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When I was planning my wedding, I remember bridesmaid dress decisions being some of the hardest to pull the trigger on. There’s just something about asking your loved ones to spend a good chunk of money on a piece of clothing they’re not picking out that makes me swallow hard! Thankfully, there are a surplus of beautiful bridesmaid dress options these days, making it easy to find something they’ll love (but on the other hand, the variety makes narrowing finalists down even more difficult!). We love highlighting our favorites for y’all to make the search easier, and today, we’re talking shantung by Donna Morgan.

Most of y’all already know why we love Donna Morgan – their designs are fashion forward, come in tons of colors, and (best of all) ship immediately! Their line started with chiffon designs, and they still carry tons of those beauties, but we were so excited to see that they’ve branched out into shantung, too!

Shantung is a more structured fabric than chiffon, and it creates a beautiful, tailored silhouette. Donna Morgan’s shantung line includes six designs with a variety of bodice and skirt styles. My personal favorites are the Ruby and the Olive!

While the colored shantung collection is perfect for a preppy and modern brides, Donna Morgan’s gray shantung line-up is a great fit for those looking for a twist on black tie. Bridesmaids no longer need to wear long dresses for a formal feel – these beauties will fancy up whatever bridal party they’ve invited to! Think: elegant and sophisticated, a throwback to Grace Kelly.

To see the full Donna Morgan line-up, including their beautiful floral print bridesmaid dresses, be sure to check out their site!

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

emily Written with love by Emily
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    We all know there is so much planning that goes into a wedding: the look, the details, and, especially in the South, making sure guests feel welcome and have a fabulous time. And, while I’m all for Southern hospitality, reading through Kelly and Austin’s sweet interview, I was most struck by how they felt. Your wedding day is filled with so many emotions and it goes by so quickly that it’s sometimes hard to remember everything, but reading that Kelly and Austin felt like the “luckiest people to be loved by so many incredible people” made my heart skip a beat. I remember feeling exactly the same way on my wedding day, and despite any snafus, marrying your best friend is always the best day ever!

    Thanks to Alea Moore for capturing this beautiful day!

    Our favorite detail of the wedding was: It’s hard to choose, because every time we turned a corner, there was something else to admire, but my favorite detail was probably my bouquet. I never imagined that I would have something so beautiful and special at my own wedding, so I seriously cried when I saw it.

    Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? It was a hard decision because having a first look can make pictures a lot easier and save time during the wedding, but it just didn’t feel right for us. I explained to Austin that when I imagined seeing him for the first time on our wedding day, he was standing at the altar waiting for me. There is this really powerful moment when you see each other for the first time after all of the anticipation, and we wanted that moment to be a part of what made the ceremony special. Seeing each other in that moment is one of our favorite memories from the wedding.

    We wrote our own vows, and it was the most challenging and meaningful thing we did for the wedding. When you have to sit down and really decide what you can promise to someone, you realize to a greater extent what marriage really is. We did’t hear each others vows until we were at the altar, and it was so powerful hearing what God had laid on our hearts separately as a vision for our marriage. There were so many similarities, it was pretty evident that He had already started preparing us to become one. This was my favorite line, adapted from Ephesians 3:20 “…today, I enter into this covenant with hopeful expectation that God will do immeasurably more with our marriage than all we could ask for or imagine, according to His power and not our own.”

    How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? The absolute best and most valuable thing we did while being engaged was going through pre-marital counseling. We got connected with a professional counselor through our church and spent six sessions with her trying to prepare for situations we would encounter in our marriage. Honestly, we went into the first session thinking “We’re a great couple… will there even be anything to talk about?”, but we were shocked when it ended and we still had so many things to talk through. We learned so much about each other, about ourselves, and about how to communicate through those conversations. When we finished the last session, we were actually sad that we wouldn’t get to go anymore, but we left feeling a million times more prepared for whatever marriage will throw at us.

    We stumbled upon the Engine Room by chance during our venue hunt, and we knew from the moment we stepped inside that we would get married on those old wood floors, with natural light pouring in through the huge windows.

    When we realized how much money it was going to be to cater a wedding for 240 people, we were in shock. We had to cut down the cost, so several friends suggested looking into food trucks, and that idea ended up saving us thousands of dollars! Since they don’t come with all of the extra staff, linens, dishes, etc., you are pretty much just paying for the food. To cut back on lines and add more selection, we got two trucks and had our own little food truck park for our guest to go up to and order their dinners. The trucks did’t just save us money, they also added a fun element to our wedding, and people have been raving about the food ever since.

    We wanted simple cakes decorated with buttercream and fresh flowers. We couldn’t decide on a flavor, so we got several small cakes in different flavors from a cute bakery in Athens. The star of the show was this amazing tres leches cake that I still have dreams about eating.

    What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? At the end of the wedding, we walked past all of our friends and family with sparklers, shouting congratulations and saying goodbye. Since we were moving away, it really was “goodbye” to so many of the people we love, which made the moment very bittersweet. When we got in the car and drove away, we were so overwhelmed that we barely had time to get out of the parking lot before we burst into tears. We got a few miles away and then pulled over the car and just cried together. We cried for how much our lives were about to change, for this scary new adventure, and mostly, for how every single aspect of our wedding was made perfect by all of the people we love and by the God who made it all possible. The only thing we could really say at that point was that we are the luckiest people in the world to be loved by so many incredible people, and that was by far the best day of our lives.

    Don’t miss Kelly + Austin’s highlight film from Imagine Video Productions!

    How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Austin and I lived just minutes from each other in Woodstock, Georgia without crossing paths for almost 18 years. When we finally did meet, we spent most of the summer together, becoming close friends. At the end of the summer, Austin left for his second year at UGA, and I prepared to start my first semester at Georgia Tech. To me, Austin was the older guy who had everything he needed in Athens, but for some reason, he showed up at Georgia Tech almost every weekend over the next couple of months. Little did I know, Austin had started liking me over the summer, and had been patiently waiting all of those months to ask me on a date when I was ready. Finally, Austin came to Atlanta and told me that he really liked me, but I needed to “stop leading him on” if I wasn’t interested…and if I was interested, he’d like to take me on a date. I replied with a “maybe” and made the poor guy wait a MONTH before officially accepting his offer, but his patience paid off. After a year of dating long distance, Austin decided to join me in Atlanta and there was no looking back. I began to realize that the crazy love that Austin had for me and the things he was willing to do for me paled in comparison with the lengths that God is willing to go to show me His love. When being with someone teaches you that, you know that they’re a solid choice for a husband.
    Tell us all about the proposal! In his fourth year of school, Austin was offered an internship with Boeing in Charleston for the upcoming summer. When he accepted that internship, Austin forwarded me an email they had sent him that was an invitation to a weekend in Charleston to get to know the city and his future managers (all expenses paid!), so he invited me to accompany him. On our second day, we went over to Middleton Plantation from our hotel, and spent the morning walking through the beautiful gardens and taking video footage (because Austin wanted a montage of the trip, obviously). At one point, Austin sent me down between the ponds overlooking the marshes as he set up the camera for another shot. As he walked down to meet me, he had the biggest smile on his face, said he had something to give me, and pulled out a letter. It was when I opened it that I realized that this was no ordinary letter. It began with “To my fiancé…” and as I read the rest (with tears in my eyes), he explained all of the reasons why I was the woman he had been praying for. I finished the letter and Austin got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. Obviously, I said “yes,” and we just stood there in the freezing rain, crying and laughing and enjoying the moment. Austin then explained to me that the entire Boeing trip was a big lie! After asking my parents for their blessing, Austin had spent months designing my ring, sending me fake itineraries, and even helping me pick out a “business appropriate” outfit for the meeting with his managers. Since we didn’t have any meetings to get to after all, we spent the rest of the weekend calling friends and family with the big news. It was something I will never forget!
    How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 240
    Describe your wedding flowers. The flowers at our wedding were heavenly. Lindsay Coletta did everything without much guidance from me and on very short notice, but somehow, the florals were better than I could have even imagined. She did lush greenery down the long guest tables, whimsical arrangements for the head table, and the most amazing bridal bouquet I’ve ever seen. Because of my smaller budget, I asked for quality over quantity. That was the best decision I made, because having a smaller amount of flowers that were breathtaking was way better than having a ton of flowers that were just blah.
    What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Our location was definitely a very Southern aspect of our wedding. Monroe is a tiny, charming town, kind of out in the middle of nowhere. The venue itself is an old cotton mill that is brimming with Southern charm and history. Bistro lights over the dance floor, s’mores by the fire pit, and a ton of people dancing gave our big wedding a hint of that casual backyard feel that makes the South such a great place to call home. And we can’t forget one of the best elements, a food truck entirely devoted to macaroni and cheese.
    If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
    What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? After our wedding, we moved to the charming city of Charleston. Austin works for Boeing as a Database Administrator, and I am preparing to apply to Physician Assistant school. We’re really looking forward to getting to know this city and making it feel more like home. We hope to spend the next few years going on adventures, eating gelato, and taking advantage of living at the beach.

    Photographer: Alea Moore Photography / Videographer: Ryan Lindsay / Planner: It Takes Two Events / Venue: The Engine Room at Monroe Cotton Mills / Florist: Lindsay Coletta / Cake Baker: Cecilia’s Cakes / Caterer: Happy Belly Food Truck and Mac the Cheese Truck / Rentals: I Do Linens / DJ: Mike Zarin / Paper Products: Allee Rodenbaugh and Minted / Bride’s Gown: Monique Lhuillier / Hair and Makeup: Megan Neary / Bride’s Shoes: J. Crew Factory / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: RenzRags / Groom’s Attire: “Napoli” by Suitsupply, “Clifton” by Allen Edmonds, J. Crew Factory, H&M, and Daniel Wellington / Groomsmen Attire: J. Crew Factory / Photo Booth: Classic Photo Affair / Bartender: Lyght House Cocktails / Engagement and Wedding Bands: Solomon Brothers

    marissa Written with love by Marissa
    4 Comments
    1. avatar carolyn reply

      I love that this bride ROCKED her glasses on her special day :)

    2. avatar Yours Truly Wedding Albums reply

      Gorgeous choice of colors and I love the location!

    3. avatar Loverly reply

      We are loving this bride’s bouquet! Great color combo.

    4. avatar Amy reply

      Just beautiful – perfect pictures, gorgeous wedding. Enjoyed it all.

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    Leah may have needed a little persuasion to agree to her first date with Brian, but she sure didn’t need any to say “yes” to his sweet surprise proposal, or when it came to picking out the place where they would tie the knot! As the fourth generation in her family be raised in Atlanta, Leah knew the Atlanta History Center would be the perfect venue, and I can only imagine how stunning her dramatic entrance down the steps of the Swan House was for their guests. From the sound of it, they had quite a fun group–according to Leah, the band had to tell guests to sit down to eat dinner because they were dancing too much!

    Big thanks to Scobey Photography for sharing this beautiful day with us!

    How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Brian and I met through mutual friends. We were both coming out of relationships, and Brian asked his friend, Charlie, who is married to my best friend, Michelle, if they had any single girlfriends. Michelle said no, because she knew I was just coming out of a relationship and didn’t think I would be ready to date again so quickly. It’s a good thing that Charlie responded, “What about Leah?” Michelle and Charlie spent the better part of a month trying to sell me on all the reasons I should consider going out on a date with Brian. Those reasons included: he is Jewish (so am I), he is an attorney (I don’t typically like the attorney type), and we had grown up living less than ten minutes apart (and yet somehow, we had never met), but the reason that actually got me interested was that he had just built a pool at his new house. It was summer time in Atlanta, and who doesn’t need a good pool to stay cool by during those hot Southern summers?! We went out on our first date with Charlie and Michelle a few weeks later, and the rest is history!

    Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We did do a first look, and I am so glad that we did. Brian and I had such a huge wedding that it was important to us to see each other first, and take all of our photos before the ceremony. That way, we could join the cocktail hour and try to speak to as many of our guest as we could. We had friends and family in attendance that flew in from all over the country, and we wanted them to know how important they are to us! We also wanted to really be in the moment and enjoy our reception to the fullest. Seeing each other for the first time on our wedding day was just the most amazing feeling, and it was something we wanted to share in private.

    There was no question in my mind about where I wanted to have our ceremony and reception. I was born and raised in Atlanta, and I am the fourth generation in my family to be raised in Atlanta, so the Atlanta History Center was the perfect venue. When you grow up in the South, you are surrounded by beautiful backdrops and weather, so I knew that the Swan House would be the perfect setting for our big Southern summer wedding.

    My most memorable moment of the wedding was when the doors of the Swan House opened, and my father and I started walking down all the stairs to the ceremony. It felt like time stood still, and the only thing that I was focused on was walking down the stairs to my husband. He was looking up at me with the biggest smile on his face, and it was the most amazing moment of the entire day. Our guests later told me that it was one of the most dramatic and beautiful entrances they had ever seen.

    Describe your wedding flowers. I love anything classic, so I knew that I wanted to include some wedding staples, like roses, hydrangea, ranunculus, lilies, and peonies. Unfortunately, peonies were out of season in mid-August. My florist used a flower I had never heard of before that was so beautiful: blushing bride protea! I mean, who wouldn’t want a flower at their wedding with “bride” in the name! For colors, we went with light pinks, whites, and sage green. It was a beautiful combination that didn’t distract from my dress, but was colorful enough to stand out.

    What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We decided to do a tradional Southern menu! We served fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, and biscuits as our main course. For dessert, we served traditional Southern dishes like banana pudding, mini pecan pies, blackberry and peach cobblers, and sweet potato moon pies.

    Brian and I danced our first song to Sam Cooke’s “You Send Me.” I heard the song on the radio one day, and the lyrics were so perfect, so I asked Brian what he thought of it. He agreed that it would be the perfect song to do our first dance to–we loved the old time-y melody!

    Having Yacht Rock perform at our wedding was the best decision that we made. So many of our guests told us that it was the most fun wedding that they have ever been to. You know it’s going to be a great night when the band has to tell your guests to sit down to eat dinner! Our guests filled up the dance floor for the entire night, and the energy and excitement was palpable!

    Tell us all about the proposal! Brian and I got engaged in August 2013. We were going on vacation to Mexico for Labor Day weekend. We had gone to Mexico that weekend the year before, shortly after we started dating, and Brian had told me that he loved me for the first time while we were having dinner in our private casita beachside. When Brian suggested we go back to Mexico in 2013, I though that maybe something was coming–I even told my sister that I thought he might propose. So, in typical Brian fashion, he decided to throw me for a major loop! We were getting ready to head to the airport for Mexico, and I was running around the house like a mad woman trying to get all of my last minute packing done. I threw everything in a suitcase, and Brian rushed me out of the house. It was a sweltering August day in Atlanta, and Brian went to open my car door. Well, it was so hot, I kept asking Brian if he could just start the car first, and he kept telling me “Just get in the car, Leah, and then I will start it.” I didn’t understand why he didn’t just get in and start the car to cool it off, but as it turns out, he was helping me into the car so that he could then get down on one knee IN OUR DRIVEWAY to propose before we even left for Mexico! He knew I was on to him, and he wanted our engagement to be a real surprise. It was actually perfect, because we got to make a few phone calls to our family and closest friends before we got on the plane. Then, we got to spend the next five days in paradise celebrating our engagement!
    When did y’all get married? August 16, 2014
    How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 350
    Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I looked everywhere for my wedding dress! I went shopping in New York with my sister-in-law, but ended up choosing my gown at Joan Pillow Bridal in Atlanta. I knew I wanted a dress that would be perfect for an outdoor summer ceremony, but also glamorous enough for a big ballroom reception. I ended up choosing an all-lace gown, and added a belt by Monique Lhuillier to give the dress a little extra bling.
    What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Don’t take the wedding planning too seriously. This is supposed to be a wonderful time for you and your fiancé, so try to enjoy it as much as possible. Once your wedding day is there, all the planning becomes completely worth it, and the most important thing of all is that your wedding is a day that is just about you and your partner, and the love that you have for each other.
    If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? More than $100,000
    What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? Brian and I just bought a new home, so we are settling into married life and planning a renovation of our home, as it was built in 1928. The renovation will include a total gut of the kitchen and family room, so wish us luck, as the project is about to begin!

    Photographer: Scobey Photography / Videographer: Cinema Weddings / Planner: Laura Maddox with Magnolia Events / Ceremony Venue: The Swan House / Reception Venue: The Atlanta History Center Grand Overlook Ballroom / Florist: Flowers by Yona / Catering and Cake: A Legendary Event / Rentals: We Rent / Band: Yacht Rock Revue / Paper Products: Eberle Invitations / Bride’s Gown: Anna Maier Couture / Bride’s Belt: Monique Lhuillier / Bridal Salon: Joan Pillow Bridal Salon / Hair Stylist: Nadia Javan / Makeup Artist: Wendy Role for Trish McEvoy / Bride’s Shoes: “Lacie: by Badgely Mishka / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: J. Crew / Groom’s Attire: Sid Mashburn

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

      I agree too much wedding planning can be very stressful.

    2. avatar Classic Wedding Invitations reply

      Gorgeous photography!

    3. avatar Classic Wedding Invitations reply

      Gorgeous details! The planning definitely paid off!

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