Southern Weddings

Tag: house party

House parties, burying the bourbon and cake pulls, oh my! Meet the newest addition to the Southern Weddings Shop: All About Southern Wedding Traditions. The whole office is awfully proud of our new e-book library. Why? Because we are big believers in pretty AND practical and our new e-books are the best of both worlds!

There’s something magical about Southern culture that seems to be magnified when digging into the wedding planning process. Outdoor weddings and receptions are common place and keeping away the rain is paramount: enter burying the bourbon. Whether you were born and raised in the South, moved here as fast as you could, or are simply looking to add a dose of Southern charm to your wedding day, our guide to Southern wedding traditions has you covered!

In this 19-page digital download, we walk you through the six most beloved Southern wedding traditions and offer up ways to personalize six classic wedding traditions. We’ll tell you when, where, why, and how to include each in your celebration!

We believe that your wedding day should be a reflection of your very personal love story. We also believe in the power of weaving sweet details (the more Southern the better) into your big day. Educate yourself and figure out which of our favorite traditions will work for you: All About Southern Wedding Traditions e-book!

P.S. Curious about the overlap of our e-book library and the Joyful Wedding Planner? Our e-books can be used alongside our planner (since we go into more detail on each topic than we were able to in the planner) or in tandem with another planner. We’ve heard from so many brides who were sad to have purchased another planner before finding ours, so this is a way that all of y’all can still get our perspective on individual topics without purchasing a second planner! Our e-books also make a great surcee for the brides in your life!

kristin Written with love by Kristin
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After “the first time around,” Robert had to work hard to win Brittany back, and after reading their sweet interview below, especially their proposal story, it’s clear that he certainly did. Upon their engagement, these two set out to not only show their love to each other, but also to their friends and family. With a guest list of 650 strong, I’m sure it was hard to make everyone feel welcome, but Brittany and Robert are the kind of couple who could do it! Everyone not only felt welcomed by this darling couple, Brittany also said that after the wedding, people didn’t talk about details or colors–they talked about their love! I can completely see why–it spills right out of these gorgeous photos from Spindle Photography.

I had found a dress I liked while looking with my mom, but since my aunt (also my matron of honor) and my grandmother weren’t with us, we didn’t buy it right away. When we went back to get the dress, my aunt poked around and picked just one other dress off the rack for me to try on. I tried on the dress we came back for, then tried on the dress my aunt picked out, and the dress my aunt picked definitely had the wow factor. It fit like a glove, and suited me, my personality, and the feel of our big day perfectly!

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The guest list. Robert is a youth pastor to a group of around 400-500 kids, and we both went to a smaller college where we had close relationships with a lot of people. We both grew up in Birmingham, went to school and church in Birmingham, and now work in Birmingham. If money grew on trees, we would have just had an open invitation to our wedding.

Our families are both really involved in two Methodist churches in Birmingham, so it was a little hard to decide which church to get married at. Robert and I started attending another Methodist church, Trinity UMC, when he first started interning with the youth department almost five years ago. We really grew into the people we are today while we were attending that church, and we started dating when we started going to Trinity. Robert started working there full-time as the middle school youth pastor while he finished his senior year in college. The people at Trinity watched our relationship grow and helped foster that growth, so we chose to get married there. As for the reception, I had photographed a couple of weddings at Swann Lake Stables, and I was in love with the venue. Robert wanted a reception where people felt comfortable loosening their ties and relaxing, and as soon as he and our families saw Swann Lake, we knew it was perfect for the feel of our wedding.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? From Brittany: I loved the ceremony. The pastor that did our homily had watched us date and grow together over the last four years. He asked Robert and I to write letters about each other and give them to him. He surprised us by incorporating parts of those letters into the ceremony, and it was so special to us. From Robert: The one thing I don’t think I could ever forget was when the church doors opened and Brittany began to walk down the aisle. We had already had our first look, but that was the moment where it all really came together, and for the first time, saying “this is my wife” really hit me.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? I loved having my childhood table and chairs tea set for the kids to sit at. I also LOVED our welcome baskets for our out-of-town guests. My grandmother made kitchen towels to go in the baskets with a cutout of the state of Alabama sewn on them. We are a little obsessed with Birmingham, so it was fun to pick out treats, drinks, and items unique to our city to share with others. I think what made our wedding feel Southern to me though was having so many people we loved talking, dancing, and congratulating Robert and I under the twinkly dance floor lights. It just doesn’t get much better than that.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: My mom is a retired art teacher and my grandmother is a master seamstress and the queen of crafts, so we loved being able to make a lot of details that were special to Robert and I and our families. My favorite details were the drawings and watercolors my mom did of our favorite places in Birmingham. Another favorite detail was the portrait my mom painted of me trying on my wedding dress. She loved doing these so much that she is now starting her own watercolor business!

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? In the end, the little decisions don’t matter. No matter what color the flowers are, what band is playing, what food is served, or where you are, you will still be marrying the love of your life when it’s all said and done, so don’t stress! After our wedding, people didn’t talk about the details or the colors–they talked about our ceremony and our love.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Robert’s family has a long-time family friend, Pam, who has made every birthday, wedding, and family event cake for years. It was a no-brainer that Pam would make the cakes for our big day! The groom’s cake was a family tradition: chocolate peanut butter cake (I wish I could virtually send you a bite of this cake!). The bride’s cake was strawberry with vanilla icing, which was equally good, of course :)

Don’t miss their wedding video by The Film Poets!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We knew each other in middle school and high school, but our paths didn’t cross too much. When the time came to look at colleges, I contacted Robert and some of his friends to ask about what life was like at Birmingham-Southern College. Fast forward a few months, and I was a freshman at BSC, still keeping in touch with these boys. Unfortunately for Robert, I was a little oblivious, and after months of telling friends and family that we were “just friends,” Robert asked me to dinner. We dated for five months, which became known as “the first time around” because one break up, a sad summer apart, and several life lessons learned later, we got back together, and the rest is history!
Tell us about the proposal! After our breakup, I had to “work for it,” as we joke now, to get Brittany back. One of the ways was to show Brittany that I wasn’t just telling her “I love you” because it was convenient or would make seeing each other less awkward. So, almost every day for a month and half, I wrote Brittany a letter. We then decided to continue writing to each other, especially when one of us was out of town. We typically wrote the letters in a journal we share. In March, when Brittany went to Mexico for a mission trip, I decided to write to her, but this time, I wrote about the journey of me picking out a ring, talking to her parents, and finally saying “Today, I asked you to marry me. Look down.” I proposed on April 20 by the lake on Birmingham-Southern’s campus. I gave her the journal and let her read through it, and then popped the big question! She said yes! I gave her a Bible with her new name engraved on it and said a prayer for our future life and marriage together. The best surprise was her reaction afterwards, when our families and a few of her best friends came running up after hiding on the other side of the lake. Brittany’s two best friends are photographers, so the whole experience was captured perfectly.
When did y’all get married? June 14, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 650 at the ceremony and probably 550 or so at the reception
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We had two readings read by two dear friends. The first was Colossians 3:12-17 and the second was Colossians 12:9-18.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My something blue was the ring my parents gave me as a graduation present from high school. My something new was my Kate Spade heels. My something borrowed and something old were two pins from my grandmother. One was a spoon that my grandmother got when she was engaged and picking out her china, since girls used to get a pin of the china and silver that they picked out. The other was a pin that my grandmother’s Aunt Pearl used to wear.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? Since I know how to use Photoshop, we were able to do a lot of things ourselves. Our wonderful design company, Empress Stationery, gave us our logo to use for many other things we were making for the wedding. I used the logo on the cotton candy bags and the fans that we had at the reception. I designed the wedding programs, bridesmaids luncheon programs, and welcome basket tags myself as well.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? That’s so hard to say! I had an incredible team of vendors, but I have to say, what I was most excited about was the photography and videography. Kelly is not only a mentor, but also a friend and partner in crime, so I couldn’t wait to go through my own wedding day with her capturing and experiencing each moment with me. Robert and I do a lot of video work with his youth ministry, so we looked around a lot before we found The Film Poets. To say we are obsessed with them, is an understatement. We were (and still are) blown away by the brilliant video they created for us.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We’re just excited about living life together, as simple as that is. We have great friends and great family, and we’re happy to have a home to welcome them into after they have housed and hosted us for so long. I had been looking forward to getting a dog, and finally convinced Robert to adopt a dog a couple months after we were married! Just one day after adopting a hound-lab mix, Sadie, Robert and I went back to adopt her brother, Cooper! Now we just love spending nights on our back deck with our two precious puppies, family, and friends.

Photographer: Spindle Photography / Videographer: The Film Poets / Planner: Brittany Lott of Elle Affairs / Ceremony Venue: Trinity United Methodist Church / Reception Venue: Swann Lake Stables / Florist: Lillie’s / Caterer: Shindigs / Rentals: Event Rentals Unlimited / Lighting: Design Productions / Band: 2nd Coming / Watercolors: SArias Creates / Paper Products: Empress Stationery / Bridal Salon and Veil: Diane’s Formal Affair / Bride’s Jewelry and Getaway Shoes: Kate Spade / Hair Stylist: Lynze Prater of Click Salon / Makeup Artist: Lisa Phillips / Bride’s Shoes: Vera Wang / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Joanna August / Bridesmaid Dress Salon: Bella Bridesmaids / Men’s Attire: Men’s Wearhouse

Spindle Photography is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

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

    I am still reliving the wedding. It was my grand daughter’s and it was so meaningful to us. One of the ministers was a long time friend and his part in the service was a treasure. Faith, family and friends are truly what the South is all about and Brittany’s wedding was a showcase for these things. I simply loved being a part of it.

  2. avatar Occasions In Print reply

    Such a sweet wedding! And they sound like a very sweet couple too!

  3. avatar Stacy {Woodsy Weddings} reply

    This was a large wedding that still manages to feel intimate with the warm space of the reception to touches like cotton candy and custom fans for each guest.

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Get ready for your heart to be melted, because we have a sweet-as-can-be Texas love story to share with y’all today! Kristy and Cory are college sweethearts, and three years after their first kiss at the State Capitol in Austin, Cory proposed in the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C. They were married at his aunt and uncle’s ranch on a hot day in June, but I can only imagine how little the heat mattered when everyone was focused on their deeply meaningful ceremony. The pictures from Kristy’s walk down the aisle are some of the most touching I’ve ever seen!

Thanks so much to Sara & Rocky for sharing Kristy and Cory’s wedding with us!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. All the dresses I tried on were beautiful. After trying on tons of dresses and loving all of them, I finally asked Cory’s opinion. He described to me the dress he imagined in boy terms, which was adorable and awesome. He ended up describing a lace fit and flare dress with small straps. I went dress shopping the next day with my mom and sister at a precious boutique in Austin, and the experience was so fun and peaceful. I found a dress like one he described and knew instantly that it was the one.

Describe your wedding flowers. My wedding flowers were dreamy and beautiful! Cory’s aunt arranged the flowers and designed the ceremony and reception. We sat down many times as I described flowers I loved and we looked at Pinterest over and over. She took all of the flowers I liked and designed the most beautiful bouquet. It was wild, colorful, and big!

The size of the wedding party was definitely Southern! We each had 13 bridesmaids and groomsmen and I had six girls in my house party. We are both blessed with precious, lifelong friends. The weather was also pretty typical for the South–we got married in late June outside, and it was hot! We made our programs into fans so that our guests could cool themselves off.

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We didn’t do a first look. We weren’t nervous or anxious for our big day–I always say that marrying Cory was the most natural thing I have ever done. We wanted the moment of seeing each other for the first time to be a part of our ceremony–a moment of our hearts bursting with pure joy!

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did write our own vows. It was really special getting to craft them together! We did the same opening and closing lines, with the middle part of our vows unique for a man and woman’s roles in marriage. Our favorite lines were “With deepest joy and humble gratitude, I accept you as my perfect provision from Christ. This love is not from ourselves–it is originated in Him who loved us and sacrificed for us first.”
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We had three readings done by dear friends. They were Psalm 84, a scripture Cory’s dad shared with him before he started dating, which we held onto during our dating relationship, Proverbs 3:3 and Romans 15:5-6, all scripture that helped shape our engagement.

The most memorable moment for the two of us was right after the ceremony. We stood on the porch of the barn, just the two of us, and held each other tightly. They were our first still moments together as husband and wife.

Cory’s aunt and uncle have a ranch outside of Cleburne, Texas, where they recently built a wedding barn. We loved the idea of getting married at a place Cory grew up visiting, and that Cory’s aunt and uncle ran. Thistle Springs Ranch is overflowing with love and sweet memories, and getting to work with Cory’s aunt and uncle to plan the wedding was the best. The only challenge was planning a wedding in a town that neither of us are from. I had no idea about a hair stylist, a location for the bridal luncheon, etc. My family and I spent a day walking around Cleburne stopping in at salons, tasting cakes at bakeries, and discovering cute restaurants. What was originally a challenge ended up being so much fun, and we loved every vendor we ended up using!

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. We did a wedding cake and mini pies! The wedding cake was a simple three-tiered cake with the stroke marks of the icing visible. I am gluten and dairy free, so the top layer of our cake was made so that I could eat it! Cory’s aunt put the most perfect flowers on it. Instead of a traditional cake topper, I made a tiny banner that said our names for the top layer. We also had about six different flavors of miniature pies, all of which sat under a banner that said “love is sweet.”

Our advice is to not stress about the details. While the music, food, and decorations are fun, they are added blessings. At the end of the day, all that matters is the covenant you make. If something goes wrong (which it probably will) or doesn’t get planned, that’s okay! You will still walk away as husband and wife. I always said that my dream wedding was one where I was married to Cory at the end.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. During our freshman year of college at Texas A&M, we started to see each other more and more within our group of friends. Our first impression of each other was that we looked so familiar–like we had seen each other or met somewhere else. We still haven’t figured that out. On the first day back at A&M for sophomore year, I saw Cory locking his bike outside of his classroom. My heart leapt, and I smiled and said, “Cory?” He looked up and smiled. So many of our thoughts and dreams over the summer were confirmed and exceeded in that moment. In October 2009, after a few dates and “coincidental” time together, Cory told me that he was serious about our relationship, and wanted to protect it in such a way that we would be ready to marry when we left college. We spent the last year and a half of our relationship long distance, and though neither of us preferred it, we are confident that this allowed us to see clearly the importance of our relationship, learn creative communication and affection, and cherish every moment together. Now, we delight in getting to walk each day side by side.
Tell us all about the proposal! In the nine months prior to our wedding, Cory had moved to Washington, D.C. for an internship and seminary courses, while I had decided to help a friend start a company in Houston. I had always said that when I got engaged, I wanted a party with all our friends and family there to celebrate with us. Cory knew this, but his plan came with a little bit different of a timeline. Right when Cory moved to DC, I had booked flights for a visit in the middle of October. Because of my expectations, I had no idea that he would think about proposing while I was visiting. Cory picked me up from the airport that weekend and took me straight to dinner and a concert. When we left the concert early, Cory suggested we go and look at some national monuments. Since we’re always going on adventures together, I didn’t think that this was out of the ordinary. We got to the Capitol building and walked hand in hand, humbled by the greatness and beauty of the building. We started reminiscing on the sweetness of our relationship over the years and talked about sharing our first kiss at the Texas state capitol in Austin. Cory then said, “What if we shared our first kiss as an engaged couple at the nation’s capitol?” I started going numb and couldn’t really speak–I was in shock! I finally believed him when I saw my grandmother’s ring. After the feeling came back to my body, I mustered a “YES!” and started crying tears of joy! Although Cory proposed in a different state and there was no party with friends and family, it was perfect. Instead of bringing friends and family into the first moments of our soon-to-be covenant marriage, we got to spend the evening just the two of us, establishing ourselves as an engaged couple and talking about the magnitude of being a picture of the gospel. I couldn’t have asked for anything more.
When did y’all get married? June 22, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 280
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. One of my sweet girlfriends played “Before the Throne” and a mash-up of our favorite hymns on the piano during the processional. During the ceremony, Cory and I took communion together while my sister and a friend sang/played “In Christ Alone.” Our first dance was to “Love Like That” by Ben Rector. We first heard the song at one of his concerts while we were dating and immediately loved it!
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Our favorite detail was getting to celebrate with our friends and family! We made a point to love on and talk to everyone at the wedding, and we hope we succeeded! The conversations, hugs, and encouragement we got from our community is something that we will always cherish.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? For our favors, my mom and I made homemade peach jam. Cory and I are Aggies, so of course, we did the Aggie War Hymn at the end of the reception! It’s one of our favorite Aggie wedding traditions.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? We loved our photographers, Sara and Rocky Photography. They were the first vendor we booked when we got engaged! We knew our photographs of the wedding would be precious to us forever, so we were very intentional when choosing photographers. Sara and Rocky are so friendly, creative, and crazy gifted!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? Before we even met, we both desired to work in outdoor Christian ministry in the mountains. We worked towards that dream together for our whole relationship and the Lord blessed us greatly! Graciously, He provided a job for us helping to develop a camp in the mountains in New Mexico. We moved to New Mexico the month after our wedding and get to work side by side. We are still in awe that we get to live together and love on each other day in and day out. Because of our long distance, we delight in every second together and pinch ourselves that we get to live with our best friend!

Photographer: Sara & Rocky / Venue: Thistle Springs Ranch / Florist: Groom’s aunt, Ann Wright / Cake and Pies: La Trattoria / Catering: Pappas Catering / DJ: Ryan Lee / Bride’s Gown: San Patrick / Bridal Salon and Veil: Blush Bridal Boutique / Bride’s Jewelry: Nordstrom / Bride’s Shoes: Tom’s / Bridesmaid Dresses: J. Crew / Men’s Attire: Vera Wang

lisa Written with love by Lisa
8 Comments
  1. avatar Nicole reply

    Oh goodness, my eyes watered just looking at that photo of the groom seeing his bride for the first time!

    • avatar Kristin reply

      Me too, Nicole! His sweet reaction had me in tears. Oh my — such emotion.

  2. avatar Emily reply

    Their ceremony photos ARE so sweet! And I love Kristy’s thought that she wasn’t nervous or anxious because marrying Cory was the most natural thing she’s done!

  3. avatar Sara Garza reply

    Thanks SO much for featuring Kristy and Cory’s wedding, it looks wonderful. You guys are great.

  4. avatar Dana reply

    the pictures of her walking down the aisle are sooo perfect!!!

  5. avatar Bobbi Jo reply

    What a sweet story and wedding! They both sound like good people. I feel like we could be friends!

  6. avatar Natalie reply

    Beautiful wedding, beautiful couple, and beautiful story. Thanks for sharing!

  7. avatar Plan Your Wedding without cracking Nuts | Mine Forever reply

    […] Sarah and Rocky Photography via Southern Weddings […]

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