Google+ July 2009 - Southern Weddings

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Monthly Archives: July 2009

Well, ladies (and gents), it’s that time again!  We are unbelievably excited to be gearing up for our second print issue of Southern Weddings magazine.  So excited, in fact, that we’ve just got to share some of the amazing weddings, products, and ideas beginning to pile up around us.  To do that, we’re going to give you all a little weekly sneak peek right here in a new series we’re calling Print Preview.

Up first?  An amazing glance at a cocktail hour from a wedding shot by the incomparable Millie Holloman.  The umbrellas and chiavari chairs we’re dying over, of course.  But don’t you also love how the dreamy hues of the garden add so much to the relatively simple decor?  That’s a great lesson for any couple – pick a beautiful location and you’ll have so much less work to do decor-wise down the line.

Check back next week for another glimpse.  In the meantime, you can follow along with us (Lara, Emily, Katharine, Whitney) on Twitter as we gather ideas and inspiration. 


Written with love by Southern Weddings
  1. avatar Crystal with Fabuluxe reply

    Absolutely beautiful. This just emphasizes how so many times, simplicity can be so beautiful. Especially when you have such a magnificent backdrop as nature.

  2. avatar bridal girl reply

    Can’t wait for the next issue. Keep it up.

  3. avatar Candice reply

    Millie Holloman does it again! Fabulous picture and theme!

  4. avatar Matt Vickers reply

    Beautiful! These are they types of wedding I would love to shoot every weekend. Absolutely love these weddings.

  5. avatar Karen Lucchini reply

    Millie is the best, just take one of her classes. She is amazing!

  6. avatar Annette reply

    Gorgeous! Looking forward to the next issue!

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I’m especially excited to share this week’s Southern Wedding of the Week, photographed by Leslee Mitchell, with you!  (I’m actually in love!)  As the bride would tell you herself, Mary Catherine + Les aren’t the average couple and this Alabama affair was anything but your average wedding!  After all, it’s not every day a couple in their seventies ties the knot in front of their closest friends and family while standing hand-in-hand at the altar with two of their adorable grandchildren.  What’s most unique about this wedding, of course, is that nearly everything, from the simple tin-can arrangements of handpicked garden roses and hydrangeas to the bride’s flowy eyelet skirt, was made by either the couple or their very talented friends.  We love how the many personal touches and family heirlooms (Mary Catherine carried her bouquet in the same antique tussie used by every bride in her family!) gave this wedding a distinctly intimate and timeless feel.  What DIY item does Mary Catherine + Les’ wedding inspire you to tackle?!

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story: Les and I met through a blind date arranged by a mutual friend.  We dated for more than nine years before I accepted Les’ proposal of marriage.

What was the design inspiration for your wedding: My gardens and favorite oak tree.  My home is surrounded by beautiful gardens and we decided to have a seated dinner in the formal garden for family and friends.  Everything just came together after we made that decision.  The invitations set the tone by using an old-style printing technique called letterpress.  They were cream color Crane card stock with a rich chocolate brown ink.  I picked a nontraditional set-up with an old engraved oak tree design.  I really love that tree!

Favorite design element of your big day:
The huge old oak tree is central to the house and grounds.  A can-do-anything family friend wired it for electricity and we hung 12 antique chandeliers of various sizes and styles from the branches that spread out over the circular drive.  They were fabulous!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress: I wanted something different and unique-looking because, being in our seventies, we are not the typical wedding couple.  I went up to my attic thinking about antique clothing and found a vintage cape I bought years ago from an antique mall in the Hamptons. It was a beautiful faded pink color and I had always loved the fabric. I thought the design of the fabric would lend itself to a cool skirt so I worked out a design and took it to a seamstress to implement. An artist friend brought over a scrap bag of ribbons and lace and I found the perfect ribbon in a beautiful moss green that perfectly complemented the pale pink color of the skirt. I added fabric roses from a jacket I wore to one of my daughters’ weddings twenty years ago. I remembered a pair of shoes from even longer ago that I thought would work well. They were a perfect fit and, amazingly, back in style. My granddaughter also wore a vintage dress I purchased at a flea market in France that fit beautifully after a few adjustments.

Describe your wedding flowers: I picked the wedding date when the gardens would be at their peak so we kept the arranged flowers very simple. I have many friends who are talented floral designers and gardeners so most of the flowers came from their own gardens. We ended up with a beautiful mix of garden roses and hydrangeas. Since the wedding was not in a church, we wanted a religious symbol for the ceremony. A friend created a free standing floral cross with the combination of garden roses, spray roses, hydrangeas, variegated ivy and smilax which served as the centerpiece on an old farm table layered with embroidered antique table linens and surrounded by sterling containers filled with smaller floral arrangements. The table stood in the timber arbor at the end of the formal garden and made for a truly striking backdrop and focal point for the ceremony.

Describe your wedding cake: The wedding cake was our favorite dessert from our favorite restaurant in Birmingham, Highlands Bar & Grill. It is a marvelously simple (but incredibly delicious!) Seven Layer Coconut Cake with Creme Anglaise. Truly: it’s to die for.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was:
Since we had a small ceremony for our family, the dinner was really the main event. We are both very passionate about the art of food and the feel of the dinner was especially important to me. When the weather turned bad, we rented a large tent at the last minute that fit exactly over the center of the formal garden. Since I didn’t want groups of round tables that would separate the guests, we decided on a banquet-style set-up. I was really pleased with the look of the long, narrow tables arranged end to end. We covered the tables with painter’s drop cloths I purchased online. The drop cloths were absolutely perfect; they looked like rough linen! To create an intimate look and feel, I borrowed (rather than rented) just about everything for the dinner. The chairs ranged from modern to old church chairs. I borrowed different plates that all had a unique garden pattern. We kept the table decorations simple, choosing simple pillar candles in glass cylinders and spray roses clustered in sterling mint julep cups. The wine and champagne bottles were placed on the tables for the guests to help themselves. (Trust me: they loved that!)

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding: The weather. I was determined to have a garden location but the weather was just not going to cooperate. We worked around the weather and, in the end, it did cooperate for us. In the middle of dinner a weather check showed a perfectly round circle of clear weather with Birmingham in the center surrounded by rainstorms. How lucky were we?

Were there any special family traditions you included in your wedding:
I used the same antique tussie mussie to hold my bouquet that all the brides in my family have used in their wedding ceremonies.

Funniest moment:
My two young grandchildren, six and seven, decided this was such a momentous occasion that they stood with us through the entire ceremony, held our hands and each other’s at the pertinent parts, even through the exchanging of the vows. I’m not sure, but we legally may all be married.

Hardest decision you made in planning: Deciding to use a tent. We really wanted to have an open sky over the tables with light strung between the trees, but the tent ultimately gave the dinner a wonderfully intimate feel we just loved.

What advice would you give to someone planning their wedding? Keep it small with family and special friends, and always be mindful of what is important to you and don’t skimp in that area. Whatever that may be, do it spectacularly. For me, as an artist and photographer, the photography was very important. I knew I would want pictures that were more artistic than typical wedding pictures. I wanted to have pictures that captured all the little moments and special details of the day. It was worth the extra effort to find a photographer I knew would be able to do that for me.

Any DIY items: Just about everything with tons of help from our many very talented friends.

Written with love by Southern Weddings
  1. avatar CeCe reply

    I think might be the most inspiring wedding I’ve seen in a LONG time…thanks!! Please tell me there is more….

  2. avatar casey reply

    Absolutely beautiful.

  3. avatar lena reply

    this is the most beautiful wedding i’ve seen…just amazing!!!

  4. avatar Miss B reply

    This hands down is the most beautiful wedding I have ever seen! So simple and elegant! I love the flowers, the table settings, and the intimate setting. The photography is amazing. I lean more towards artistic photography as well. The photographer captured every detail! True art!! Thanks for adding this.

  5. avatar Brent reply

    Amazing photos!

  6. avatar Kristina reply

    wow, I adore her dress!!! This whole wedding is just perfect!

  7. avatar Lori reply

    Loves it.Not only was the design and location beautiful, but I loved seeing an older couple. Wish more would be shown.Also loved reading the bride’s words because they reflected experience and sophistication.

  8. avatar Laura reply

    What an elegant wedding steeped in traditions and love. The pictures breathe life into the bride’s words. They are breathtaking!

  9. avatar jamie reply

    Absolutely breathtaking! I feel like I was there in person. The photographer has such a wonderful eye…such beautiful pictures to truly capture the feel of the event. Thank you for sharing!!

  10. avatar Angie reply

    What a beautiful wedding! Such a sweet story. The pictures were amazing!! I felt like I was there and can’t believe what detail was captured in the photos to be able to really get the true feel of what the couple was going for.

  11. avatar Crystal with Fabuluxe reply

    Beautiful pictures, beautiful wedding, and what a beautiful story. So nice to have a wedding about a different kind of couple. Thank you.

  12. avatar Holly reply

    Simply stunning. I can only hope that Leslee is available to take photos of my wedding some day. She has a real talent and is unlike any other wedding photographer I have ever seen. These photos are breathtaking. SIMPLY AMAZING!

  13. avatar Amy reply


  14. avatar Jenifer reply

    Wow!!! These pictures are AMAZING!!!!!!!! Probably one of the most beautiful weddings I’ve seen to date, stunning!! I love the style of this photographers work. Looks like she truly captured the essence of that day!!!

  15. avatar April reply

    What a wonderful expression of emotion through photographs–beautiful!

  16. avatar Stevi Boyles reply

    These pictures are very powerful! I can almost smell the garden roses and hydrangeas. I can also hear the granddaughter’s laughter at the reception. Every bride and groom should have their special day captured in photos like these. This wedding couple can relive their wedding day every time they look at these photos.

  17. avatar katharine @ southern weddings reply

    so glad everyone LOVES this wedding as much as i do!! leslee does *amazing* work!

  18. avatar Marilou Woods reply

    These pictures capture the essence of love, elegance, and family. The photographer defintely has an eye for detail that cannot be taught. Talent like this is a gift from God. These photographs are exquisite. They are refreshingly natural. What a lovely story and such precious little moments caught forever for this grand family.

  19. avatar Debbie reply

    This is definitely on the top of my list. I agree, these pictures tell so much more than the typical wedding photos. Would LOVE to see more.

  20. avatar John reply

    Great story and wonderful wedding!Funniest moment – LOL!Wedding pictures are AWESOME!!

  21. avatar Shelby reply

    This is the most fabulous wedding I have ever seen on this entire blog. Simply amazing. The photos are absolutely stunning. Pure genious.

  22. avatar Christy reply

    Elegant. Chich. The best set of photos I’ve seen on SW. Thank you for sharing. I viewed more of the photographer’s work & it is just amazing. I’ve not seen an eye like this before.

  23. avatar Susan reply


  24. avatar Nancy reply

    So wonderful to see a mature couple featured. What a beautiful flower cross. Story is so unique. This is not photography. It is art.

  25. avatar Kelly reply

    Love the lighting under the tent. Capturing the tiniest detail is this photographer’s gift.

  26. avatar Grace reply

    What gorgeous pictures of a very special joy-filled wedding. Proof that life can begin anew at any age.

  27. avatar Sandra reply

    so elegant and yet so simple…I want to see more pictures!

  28. avatar Patsy reply

    For her to begin with an invitation with an oak tree and then carry the theme through to the oak tree in her yard – how perfect. I loved the natural cross placed before them on the table. What a great, inspiring story, I enjoyed reading about it. The pictures of the grandchildren are wonderful and how they seemed to enjoy every part. I loved the tussie mussie, dress, family and all of the tradition that the entire wedding included.

  29. avatar front_runner76 reply

    This wedding is the most stunning, unique event I’ve seen featured on the Southern Weddings Magazine Blog. Absolutely amazing. There are so many wonderful ideas to take from this couple’s story, details & wedding pictures. I am IN LOVE!!!!!! Thank you Thank you Thank you Southern Weddings for featuring this story.

  30. avatar John reply

    Awesome story. Love that you featured an older couple on the blog. Very beautiful.

  31. avatar John reply

    Awesome story. Love that you featured an older couple on the blog. Very beautiful.

  32. avatar Julianna reply

    This wedding shows a lovely personal day with friends and family without being over the top. Love is splendid at any age. This is the most memorable wedding I’ve seen featured. I love it!!!

  33. avatar Yvonne reply

    Love the images as they are put together like this and I love the first picture especially

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If you’re as big a fan of all things vintage and rustic as we are, you’re almost certainly going to fall in love with this California wedding from Tanja Lippert!  Rushing waterfalls, peaceful ponds and acres of majestic redwoods gave Jennifer + Brian’s wedding a natural and effortless elegance that no amount of planning could ever recreate.  After seeing the shot of the couple exchanging their handwritten vows in a secluded waterfront grove, we had to agree that Nestldown proved the ideal setting for such a personal and intimate affair.  We love how the bride’s dreamy Marisa gown fits perfectly in such a natural setting and how the vibrant bouquets seem to be bursting with hand-picked wildflowers. Of course, it’s only appropriate that a couple holding a wedding amid such pristine surroundings should be environmentally conscious. (Notice there weren’t any programs or other paper goods at this eco-friendly wedding!) And for all you summer brides out there: opting for a gelato bar instead of a traditional cake like Jennifer + Brian did with their Dolce Spazio Gelato Cart just may be the perfect dessert choice for a warm weather wedding! 

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. Brian was a friend of one of my best friends and happened to move down the street from us in San Francisco.  He regularly came over for dinner and TV and he and I quickly formed a friendship.  One unusually gorgeous day in the city, I was looking for a buddy to join me at a Giants game and Brian was the only volunteer.  We had a blast that night and even felt a few sparks. As neighbors, we continued to see each other frequently and built a strong friendship.  One thing led to another and, after five years of dating, Brian proposed.

Describe the proposal: By the time we had been dating for four and a half years, Jennifer was none too shy about telling me she was expecting a proposal, but it was important to me that I still surprise her!  I wanted her to know that proposing to her (and one day marrying her) were every bit as important to me as they were to her.  Since Jennifer’s birthday is on New Year’s Eve, I planned a double-surprise: a short trip to Vancouver and a proposal to boot.  Unfortunately, the jeweler was unable to complete the ring in time so the trip wound up being only a birthday present.

Fast forward a week: I had been working insane hours so we had seen each other very little over the holidays, with the exception of our trip to Canada.  I told her I wanted us to have a picnic lunch to spend some time together and selected a public rose garden near my university.  Pretending to be out running errands, I took my time away from the house to scope out the garden and everything looked beautiful!  Three hours later, we went to the garden for our picnic and, to my surprise, every rose bush in the garden had been cut down!  We walked to a sunny spot, laid down a blanket and sat together.  I gave her a belated birthday gift and when she finished reading the card I started to tell her how important she was to me.  As I was finishing my thoughts, she looked away and said, “It’s not all about me.”  I pulled the ring slyly from my pocket, opened the box and replied, “Yes, it is.”  When she looked back and saw the ring, she gasped.  I asked her if she would be my wife and she started to cry and then hugged and kissed me.  Sixty seconds later, I asked her if that meant yes and she finally said it: “Yes!”

She had no idea it was about to happen because, as she tells friends, “He didn’t act nervous at all!”  I had no reason to be nervous: I knew exactly what I wanted and I got it on January 10th, 2008!

Why do you love your husband? I love my husband because he’s a big dreamer and now I’m part of those dreams!  He doesn’t do things just because everyone else is doing them and he’s determined that we have the best and most amazing life possible.

What was the design inspiration for your wedding? We wanted our wedding to reflect our personalities and to be a very personal and intimate affair.  Brian and I spent seven months travelling around the world together before we became engaged and wanted to incorporate our travels into our wedding.  Luckily, my mother kept all the postcards we sent her from around the world and we found some great vintage travel poster stickers at Cost Plus.  We started with those two things and built everything else around them.  We used the postcards as signs for the tables during the reception and used the stickers on our DIY tin can vases for the table centerpieces.  Being environmentally-friendly was also very important to us and inspired a lot of the decisions we made.  The caterer used local, sustainable foods and we didn’t bother with programs or favors, as these things often find their way to the trash can.  Finally, we picked our favorite colors, yellow and orange, to tie everything together.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress: Finding a dress was not a very fun experience for me.  I didn’t want a typical poofy princess dress and wanted to find something that would stand out.  Unfortunately, the gorgeous lace dresses from Monique Lhuillier were outside my budget.  After trying on countless dresses with countless opinions from friends and family (my mom was pushing for a princess gown!), I finally decided on a Marisa dress because it was flattering and, truthfully, I was tired of looking.  In the end, I loved the dress and thought it fit perfectly with our surroundings.

Describe your wedding flowers: We didn’t want to spend a lot of money on flowers and were looking for a relaxed, freshly picked-from-the-garden look.  A friend’s mother arranged our personal flowers using orange and yellow ranunculus, freesia, roses and lisianthus and adding a lot of texture and movement to the arrangements.  She kept bouquets small and hand-tied them with a white ribbon.  I love how they turned out.  For the table directions, we worked with a flower grower from our local farmers market.  We drove out to her farm, picked out a random selection of yellow and orange flowers and simply cut them down to size and placed them in the adorable tin can vases I loved so much.

Describe your wedding cake: No cake for us!  We opted for a gelato bar instead.  It was delicious and the crowd loved it!  Dinner ended with an incredible strawberry shortcake with Straus Creamery whipped cream and buttermilk biscuits.  We definitely didn’t skimp on the sweets!

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The venue.  Nestldown is an incredibly beautiful place and really set the tone for our wedding all by itself. I  can’t imagine getting married anywhere else.  Our guests still rave about the location.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Our vows.  We wrote our own vows and surprised each other with them during the ceremony.  We borrowed an idea we found on a blog and started each phrase of our vows with “I love you because…”  After 4 or 5 phrases, we ended the vows with, “Because I love you, I promise…” There wasn’t a dry eye in the audience!  We had so many people tell us how touched they were by our

Funniest moment? Having a glass of red win spilled on my dress. Twice!

The most unexpected event on our wedding day was: At the end of the night, the DJ announced that we were leaving and all our guests suddenly (and unexpectedly) formed a long tunnel with their arms and we rushed underneath to our waiting car.  Totally unexpected, but fun!

Three adjectives that describe the day are: Beautiful, intimate and genuine

What advice would you give to someone planning their wedding? Decide what your priorities are early on and put your time and money into those things.  Don’t do something just for the sake of doing it.  Save the dates, fancy invitations, programs, favors, a wedding cake were just not important to us and we didn’t want to spend money on them.  Not a single person complained.  In fact, we had several people tell us it was the best wedding they had ever attended!  My second piece of advice would be to ask every single one of your vendors for a discount.  You may not receive a smaller bill but they might include extras that save you money.  For example, our caterer supplied all of our table settings as part of their price.

Who was your most honored guest at the wedding? Most of our immediate families were involved in one way or another with the wedding ceremony or reception.  Brian felt very lucky to have all four of his grandparents present, but we also honored my mother who passed away a few years ago with a moment of silence during our ceremony.

What’s next for you as a couple? Combining my passion and work ethic with Brian’s entrepreneurism to build something together.  We’re also very serious about travel and are looking for opportunities to see new places, meet interesting people and eat great food.  With the wedding budget out of the way, Brian secretly hopes to return to racing sports cars again.

Any DIY items? Lots of them!  Brian designed our invitations, which were electronic because we didn’t want to waste the paper on something that would end up in the trash and based on a vintage map of the world.  For escort cards, we made cute luggage tags using some great printed paper in yellow and orange we found at a Michael’s craft store.  We finished the tags off with a yellow ribbon threaded through the end.  For table decorations, we used the postcards from our own trip, small vintage globes we bought from a local store and flowers in tin cans. We collected tons of tin cans, cleaned them up and painted them cream.  We dry-brushed them with gold to give it a more vintage look and slapped the vintage travel stickers on them.  Cheap, easy and they looked fantastic.

Congratulations on your new life together, Jennifer + Brian!  We wish you great luck on starting your own business!

Written with love by Southern Weddings
  1. avatar Crystal with Fabuluxe reply

    I love outdoor weddings, and this was just a gorgeous setting. I love the tips about not worrying about what you’re supposed to have, but spend money and time on what’s important to you. It not only saves you money, but helps personalize the wedding to what fits your personality as a couple.

  2. avatar Cupid Carriages reply

    Very nice blog.Wish you a happy life.Thank you very much for sharing such beautiful moments with us.Cupid Carriages

  3. avatar Alfie reply

    I love this one. Thanks for sharing!

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