The Georgian Terrace was just the place–it was where “Gone with the Wind” held their world premiere. Other than that, we knew we wanted to be married in a church, so we decided to have our ceremony just down the road from the reception at Peachtree Christian Church.

Out of the entire wedding process, one of my favorite things to think about during the planning was the flowers. Katie McDaniel at Cloth of Gold creates the most ethereal arrangements that are so unique and customized to each bride. Our arrangements featured some of my favorite flowers: peonies, ranunculus, and Juliet roses. The bouquets were loose and whimsical and the arrangements at each table were soft and sprawling. Katie also incorporated The Peach Truck’s delicious peaches into the decor at each table–at each place setting, each guest had their name card attached to a peach. Matt even came up with a list of different peach varietals that are produced in Georgia as the names of the tables. As wedding favors, we asked guests to “Be a Peach and Spread the Love” with peach jam jars. All in all, it was a peachy affair!

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. I’m convinced Atlanta has the best sweets–it is the Peach State, after all! With that in mind, we offered guests a selection of desserts, from an assortment of flavors of King of Pops popsicles, to Krispy Kreme donuts, mini strawberry milkshakes, and a traditional wedding cake.

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? It can be challenging at times, but try to enjoy every moment! Getting married and planning a wedding is such a gift and a blessing. It goes by so quickly, so treasure that time and try to experience as much of it as possible. Find joy in even the difficult things, like managing RSVPs and seating arrangements–there’s beauty and fun in even those things!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Matt and I are from opposite ends of the country. He was raised in Rhode Island and I was born and raised in Marietta, Georgia. After college, we both moved to Los Angeles. Matt attended grad school at UCLA and I got a job in the entertainment industry. We met and fell in love in what we consider the greatest city on earth. We attended the same church and met there through mutual friends. At the time, Matt was working as a recruiter and sent me a Snapchat video where he typed out the words “Will you go to Korean BBQ with me on Friday?” We share a love for Korean food and had talked about it the week prior. I responded in Google-translated Korean (I don’t speak Korean, y’all), “Sure, that sounds great!” We went out for Korean BBQ that Friday. On our date, I told him that I actually had to cut out early to pick up some girlfriends at Disneyland. It wasn’t that I was wanting to cut the date short–I’m just a terrible procrastinator and told him at the last minute that I had plans later that night too. Matt was so sweet and offered to drive me out to Anaheim (an hour-long drive!) to pick up my friends. We had a blast with my friends on the drive back and it was then that I knew I liked him and could see a future with him.
Tell us all about the proposal! Matt is full of surprises. On Labor Day 2014, I flew home to Atlanta to spend the weekend with my family, while Matt had told me he was going camping with some friends in Northern California. When I arrived home, my mom kept asking me questions about Matt-–how we were doing, when we’d be getting engaged, where we’d want to get married, etc. I was starting to get a little annoyed by all the questions, and texted Matt Saturday morning and told him I was feeling sad that we weren’t engaged yet. Matt told me not to worry, but that he was losing cell service (being on a camping trip and all) and that we’d talk about it more later. That day, my mom and I went shopping in Atlanta. On the way home, she “took a wrong turn” and pulled into the parking lot at the Atlanta Historical Center. I looked over and my sweet mom had started crying, which immediately led to me tear up as well. She said to me, “I want you to get out of the car and walk down that hill; there’s the most incredible future waiting for you.” She was in on it the whole time! Out popped Matt, who walked up to the car and escorted me to the garden and said a million wonderful things that I can’t remember now, and asked me to spend forever with him. I said yes. We walked over to the Swan Coach House, my favorite place in the city, took pictures, and met up with my best friend and her husband. After the proposal, we returned to my parents’ house, where all of my neighbors and many of my friends from childhood were waiting for an engagement party. We both felt so loved and excited for the future together!
When did y’all get married? June 13, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 200
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Peachtree Christian Church has one of the largest organs in the Southeast. It really is stunning and sounds so beautiful, so we wanted music that was both Christ-centered and allowed the organ to do what it was created to do. I walked down the aisle to “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty.” At the reception, Matt and I danced to Frank Sinatra’s “The Way You Look Tonight.” Continuing with our Georgia theme, my dad and I danced to “Georgia on My Mind.” Matt and his mom danced to “That’s Amore!”
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Our Christian faith is central to who we are and is one of the reasons we were initially even interested in one another. Throughout our engagement, we met with our pastor and his wife and regularly discussed Christian marriage. We also read a few books together and began praying with one another.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? There are endless options and ways to spend money when planning a wedding. From the type of wine you serve to the type of linens used, you can really spend as much or as little as you want. When we started planning, we quickly realized our budget could get out of control if we didn’t prioritize. We often asked ourselves, what are the “must haves” and what are the “nice to haves?” Often, the “nice to haves” got left on the cutting room floor to make room for the “must haves.”
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We’re just settling into our new apartment together in Los Angeles, enjoying our community and our friends, and taking life one day at a time.

Photographer: Amy Arrington Photography / Videographer: Artworks Wedding Cinema / Planner: Kathleen Benedict / Ceremony Venue: Peachtree Christian Church / Reception Venue and Caterer: The Georgian Terrace Hotel / Florist: Cloth of Gold / Cake Baker: Frosted Pumpkin / Rentals: Cover Ups Linens / Band: Momentum Party Band / Invitations: Aerialist Letterpress / Day-of Paper Products: Paper Daisies Stationery / Bride’s Gown: St. Pucchi / Bridal Salon: Panache Bridal / Bride’s Hair Accessories: BHLDN / Hair and Makeup: Logan Baker / Bride’s Shoes: Manolo Blahnik / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Juliette” in Cameo Pink by Jenny Yoo / Menswear: Calvin Klein Tuxedo / Event Signage: Stitch & Petal / Calligraphy: Everthine Designs / Peaches: The Peach Truck / Trolley: The Historic Marietta Trolley Company

Amy Arrington is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Georgian Terrace Wedding : Anna + Matt reply

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