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Thanksgiving may be over, but we still have a whole lot to be grateful for in the Southern Weddings office, especially as we look back on a sweet evening from a few weeks ago! Right after Southern Weddings V8 hit shelves, we gathered at The Carolina Inn for a magical night of celebrating with friends and family from near and far. As impossible as it may seem, the launch party gets better year after year after year. And this year, between the bacon bar and Bloomsbury Boys, I think we succeeded in making it the best party yet!

Big hugs to Theo Milo for all of these amazing photos! We’re also so grateful to Handspun Cinema for capturing the night on film (keep an eye out for the video soon!), to Hot Dog Photo Booth for providing the photo booth so that guests could capture their own memories, and to Eliza Gwendalyn who provided some fun photo booth props!

These behind the scenes photos might be my favorite snaps from the whole day! This is real life, y’all–SW gals (with big hair blow outs from Parlor and makeup by Lula Hair and Makeup) sitting on the floor in between a million cardboard boxes, putting all the amazing swag bags together a few hours before the party. Our little helper (Marissa’s girl, EK) was a big fan of the koozies, and helped make sure every bag got at least one ;)

The gals over at Fiore Fine Flowers really outdid themselves. They road-tripped from Wilmington with the most gorgeous florals in tow, and even managed to lend a hand with stuffing the final swag bags and moving tables to get everything just right before the doors opened. I still can’t get over that gorgeous garland that spiffied up the magnificent chalkboard bars from Paisley & Jade. Big hugs to our friend Maghon from All She Wrote Notes, who loaned us both her handwriting for the bars and her hospitality for our LiveStream/Periscope feed.

All our guests, as well as a certain SW mama-to-be, were very thankful for beautiful places to sit, rest their feet, and nibble on treats. Paisley & Jade‘s rentals were a perfect fit in the Hill Ballroom, and their pretty peach sofa was the talk of the evening. And it wouldn’t be a Southern Weddings party without a few buckets of ice cold Cheerwine–the perfect toasting beverage, in my humble opinion!

The Carolina Inn blew us away with their menu of delicious savory bites–we munched on everything from miniature chicken pot pies to bite-sized pimento cheese sandwiches. I think I had half a dozen mini BLTs from the bacon bar (yes, bacon bar!!!), and I heard that the chicken and waffles were a party favorite.

Being a part of Southern Weddings is a family affair, and watching our SW family grow over the last few years has been so much fun! Joshua (Lara’s newest little guy) and EK (Marissa’s sweet girl) had a miniature photo shoot before the doors opened. It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that there were bows and bow ties aplenty between the two of them!

Biggest hugs to Rachel Simpson for our pretty and practical footwear, and to Jane Summers for our most fabulous frocks–the epitome of fun Southern glam! Our friends at Kendra Scott also helped us pick out the most perfect baubles to complete our outfits. Meanwhile, the High Cotton Ties team made sure the gals weren’t the only ones gussied up for the party. All of the SW gents sported High Cotton bow ties, and dapper party guests were able to “rent” a bow tie for the evening. James also offered some free tying lessons!

When the doors opened, we were standing there with open arms, ready to hug each and every guest as they walked in. So many people help make V8 happen, and being able to celebrate some of those friends in person was such a joy. It was an extra special treat to have Alexandra (our gorgeous cover girl) and her precious family join us. We were also blown away by the number of friends from out of town (including our cover photographer Eric Kelley) who traveled to Chapel Hill to be with us. Y’all are the bee’s knees!

Part of the magic of each issue is welcoming reader models and friends to be a part of our pages. It is even more magical when some of those friends travel back to NC to celebrate with us at the launch party! Big hugs to our flower girls from Love Preserved and Kimberly from the Southern Belle shoot!

Our sweet Lisa got engaged at the V6 launch party a few years ago, so it was extra special to have some her family at the V8 celebration (especially since they make an appearance in the pages of this issue in her wedding feature!). We have said it before, but it bears repeating: being a part of Southern Weddings is a family affair.

Being on that stage, looking out into the sea of faces as we share our gratitude is always a highlight of the evening. It comes as no surprise that Grace stole the show again this year with her speech, but it was the tender words that her mama, Lara, shared that brought the room to tears. There is so much heart and emotion that goes into making each issue, and Lara’s words summed all of it up perfectly.

I have it on good authority that the sweets tables were busy all night long, and many of the treats disappeared before I could get over to sample them. Our friend Randi of Sugar Euphoria made Emily’s mini sweets dreams come true with a spread of everything from mini peach cobblers to blueberry hand pies to every Southern flavor of cupcake you can imagine! All the lovely signage and other paper products. including party invitations, were designed by our friend Scotti of Scotti Cline Designs.

The Chic Sweets sweets table, complete with the most darling bow tie backdrop, was back, and so were Natalie’s famous cake pops and chocolate-dipped Oreos!! No one can say they left this party hungry. I managed to snag a chocolate-dipped Oreo before they were all gobbled up, and may have helped myself to two cake pops–one of each flavor. Yum!

At the end of the evening, the Southern Weddings gals gathered together with our gents (minus Lara and Ari, who had headed home to put the newest SW gent, Joshua, to bed) for one final photo. There was so much laughter and joy as we linked arms and squished together to capture one more memory for the V8 yearbook. We couldn’t be more grateful for all y’all who celebrated with us from near and far. Your love and support of the Southern Weddings mission and of V8 blew us away. This party was definitely peachier than cobbler!!

To top this sweet post off, please enjoy the highlight film from the party created by our friends at Handspun Cinema!

Chic Sweets, Fiore Fine Flowers, High Cotton Ties, HotDog! Photogbooth, Paisley and Jade, Scotti Cline Designs, Sugar Euphoria, and Theo Milo are all delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory.

kristin Written with love by Kristin
3 Comments
  1. avatar Dana reply

    the best party I’ve ever been to (not including Lisa and Dave’s reception)! Can’t wait to come back next year and the year after and after! Y’all are amazing!

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I’ve never been a big fan of flowers (crazy, right?). I’ve always thought they were beautiful, mind you, but after reading about the incredibly sweet and personal blooms in Taylor + Chris’ wedding, I think I might be having a change of heart. Taylor and her sister/maid of honor’s bouquets were wrapped with trim from their mother’s wedding gown; the centerpieces were held by family heirlooms; and Chris’ boutonniere including a calla lilly, the same flower his late grandmother carried down the aisle on her wedding day. Unsurprisingly, the flowers weren’t the only thing that had special family ties in this wedding: all the linens were vintage and borrowed from family members, and even Taylor’s going away dress was constructed from her mama’s own wedding gown! Heavens, I love weddings in the South!

We’re tickled pink that three Blue Ribbon Vendors contributed to this wedding — special thanks to Theo Milo, Social Butterfly Events, and Heirloom Vintage China!

I went shopping for my dress with my mom and sister, and the moment I put on my dress, I knew it was the right one for me. There were no tears or drama, I just felt very much like myself when I was wearing it. I never expected to select a lace dress, but the unique, crochet-like quality to the lace appealed to me instantly, and I love that I was able to customize it with a low back and buttons.

I must admit, I LOVE the bows on Taylor’s shoes! So cute!

Our flowers were completely perfect. I didn’t give much direction besides “lush, romantic, and peonies,” but my mom and our floral designer worked together to create stunning arrangements and bouquets that were more beautiful than I could have ever imagined. I also love that our florals incorporated personal touches: my bouquet and my sister/maid of honor’s bouquet were wrapped with trim from the dress my mother wore for my parents’ wedding in 1972, and Chris’s boutonniere included a calla lily, which is the flower his late grandmother carried in her own wedding in 1944. The reception floral centerpieces were arranged in antique silver serving pieces belonging to my parents and their friends, including a large punch bowl, dessert trays, and even a cocktail shaker!

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We decided not to do a first look. It was important to both of us that our first glimpses of each other on our wedding day occurred as I was walking down the aisle. As a wedding guest, I’ve always found the moment when the groom sees his bride for the first time so romantic, and I’m glad we experienced it for ourselves surrounded by our friends and family.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Our wedding could not have been the beautiful and special day it was without special touches contributed by our friends and family, and the very, very hard work that my mom put in to bringing them all together with our wedding planner. All of the linens (napkins, tablecloths, etc.) were vintage pieces that belonged to my grandparents, Chris’ grandparents, and my godparents’ family. My mom also constructed a beautiful going away dress for me out of the wedding dress that she wore when she married my dad in 1972.

Incorporating personal family touches made our wedding feel very Southern and traditional, without feeling stuffy or cookie-cutter. We used heirloom linens loaned by family members, arranged the floral centerpieces in vintage silver serving pieces, and my mom made my going away dress out of her own wedding dress from 1972. Guests were served a family-style meal on mismatched vintage china at oversized wooden farm tables. Chris and I met in college at Wake Forest University in North Carolina, and it was so fun for our college friends to dance together to “Wagon Wheel” and other country songs that became anthems for our friends when we called the South our home.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Chris and I met during freshmen orientation at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC. We had both been assigned to Babcock residence hall, and he caught my eye while playing lacrosse on the lawn in front of the building. I mistook his shyness for disinterest, so I was stuck in the “friend zone,” but after getting to know each other for a few weeks, we had our first kiss on Babcock’s roof, with the campus and its iconic Wait Chapel in the distance. We’ve been together ever since!
Tell us all about the proposal! In the spring of 2012, Chris and I were living in Charlotte, NC and preparing to move to New York City. During a trip to New York to look for an apartment in the city, Chris and I found the perfect place, signed a lease, and went off in search of a drink to celebrate. Chris suggested we visit the High Line, a linear park on the west side of Manhattan built on a section of what used to be an elevated railroad. While looking out over the Hudson River, Chris completely surprised me with a beautiful proposal and stunning engagement ring. It was the perfect beginning to our new life in our new city.
When did y’all get married? May 26, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 160
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? My godmother read a passage from Louis de Bernieres’ novel, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, and Chris’s father read Colossians 3:12-17.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. The guitarist and saxophonist from our reception band, GrooveTown, performed acoustically for our ceremony and cocktail hour. Most of the ceremony music was traditional, but once we were pronounced husband and wife, we recessed down the aisle to an instrumental version of “You Are The Best Thing” by Ray Lamontagne, which set a celebratory tone the evening. GrooveTown absolutely brought down the house during the reception, and played excellent covers of “FM” by Steely Dan for the father/daughter dance, “I Hope You Dance” by Lee Ann Womack for the mother/son dance, and “That’s How Strong My Love Is” by Otis Redding for our first dance as husband as wife. GrooveTown played a great mix of our favorite oldies/Motown songs and more contemporary pop and country songs, and we had a blast dancing the night away with our closest friends and family.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Our white cake with strawberry and lemon filling was simply decorated with white buttercream frosting and fresh flowers.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? I can say with all honesty that we were incredibly impressed with all of our vendors, but we were so thrilled with the family-style meal that Christi and her team from Pine Valley Market prepared and executed. We also absolutely adored our stunning venue, Brooklyn Arts Center at St. Andrews. I also have to mention my photographer, Theo Milo. Obviously his photos speak for themselves, but Chris and I adored working with him during our wedding and our engagement session in NYC.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Dancing for hours on end with all of our very favorite people under one roof.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? Chris and I are still living in Manhattan, in the East Village apartment we found the day we got engaged. We’re enjoying our city with our friends and our sweet, goofy black lab, and looking forward to facing together whatever life throws at us next!

Photographer: Theo Milo Photography / Videographer: 7 Season Films / Planner: Charyl Williams of Social Butterfly Events / Ceremony and Reception Venue: Brooklyn Arts Center At St. Andrews / Florist: Verzaal’s / Wedding Cake: Apple Annie’s Bake Shop / Caterer: Pine Valley Market / Rentals: Heirloom For Hire / Band: Groovetown / Bride’s Gown: “Quinn” by Modern Trousseau / Going-Away Dress: Handmade by Mother of the Bride / Paper Products: Heather Ivady / Bride and Bridesmaids’ Monogram Bracelets: Marinette Jewelry on Etsy / Hair Stylist: Nsalo / Makeup Artist: Maari Wohlhueter / Bride’s Shoes: Valentino / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Aiden” by Jenny Yoo / Groom’s Attire: Bespoke Tuxedo by Suit Supply SoHo / Groomsmen Attire: Their own

Theo Milo, Social Butterfly Events, and Heirloom are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

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

    LOVE her style–her dress, shoes, bouquet, all of it!–and their romantic NYC proposal story!

  2. avatar Lasting Bridal Couture reply

    Loving the lace work on the brides gown. The flowers are beautiful and go perfectly with the decor. A very sweet wedding.

  3. avatar http://southernweddings.com/2013/10/04/simple-north-carolina-wedding-by-theo-milo/ | Heirloom Vintage China Hire reply

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  4. avatar msdressshop reply

    The dress is very beautiful. The fabric is very smooth and it is very shining.

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