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Unfortunately, it’s inevitable that not everything is going to be perfect at your wedding–however, there are moments that absolutely will be! For Audrey, that moment came as she was walking down the aisle with her father by her side, surrounded by their friends and family. Though the Marlsgate Planation and beautiful weather certainly helped, the best part was the realization that she was about to marry her best friend, Kasper. With sweet Southern details woven throughout their wedding day, Audrey and Kasper celebrated their marriage with a seated dinner that would make any Southern grandmother proud–it included fried chicken, collard greens, and cheese grits, just to name a few!

Gracious, I’m sure glad Amanda Watson shared this lovely day with us!

P.S. Can we please take a moment to talk about Audrey’s amazing Southern bump and custom Lea-Ann Belter gown? I positive this look just shot to the top of my list of classic Southern style favorites!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. My mother and sister met me in Dallas and we made a weekend of it! After a long, super exhausting (but fun!) day on Saturday, we narrowed it down to one dress at each boutique, but I still didn’t feel like any of them was “the one.” Our last appointment was at the Bridal Boutique in Lewisville, Texas, which I chose because they are the only boutique in DFW that carries Berta. The dress I had in mind was lace with long sleeves. After trying several of this style on, the store was closing and I still didn’t feel like I had found the right dress. Our stylist said “Hang on a minute, I have something in the back that you might like.” She brought out a fitted, dupioni silk dress with a trumpet skirt and a dramatic train. When I put it on, we all knew that it was the dress that I would walk down the aisle in. It was a one-of-a-kind design that they were sending back to the designer. Our stylist called Lea-Ann Belter in Toronto, and she agreed to design a custom dress just for me! It fit like a glove and was absolutely perfect!

We decided to do a first look in the English gardens beside the plantation house. We really wanted to have that moment together in private to see each other and soak in what the day was all about before the craziness began. Also, it made taking pictures so much easier, as we got all the group pictures over with before the ceremony and were able to go straight to the reception without holding up the dinner.

My most memorable moment was when my dad walked me down the aisle and I saw Kasper standing on the porch. The whole view of the plantation was perfect, the weather was perfect, the string quartet on the balcony was perfect, the wedding party looked amazing, and all of our friends and family were there. I couldn’t believe that it had all come together so perfectly and I was actually getting married to my very best friend. It was surreal and I will remember that forever.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Our favorite detail of the wedding was the event branding by my sister, Jessie Russell. Jessie is an art director with a Master’s degree in Communication Design from the Pratt Institute in NYC. She pulled the whole wedding together, from the invitations, to the programs, to the menus, and even the wax seal design that we used on the envelopes and the rice bags. We were truly blessed to have Jessie to make every detail cohesive.

Charlie Roberts designed the perfect cake for our big day. It was a classic and elegant, five-tiered cake with alternating flavors of strawberry and vanilla. It had white buttercream icing with a layered rake design. The base of each tier had a string of white edible pearls. It was topped off with beautiful flowers and the base was decorated with eucalyptus garland.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? The Southern thread was woven all throughout our wedding. For starters, the venue was an old, Southern plantation that has been around since 1885. The reception was a seated dinner that comprised of a lovely watermelon/pecan spinach salad with pepper jelly vinaigrette dressing, bone-in fried chicken (the ultimate Southern dish), sautéed collard greens served in a mini mason jar, cheese grits, cornbread muffins, and sweet potato biscuits, with sweet tea to wash it all down! All of the guests were given mini bags of rice that were thrown during our send-off. My husband, Kasper, comes from a family of rice farmers, so the traditional rice had to be used.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met in the fall of 2012 when we were introduced by our mutual friends. We went to dinner in Little Rock, Arkansas and ended up talking until the restaurant closed. The chemistry was undeniable and it was apparent to both of us that this was the beginning of something special.
Tell us all about the proposal! One Saturday morning in May 2015, Kasper took me to the farmers market in Fayetteville, Arkansas to walk around and listen to the music. We got coffee and then walked by these beautiful flowers in the middle of the town square. Kasper got down on one knee, and I was in such shock that all I remember is saying “YES!!!” and then turning around to see my brother, sister, cousins, Kasper’s sister, and several friends cheering and taking pictures. We all went to lunch together and celebrated for the rest of the day. It was the best day of my life, until the wedding, of course.
When did y’all get married? May 21, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 200
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We had our wedding officiant read from 1 Corinthians 13:4-13, as well as Ephesians 5:22-33. He also read the seven things we love most about each other (our planner, Catherine Tapp, had us send them to her without us knowing what she was going to do with them). It was a fun surprise and the guests loved hearing them and seeing our reactions.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We wanted the ceremony to be very traditional. The John Jarboe String quartet sat on the balcony of the plantation and played Canon in D for the bridesmaids processional, the Bridal Chorus when I walked out, and the Wedding March for the exit. One special song that played was “Sunrise, Sunset” from the musical “Fiddler on the Roof.” That is one of my mother’s favorite musicals, so they played that for the seating of the parents. Of course, my mom cried the whole way down the aisle!
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Kasper and I went to premarital counseling with his hometown preacher from the Jonesboro Church of Christ, Chris Harrell. We also did a couples devotional and listened to the wise advice that our parents shared with us.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are making our home in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Kasper is an attorney and I am a physician recruiter. We are looking forward to summer fun at the lake, relaxing evenings at home, cheering on the Razorbacks this fall, and holidays with friends and family.

Photographer: Amanda Watson | Videographer: Jessie Swaffar | Planner: Catherine Tapp | Venue: Marlsgate Plantation | Florist: Carly Jones | Cake Baker: Charlie Roberts | Caterer: Simply the Best Catering | DJ: Ryan Thetford | Special Details and Photo Stylist: Lindsey Zamora | Paper Products: Jessie Russell | Bride’s Gown: Lea-Ann Belter | Bride’s Jewelry: Sissy’s Log Cabin | Hair Stylist: Sara Beth Leader | Makeup Artist: Bobbi Brown Cosmetics | Bride’s Shoes: Kate Spade | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Alfred Angelo | Groom’s Attire: Walker Brothers | Groomsmen Attire: Generation Tux | String Quartet: The Jarboe String Quartet | Audio Visual and Ceiling Draping: Central Arkansas Entertainment | After-Party Venue: Little Rock Marriott Hotel

marissa Written with love by Marissa
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    If you’ve had the chance to flip through Southern Weddings V8 (which we so hope you have! If not, find it here), you’ve most likely seen the gorgeous Astrid & Mercedes ad, right next to our Sweet Tea Society manifesto! We know wedding dress shopping can be daunting, so we love sharing our favorite designers, especially when we just know their styles and hearts will resonate with y’all. That’s why we’re tremendously grateful to have had Astrid & Mercedes (who believes in “petal-strewn kisses, ceremonies under the trees, and dancing barefoot under twinkling lights”) as part of the SW family for the past few years. We were tickled pink to have the opportunity to ask founder and designer, Lea-Ann Belter, a few questions for today’s Designer Spotlight!

    Tell us about the beginnings of Astrid & Mercedes–why did you want to start a bridal line, and how did you get started? I spend a lot of time with my two nieces, Astrid and Mercedes, and after our adventures, all I want to do is sketch wedding dress designs. Rather than fitting in with my Lea-Ann Belter collection, though, the drawings that filled my notebook had a totally different sensibility. So, I followed my two muses and created a line of gowns just like my nieces–plucky, unconventional, and up for anything!

    Tell us about what y’all offer to brides and gals. We create bridal gowns and accessories with a whole lot of care and love! Each wedding dress is made with 100 percent silk and is hand-cut, draped, and sewn by my wonderful team at our Toronto atelier.

    What sets Astrid & Mercedes apart from other bridal gown brands? My niece-muses, Astrid and Mercedes! Their carefree, vibrant spirits weave their way into every gown and accessory. We also produce everything in the same studio as the Lea-Ann Belter collection. Something so special and dear to my heart needs to be made with the same attention to detail as my couture collection.

    What is your single best tip for a bride about to start shopping for her wedding gown? Leave your expectations at the door. So often, women have preconceived ideas of what they’ll like, what they should wear, or how they should feel when they find the right gown. Approach the experience with an open mind and listen to your heart. When it flutters just in the slightest, you’ve got a winner!

    What is your current favorite wedding dress in your collection? If you were to get married tomorrow, which dress would you wear? My favorite changes from day to day, but lately, whenever I see Glamour, she makes me smile–probably because she was inspired by a trip we took out to the Niagara escarpment. It’s such a beautiful place, so fresh and full of natural beauty! If I were getting married tomorrow…oh my goodness! I guess I’d be up all night sewing to create something that felt just right.

    Do you have a favorite Astrid & Mercedes memory? I had been dreaming of creating the collection for so long that seeing it come to life in the studio was really moving. I’ll never forget how it felt to see all the new gowns hanging together in my Toronto boutique.

    What is the single greatest lesson you’ve learned in business? Be fearless and believe in yourself.

    Name three items every gal should have in her closet. A vintage piece that makes you feel beautiful, glamorous, and strong, a pencil skirt (so versatile!), and, of course, heels that won’t quit!

    Thank you so much, Lea-Ann! Follow along with Astrid & Mercedes here:

    Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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

    lisa Written with love by Lisa
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      When my darling BDK and I got married, one of the first things we did when planning was create a “non-negotiables” list. These were things that we both really wanted for our wedding, and throughout our planning, we focused on honoring each other’s wishes–minus his idea of white batting gloves on the boys! It helped us to realize what was important to the other person, and really aided us in making big decisions when our budget was involved. So, of course, I love Alice and Dan’s advice: “Have fun and build on your list of musts!” Alice knew she wanted classically elegant wedding on the water with great food, lots of hydrangeas, mojitos, and cotton candy, and Dan added Old Fashioned cocktails and an amazing band to their list. Together, they created a wedding that was as filled with Southern hospitality as it was lovely!

      P.S. If you know me, you know how much I value the perfect Southern bump. Alice knocked it out of the park!

      Thanks to Jacqueline Campbell for sharing this pretty day with us!

      Every woman in my family gets married with an antique light blue polka dot handkerchief pinned inside her wedding dress! This covered my something blue and old. My something borrowed was my sister in law’s earrings from her wedding day. My something new was my dress!

      Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We did a first look underneath a weeping willow tree. It was so special to have a private moment with Dan before we got married. We also wanted to be able to take photos before the wedding so we could enjoy the party.

      What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We both wanted to get married on the water, but didn’t want to venture too far from Washington D.C. We love the feeling (and the food!) at the Inn at Perry Cabin.

      Our favorite moment from our wedding was when it started to rain right before our vows. All of a sudden, the crowd and our wedding party put up big Inn at Perry Cabin umbrellas, and everyone laughed! The pictures of the rain and storm clouds turned out so beautifully. Thankfully, the rain stopped and the sun came out for first kiss and cocktail hour.

      What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Have fun and build on your list of musts! Planning a wedding is a lot of hard work, but it is such a special time in your life and in your relationship. I always knew I wanted a classically elegant wedding on the water with great food, lots of hydrangeas, mojitos, and cotton candy. Daniel was a great supporter of my wedding dreams, and added Old Fashioned cocktails and an amazing band to our list of wedding musts.

      What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We had a formal, but very relaxed, fun, hospitable celebration. One of our speciality cocktails was an Old Fashioned, which is Dan’s favorite! We served oysters at cocktail hour and crab cakes for dinner. Some of our favorite details were our display of blue toile-clipped escort cards, our pale pink wedding cake, and the table arrangements full of white and green flowers, lanterns, and candles.

      We had a pale pink wedding cake, decorated with a cascade of fresh flowers. The cake was chocolate with vanilla buttercream, and each tier had three layers filled with fresh blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries.

      How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. From Dan: We met at a party in 2006. I was immediately head over heels, but Alice rebutted my advances. Over the next few years, we both dated other people and saw each other occasionally. Each time we ran into each other, there was a clear connection. Eventually, I heard she was single, and so was I, so I gathered up the courage to ask her out. She agreed, and we’ve been together ever since.
      Tell us all about the proposal! From Dan: I bought a ring that needed to be shipped to me, and planned the proposal to take place on the delivery date. My plan was to tell her that I needed a new suit, and then bring her to Nordstrom to watch me try on various choices. I would change into a suit in the dressing room, come out with the ring in my pocket, and propose to her then and there. The day before the ring came, we spent the night at my brother’s house a few hours away, and then drove home to Chicago very early the following morning. During the drive, I tried to convince her that it was logical to stop at FedEx so I could pick up “an urgent package for work,” and then drive straight to Nordstrom to try on suits. She made it clear that she preferred to go home. We drove straight back into town, stopped at FedEx, and finally drove home to our apartment in downtown Chicago. Instead of taking the elevators up to our floor, I told her there was a new hot tub installed outside by our building’s pool, and that we should go look at it before we went upstairs. It was a beautiful, sunny day, and you could see the entire Chicago skyline from the pool deck. Alice asked me where the hot tub was. I took her hands, said something that I hope was memorable, took the ring out of my pocket, got down on one knee, and popped the question. After she said yes, I took her on a picnic on a boat on the Chicago River, complete with crab cakes, champagne, and chocolate.
      When did y’all get married? August 2, 2014
      How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 135
      Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did not write our own vows, but we chose a few passages and poems for friends and family to read during the ceremony. Our absolute favorite was “The Silken Tent” by Robert Frost.
      Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. I walked down the aisle to the Water Music Suite by Handel, which is what my parents had used at their wedding. Our string quartet played lots of Cole Porter and The Beatles at our cocktail hour, and our band played some Talking Heads at the groom’s request.
      What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We used the Inn at Perry Cabin china instead of renting our own. Their china is very ornate and has a beautiful antique look. We loved it!
      What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are going to have a baby this summer!

      Photographer: Jacqueline Campbell / Planner: Pineapple Productions / Venue, Catering, and Cake: The Inn at Perry Cabin / Florist and Lighting: Dragonfly Wedding Flowers and Event Design / Rentals: D.C. Rental / Ceremony and Cocktail Hour Musicians: Chesapeake Strings / Band: Round Midnight / Invitations: Smock via The Dandelion Patch D.C. / Paper Goods: Empress Stationery / Bride’s Gown: “Carmen” by Lea Ann Belter / Hair Stylist: Sonja Gregorie / Makeup Artist: Amie Decker Beauty / Bride’s Shoes: Kate Spade / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Donna Morgan / Menswear: Vera Wang for Men’s Wearhouse / Calligrapher: Arney Walker Calligraphy

      marissa Written with love by Marissa
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      1. avatar [email protected] island wedding venues reply

        Amazing pictures and I just loved the bride’s hair style , she is looking lovely.

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