Southern Weddings

Tag: Lazaro

It has been such a delight having Meg, our spring intern, with us this semester! Since her time in our office is wrapping up, we couldn’t resist asking her to introduce y’all to one of our beautiful real wedding features! – Lisa

You know a couple is a special when an entire street shuts down to celebrate their big day! McKara and Brandon paid homage to their beloved downtown Lakeland in the best way possible–by using its streets as the venue for their reception! Ashton Events, one of our super talented Blue Ribbon Vendors, transformed N. Kentucky Avenue and Pine Street using the most darling and whimsical vintage details (I’m still swooning over those antique floral teacups), while still keeping in mind McKara and Brandon’s main desire: to highlight the strong sense of community that Lakeland has to offer. Guests enjoyed a yummy meal seated at gorgeous, community-style farmhouse tables, and the night ended with the couple inviting folks walking by to join in on the fun. How beautiful is that? McKara and Brandon really captured the sweet essence of community while fusing it with their own quirky and vintage taste. I’m completely tickled with this fun couple and their big day…and I think y’all will be, too!

Thank you, Esther Louise Photography, for sharing this wonderful day with us!

I had my heart set on a peach-hued gown. After looking in boutiques in Florida, I found that none of the bridal shops stocked dresses in the peachy/pink hues I had in mind. I wanted to try on the dress in the color I would be wearing, so a trip to New York City was set up. My mom and my best friend/maid of honor flew up to Manhattan with appointments set at several boutiques who had confirmed they had peach dresses in stock for me to try on. Our first stop was Kleinfeld’s. I really did not have high hopes for finding my dress at Kleinfeld’s because I had my eye on a Carol Hannah dress that I was sure was the one. But, I figured since Kleinfeld’s had the largest selection of peach dresses in stock, it would be worthwhile. Upon arriving, we were extremely impressed with the customer service. Our consultant, Judy, was helpful and attentive. She brought me a brand new style from Lazaro in a peony color–it was just in and had not even been tried on by anyone before. Judy pulled me into the dress and it was beautiful. The peony color was made from alternating layers of ivory, pale yellow, and pale pink tulle created a variation of peach hues within the skirt. The strapless sweetheart neckline was wrapped in delicate peach Chantilly lace with a little peplum over the mountain of tulle. I felt like a cupcake in the best possible way–the softest, peachiest, prettiest cupcake. But, that Carol Hannah dress was still in my mind, which Judy knew. My mom, MOH, and I toured a few more boutiques–Lovely, Reem Acra, and then finally, Carol Hannah. As I slipped into “the dress” I had been dreaming of, I waited for the feeling to know this is the one. Carol was on-site and came out to talk with me as I tried it on. As I evaluated the dress and discussed tweaks with Carol, my mom pointed out that all the changes I was asking for were to make the dress look like the Lazaro dress. She was right. I wanted the Carol Hannah gown to be the one so badly, but I had left my dress at Kleinfeld’s with Judy. The next morning, we returned to Kleinfeld’s. The sales manager saw us in the waiting area and said, “I was just talking about you during the sales meeting this meeting. I told the consultants that not every bride comes in here with red hair, wants a peach dress, and finds the perfect gown. I knew you would come back.”

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? Brandon and I wrote our ceremony together, with input from our officiant–a local community member/friend we admire. We opted to write vows we would both say together versus separate vows we would make to each other. Our completed vows are a very accurate description of the nature of our relationship. This line, in particular, really speaks to our relationship: “I vow to take on anything this world sends our way, standing back to back with you, the one I love most.” I’ve always felt a good visual of our relationship is similar to a movie where two superhero partners are standing back-to-back, with threats coming at them from every direction. We’re not focused on the same thing all of the time, and we may not see what the other sees, but at the end of the day, I feel Brandon behind me and he’s got my back. I can count on that every minute, which allows me to trust him, tackle whatever is thrown at me, jump at opportunities that arise, and always know he will be there if I turn around.

How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We really credit the time we spent while creating my engagement ring before we were engaged as the most concentrated time we spent focusing on the idea of marriage. We discussed a lot about what we wanted from the relationship, what a successful marriage looked like to each of us, and made the choice together to move forward. Although Brandon traditionally “asked” me to marry him during the proposal, it was really a joint decision we made prior to that day.

The ceremony venue, The Loggia at Lake Mirror, is one of our favorite places in Lakeland. The 1920’s architecture overlooking the beautiful lake are right in line with our style. When discussing a ceremony venue, Brandon and I both instantly agreed about The Loggia. We wanted to be outdoors and this was the ideal venue. For the reception, we went a little outside of the box. We knew our guest list could be a little on the heavy side, eliminating most venues of our taste in the Lakeland area. We didn’t want to have to cut guests to accommodate the venue restrictions. One Saturday, while walking through the Farmer’s Market, I asked Brandon, “Why can’t we just have our reception here?” in a wishful thinking kind of way. Brandon thought about it and said, “I bet we could get the city to close the streets for us if they do for the Farmer’s Market.” From there, the ball began to roll. Our hearts were set on the streets of downtown as our reception venue. We approached the City of Lakeland for a road closure request. They had never been asked to hold a private party in the streets and were a little on the unsure side at first. From there, our wedding coordinator, Laura with Ashton Events, worked through all the red tape and permits. The finished reception result was completely worth it. For a fee at a fraction of the cost of a ballroom at a hotel, we were able to close three blocks of downtown Lakeland for our cocktail hour and reception. Cafe lights were strung between the buildings lining the street, feasting tables were brought in for a family-style BBQ dinner on vintage china, the coffee shop we frequent most mornings stayed open late to provide coffee and tea, we created a dance floor in the middle of an intersection, and our favorite wine bar around the corner hosted the after party. Ashton Events was instrumental in coordinating all the moving pieces of the party. It would have never been possible without Laura and her team.

With the venues that we chose, we had a lot of design elements to pull in to fill the space. We essentially started with a blank canvas. For the ceremony, we used a greenery garland at the top of the aisle and vintage wood crates and boxes filled with airy baby’s breath, which I loved as a fun, ethereal filler. Both components were repurposed at the reception in the lounge area. For my bouquet, I carried a hand-tied bouquet with a variety of peach, ivory, and pale pink blooms, lots of greenery, and a few scabiosa pods. Each of the bridesmaid’s bouquets was comprised entirely of one kind of bloom that was represented in my bouquet. This, to me, represented how each of the ‘maids was a different part and sector of my life, but how they all helped make it beautiful. On each of the bouquets, I selected a variety of textiles like velvet ribbon, silk strips, and fuzzy yarns to create a streamer/tassel look hanging from the blooms. For the centerpieces, we used a variety of vintage vases and vessels with springs and sprays of various peach, cream, and pale pink blossoms with lots of greenery and some scabiosa pods.

Our date has special significance because both Brandon’s parents and my parents were married on the same date. We incorporated this into our save the dates by having both sets of parents in the photo. We stood in front of our ceremony location at The Loggia and each couple held a sign with their wedding date, mine and Brandon’s reading October 10, 2014. We wanted guests to know the significance from the get-go, and this was a fun, visual way to share that. At the wedding, we surprised our parents with a little tribute to their anniversaries. Our cake table showcased five smaller cakes rather than one large cake. When it was time to cut the cake, we had displayed both sets of parents’ cake toppers on two of the cakes on the table, in addition to our cake with our own topper. We asked our parents to join us and we all took turns cutting our cakes. They were surprised and touched by the sentiment.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. We elected for five smaller cakes instead of one large cake. This allowed us to select a few different flavors and create a display that included our parent’s wedding cake toppers for their anniversaries. We (and I really mean Brandon, because this was his favorite meeting of the whole wedding planning process) chose a pink champagne cake with a whipped icing as our center cake, which was layered with fresh strawberries. Strawberries are heavily grown in the local area, so this was a nice way to incorporate a little bit more of our city into the wedding. Two of the smaller cakes were orange citrus cake with cream cheese icing–again, a nod to the large citrus industry of our city. The final two small cakes were chocolate with vanilla icing (my personal favorite when it comes to classic flavors). We used five different vintage cake plates to create a display for the beautiful cakes. Each cake was decorated differently, utilizing watercolor painting on a very thin outer layer of fondant, a rustic icing with a sugar bloom, or an application of gold foil. Our main cake that Brandon and I cut featured adorable little ivory china swans with gold foil details from BHLDN. Swans are a big part of the Lakeland community, serving as the symbol of the city, so this was one more tie in to our community.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? That Brandon and I were able to enjoy every single moment. I’ve always heard that your wedding day flies by–you blink and it’s over. I’m not a relaxed personality type, but the day of our wedding, we both were so laid back. We were able to savor every moment and every memory. That is my favorite part–that I am able to relive the whole day in my head and remember being 100% present for those moments, not only through the beautiful photos and video. I credit this to having such a solid conductor of events at the helm with Laura from Ashton Events. We could relax because we knew it was all taken care of and every piece was being executed as planned.

Don’t miss McKara and Brandon’s wedding film by White in Revery!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met our freshman year at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville. We were both involved in sorority/fraternity life and were serving on Greek Council together. Brandon hardly spoke–he’s the quiet, shy type. I eventually transferred to finish my degree at the University of South Florida in Tampa. Our senior year of college, we reconnected through a Facebook status I commented on. We started private messaging and the conversation continued for three months while I finished an internship in England. Brandon had promised to cook me dinner and show me all these great new places in Jacksonville that had popped up since I left–so when I returned stateside, I made a visit to Jacksonville to “visit friends,” testing if Brandon would follow through. He did. He nervously cooked me dinner with the scarce ingredients in his downtown loft and we watched SNL skits all night. The next day, we went to the beach and he pulled me into the ocean…fully dressed. From there, we took visits back and forth between Jacksonville and Tampa until our graduation the following semester.
Tell us all about the proposal! Being that I’m in the design industry (and a Class A control freak), I’m extremely particular about, well, just about everything. When Brandon brought up the idea of marriage, the conversation naturally led to him asking about the type of ring I would like. Together, we spent about seven months sourcing the center stone (a peach seven-karat Morganite) and locating a local jeweler willing to create a custom ring. This was a very enjoyable time in our relationship–it eased us into the concept of marriage and moved us towards the future together. Finally, on August 11, 2012, I stated to Brandon that “I wasn’t going to spend the next however long on pins and needles, trying to look my cutest all the time just waiting for him to propose.” With his sheepish smile, Brandon told me “Well, just look cute today.” I didn’t get the hint and continued to playfully badger him. We went down to the Farmer’s Market, like we do every Saturday, but then Brandon split off, saying he had to drop something off and he’d catch up with me–knowing I’d head to one of our favorite vintage treasure haunts, The Black Swan Bazaar. After browsing, I was ready to move to the next shop, but one of the owners kept pulling me around the store to show me new inventory. Finally, Brandon showed at the entrance of the store. As I turned to head out, I was pulled one more time by the shop keeper who said, “Oh, have you seen one of these before?” as she touched the top of a cut-glass candy dish. I was thinking “Duh, lady, it’s a candy dish…” as she lifted the lid. Mid-thought, I saw a glimpse of the ring Brandon and I had been working on, inside the candy dish in a little box. I turned to look at Brandon and found him on one knee. Brandon muttered somethings which I don’t think my brain even heard because I was completely caught off-guard. We celebrated for a few minutes with the owners and shoppers at The Black Swan before Brandon informed me that his parents were at my parents’ house for a little celebration brunch.
When did y’all get married? October 10, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? About 200
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? The rental fees for the venues were very low. The Loggia was about $750 for the ceremony and closing the streets cost about $250. The streets were a blank canvas, so we had to bring in all the tables, linens, chairs, etc., but we had carte blanche on which vendors to use. We created custom packages with our photographers and videographers to met our needs. The packages they had were either a little under what we were wanting or a little over, so we asked for a personalized package. Typically we would have had to pay extra for things we didn’t want/need, but our vendors were super great and worked with us to meet our needs, which saved us money. For the centerpieces, my mom and I hunted and collected vintage vessels for the two years Brandon and I were engaged. We were able to find most pieces for $1-3 at thrift stores, garage sales, or antique shops. This saved on the cost of the rental, and we were also able to resell the items after the wedding to recoup the cost.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Hire a wedding coordinator! Hands down, it will be the best money you spend on the wedding. Don’t skimp on the hands to do the work that you plan! A lot of time, coordinators can help save you money through vendor relationships they’ve built.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Well, we found out a month after the wedding that we were expecting a baby. So we’re now enjoying the whirlwind experience of becoming parents to a baby boy! We’re looking forward to seeing where the next couple of years take us with my business, Brandon’s career, and watching our son, Rex, grow up in a city we love.

Photographer: Esther Louise Photography | Videographer: White in Revery | Planner: Ashton Events | Ceremony Venue: City of Lakeland’s Loggia | Reception Venue: Downtown Lakeland, N. Kentucky Ave & Pine Street | Florist: FH Weddings | Cake Baker: Hands On Sweets | Caterer: Hickory Hollow BBQ | Rentals: Wish Vintage Rentals | Lighting: Tampa Lights | Band: Brian Sutherland Band | DJ: Cory Baron | China: Dishie Rentals | Paper Products: Boutique Greek | Bride’s Gown: “Style 3300” in Peony by Lazaro | Bride’s Accessories: Lazaro, Carolee, and Kate Spade | Hair and Makeup: Michelle Renee The Studio | Bride’s Shoes: Cynthia Rowley | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Fifth Avenue Showstopper Dress” by Badgley Mischka | Menswear: Men’s Wearhouse, JoS. A. Bank, The Tie Bar, and Johnston Murphy | Linens: Kate Ryan Linens | Chairs: Signature Event Rentals | Bartenders: Tucker’s Southside Liquor & Package | Coffee and Tea: Mitchell’s Coffee House | Vintage Cars: MJC Classic Cars | After-Party Location: Tony’s Studio B | Photo Booth: Bash Booth

Ashton Events is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

Written with love by admin
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In 2015, we featured 187 beautiful, meaningful Southern weddings here on our blog. Every single one was SO special to us–it’s truly an honor to learn about each couple’s story, and the fact that they so generously invite us into this precious day of their lives is something we never take lightly. Every year, we love going back through each wedding (yup, every single one!) to round up some of the most unique, memorable details–those things that even months later, we remember the most vividly. I’m kicking things off today with my personal favorite category: bridal looks! A wedding dress holds a whole story within itself–the moment the bride realized it was the one for her, the second her groom sees her in it for the first time, and so much more. We love the way these ladies chose dresses, accessories, hair styles, and makeup that perfectly complemented the styles of their weddings and added to the stories of their wedding days. Without further ado, our most memorable bridal looks of 2015!

Allison‘s Gatsby-esque Jenny Packham (photo by Alisha Crossley)

Jessica‘s sparkly Hayley Paige (photo by Tracy Enoch)

Ellen‘s champagne Monique Lhuillier with delicate beading (photo by Mary Rosenbaum)

Lacy‘s undeniably classic, feminine style, reminiscent of Audrey Hepburn (photo by Archetype Studio)

Lindsay‘s heirloom gown and lace appliqué veil (photo by Natalie Watson)

Mare‘s classic Southern belle style (photo by Brian Flint)

Mary Catherine‘s dramatic silk Le Spose di Giò (photo by Paperlily Photography)

Abigail‘s Tara Keely gown, complete with a big Southern bow (photo by Michelle Lyerly)

Anna‘s embellished and ruffled St. Pucchi (photo by Amy Arrington Photography)

Catherine‘s custom Heidi Elnora (photo by Mike Cassimatis)

Tracy Enoch and Amy Arrington Photography are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Dana reply

    that sparkly hailey page…so beautiful! But all of these are just stunning. What lucky brides!

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So many couples meet and fall in love in college, and y’all know how much we love it when a bride and groom find wedding inspiration from their love story! That said, some college colors can be, let’s say, less than fitting for an elegant celebration. I love Rosie and Dan’s sweet solution–these two shared so many special moments at Clemson (including their proposal–see below!), but instead of trying to make bright Clemson orange and purple work at the Legare Waring House, they chose softer shades of each color. The result? A lovely (and meaningful!) peach and lavender palette that was carried out through beautiful blooms by Branch Design Studio and captured to perfection by our Blue Ribbon Vendor, Courtney Dox!

Our wedding flowers were so beautiful! Our wedding colors were peach and lavender, to represent the Clemson orange and purple, in honor of where we met and got engaged. I wanted a mix of colors and textures, as well as flowers that meant something to me. Growing up, we always picked Queen Anne’s lace at my grandma’s house, so I wanted to include that, as well as peonies since we have a huge peony garden at our house. The fringe tulips added beautiful texture, and the garden roses added the peach color I was looking for. The centerpieces were in a mixture of mercury glass vases and clear bud vases. We had rod iron shepherd’s hooks with hanging cut glass vases as aisle markers, which we re-purposed after the ceremony on the bar tables. We had wine barrels at our altar with large tall arrangements on top mixed with smaller arrangements for height variation, which we also repurposed at the reception.

We had the ceremony under the row of oaks at Legare Waring House, which we fell in love with the moment we saw it. It was the first venue we saw that day, and when we left, we both said, “This is the one.” The oak trees were really what sold us, but the house was also so perfect. We loved the Southern decor inside and that our guests could be outside with us near the band, or go inside to get away from it if they wanted to. We also loved that the entire upstairs was the bridal suite–it was such a beautiful place to get ready. There were also two groom’s suites for the guys to hang out in the day-of, which none of the other venues we looked at had.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We wrote our entire ceremony. Our good friend from college officiated, which was so special to us. This is a phrase we both loved: “Loving someone is a reason to stretch beyond our limits, to become more for the sake of the other. It is to look into the soul of your beloved and embrace what you see. A couple who weds are joined not only by the mutual affection and love they share, but also by their hopes, dreams, and by their promises of what will be.”

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Our food was really one of our favorite parts of the wedding. Cru was amazing to work with, and the food was all we had hoped for. We had assorted Southern hors d’oeuvres, like fried green tomatoes and pimento cheese, pickled shrimp BLTs, pork belly with smoked tomato caramel glaze and goat cheese, and smoked mozzarella potato blintzes with truffle oil and mushrooms. For the main dinner, we had a shrimp and grits station, a carving station with filet, grilled veggies, and fresh bread, and a salad station with goat cheese caesar salad. We got to introduce many of our Northern guests to some fun Southern dishes–most people tried shrimp and grits for the first time, which everyone was really excited about!

What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Our planner! Francesca from Pure Luxe Bride and her entire team were so amazing. We had to deal with rain the entire weekend, which was really stressful. I had a tent on rain reserve, but I had my heart set on an open-air celebration. Francesca made me feel really good about our decision to get the tent to be safe, and even somehow got us a clear-top tent the day before the wedding, which ended up being stunning. She and her team added draping for us the morning of the wedding, and also totally reworked our seating chart to work around the tent. She really knows what she’s doing, which saved the day…and it didn’t end up raining at all!

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? We had our planner grab us right when the food was put out and bring us upstairs to the bridal suite so we could eat just the two of us. It was only about ten minutes, but we loved taking a moment alone to be like, “We’re married!” and call each other husband and wife for the first time. We also got to try our amazing wedding food that our planner had so graciously set up for us with our drinks of choice. We are so happy we did that.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Dan and I met during our freshman year at Clemson University. We were great friends all throughout college, and then started dating our senior year. Our friendship grew into the most amazing relationship. We graduated and moved to Maryland (where Dan is from) together, and dated for six years before we got engaged! It is a great feeling knowing you are marrying your best friend.
Tell us all about the proposal! We were at Clemson for the weekend for a football game with friends and family, and decided to get up early on Sunday to go for a walk around campus together. We go back to Clemson every year for a game, but rarely get to take in our surroundings because we’re so busy. We were up pretty early, so it seemed like we were the only people on campus. We took a picture of ourselves with the library in the background (if you’ve ever been to Clemson, you know how beautiful this view is). I looked at him and started getting emotional because I was just so happy to be with him, and then he then got down on one knee and asked me to marry him! Even though we had been dating for so long, I did not see this coming! It was the most amazing moment.
When did y’all get married? April 18, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 125
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We did decide to do a first look. We both really wanted to be at the cocktail hour to see and talk to as many people as possible, and to really take in the day. We are so happy we did a first look! We got so many photos done before the ceremony, with only a few taken after the ceremony around the grounds. This made for a stress-free, fun time for us both.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. We had a two-tiered white buttercream wedding cake with fresh flowers on it. It was simple, yet stunning. We went with pound cake with raspberry sauce and lemon curd inside. We also had a dessert table that included mini bourbon pecan pies with vanilla bean meringue, mini double fudge brownies, mini Meyer lemon squares, and assorted cookies.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are looking forward to our lives as a married couple. Children will hopefully be in our near future as well, but for now, we’re in love with being married to each other.

Photographer: Courtney Dox Photography / Videographer: Siegel Films / Planner: Francesca of Pure Luxe Bride / Venue: Legare Waring House / Florist: Branch Design Studio / Cake Baker: Declare Cakes / Caterer: Cru / Rentals: Snyder / Vintage Items and Love Sign: 428 Main / Lighting: Innovative Event Services / Band: The Root Doctors / Paper Products: Scotti Cline Designs / Bride’s Gown: Lazaro / Bridal Salon: Love Couture / Bride’s Hair Accessory and Jewelry: Haute Bride / Bride’s Belt: Carol Hannah / Accessory Salon: Southern Protocol / Hair and Makeup: Paper Dolls / Bride’s Shoes: Nina / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Rachel” and “Morgan” in Grey Ridge by Donna Morgan / Menswear: Men’s Warehouse

Courtney Dox and Scott Cline Designs are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
3 Comments
  1. avatar Dana reply

    love how their flowers turned out!

  2. avatar Maureen reply

    I really didn’t think I’d like the lavender and peach combo but it looks so soft and romantic together – I love it!

    Josh and I just celebrated our one-year wedding anniversary yesterday and it’s so surreal. I still feel like it was yesterday and love reading about weddings because it reminds you of the magic of your own day too. ;)

  3. avatar Occasions In Print reply

    Love the flowers and the location is stunning!

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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