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Monthly Archives: August 2012

You know that sweet Southern style we all adore so much? With the peony and garden rose bouquet, and the soft shades of pink and blue? Well, Kelsey + Evan had all that and more, but what I really love is that they staged their sweet wedding not in a backyard, but in the Matt Jones Gallery, a modern art space in Birmingham. Talented planner and stylist Ginny Au brought everything together seamlessly, and Caleb of 509 Photo provided the beautiful photos!

My family is Southern transplanted, and Evan is Southern born and raised, so it was important for us to honor the places that shaped who we are and where we fell in love. One of my favorite details was the glass bottle Cokes representing my Atlanta upbringing and Jack Daniels for Evan’s Tennessee roots. We tied those up with vintage bottle openers that we had collected for that reason. We also had bags of peanuts from the Peanut Depot on Morris Avenue in downtown Birmingham, which is a definite Birmingham must-visit spot!

There was an Amsale dress that I had been dreaming of since before we were engaged. I tried it on in Birmingham, but wanted my dad to see it first, so I made the trip home to Atlanta to try on gowns at Bridals by Lori with both my mother and father. I was sure it was going to be the one, but when I put it back on I didn’t feel the same way. After trying on many other gowns, I tried on the Rivini “Freya” gown. It had just come in the night before, and no one had tried it on yet. I knew it was the one when I was looking at myself in the gown, rather than just the dress itself.

Kelsey’s bouquet was one of my favorite things about this wedding (those ribbons!), so I’m not surprised to hear her guests were impressed! My flowers were absolute perfection. My wonderful planner introduced me to Holly and Katie who teamed up to create my garden party florals. Every arrangement they designed was different, from the bridesmaids’ bouquets to the altar arrangements. Because of the early spring this year, I got really lucky with flowers in that I was able to get my beloved peonies and lush dahlias mixed with varieties of garden roses. The girls tied my bridal bouquet with vintage ribbons and a handkerchief that my mother had collected for me. I am a sucker for a big ole full bouquet, and my arm was surely tired from toting it around. I still have people raving about our flowers, which is such a compliment!

Did you decide to do a “first look”? We decided not to do a first look before the ceremony. It was such an emotional moment when the doors opened, and we locked eyes all the way down the aisle.
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We decided to use traditional marriage vows; there is something so romantic about speaking the same words so many couples have said through the ages.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Evan’s sister and brother-in-law also live in Birmingham. It was so important to us to have them participate in our ceremony, so we had them read Colossians 3: 12-17 (NRSV) and a poem called “The Wedding Vow.”

A little PSA from Kelsey: Please please please hire a wedding planner that understands your aesthetic. Even if you know what vendors you want and possibly have already booked them, a planner will take your pieces and turn them into a cohesive vision and eliminate all the stresses of having everything done for the big day. It is a MUST!

My wedding cake was a vanilla butter-cream confection designed to mimic the textures in my dress as well as the flower from my sash. We also had a chocolate and peanut butter ganache groom’s cake and a milk and cookie bar.

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. Evan and I met our freshman year at Samford University. We had a class together that fall semester, but didn’t really get to know each other until the end of the school year. We had mutual friends within our Greek organizations and started hanging out in groups until we began dating exclusively the following October.
Describe the proposal. One of our favorite things to do throughout our college years was exploring Birmingham, but we never made it to the Vulcan. The Vulcan is a symbol of Birmingham and looks out over the entire city. I had always secretly hoped that maybe a trip there would mean a proposal. Evan picked me up that Monday night and asked me if I wanted to head over to the Vulcan. We enjoyed looking out over the city for a few moments, and then he let me know that it was time to go. I was kind of surprised that we were leaving and that nothing had happened, so when we were walking to the car he asked me if I was expecting anything up at the top of the statue. Evan loves to joke around with me, so it was appropriate that he stuck it to me right before he asked for my hand in marriage. After calling our families (who had no idea that we were getting engaged that night!) we enjoyed a beautiful dinner at one of our favorite spots in the Edgewood neighborhood of Birmingham at Gianmarco’s.
In what month did you get married? June
How many guests attended your wedding? 125
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: My precious grandfather passed unexpectedly two weeks prior to our wedding. It was so important for us to honor him during our day, so I wore his wedding ring sewn into my dress along with the lace from my Nana’s wedding dress, while Evan wore one of his cuff links along with one of his late grandfather’s cuff links.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Our biggest challenge that we had to overcome in planning our wedding would probably be keeping everything organized once everyone arrived in Birmingham. Almost every guest had to travel to celebrate with us, so making sure everyone felt included and appreciated was something we really needed to be mindful of (thank heavens for Southern hospitality, y’all!).
What is the one thing you are most happy you splurged on? The photographer! Caleb Chancey of 509 Photo is one of the most incredibly talented and wonderful people I have ever met. My family and I could not be happier with that decision.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? After leaving our reception, Caleb drove with us to Samford to take pictures at the place where everything started for us as a couple. I felt so relaxed and happy with how the day had gone, and was finally able to take it all in with my new husband.

emily Written with love by Emily
7 Comments
  1. avatar Leanne Polk reply

    Beautiful and creative — down to every last detail. Amazing ideas!

  2. avatar Madelynne Moulton reply

    I may be biased, but I absolutely love matt jones for a reception space! Their decor was polar opposite of ours – color, style, decor – and it looks STUNNING in the gallery. Beautiful wedding!

  3. avatar Desiree reply

    Beautiful! Can we please find out the instructions for making that incredible chandelier that hung over the cake!? I love that idea! :)

  4. avatar Cameron reply

    Love!! Really love the mint ties and grey suits! Could we find out where they purchased those from pretty please?!? Thanks!

  5. avatar Lauran Stephens reply

    Beautiful bride! Handsome groom! Lovely wedding……….every single detail! My hat is off to Lori and Kelsey! Ginny did such a wonderful job, such organization! Caleb!!!! beautiful memories captured on film. I may be a tiny bit partial……….the groom is my son :o)

  6. avatar Brittany reply

    Would love to know where the mint ties are from also! Great color!

  7. avatar Ginny Au reply

    The groomsmen ties are from Tux & Tulle, and Etsy shop. Also, it is a doily chandelier, and you can find great instructions on Martha Stewart’s Weddings website. Hope that helps. Ginny

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From the end of March until the middle of September, my life is taken over by the boys of summer! So when it comes to our Summer in the South series, we couldn’t leave out our handsome beaus.

Since we’re a girl’s club here at Southern Weddings, we’re turning to our friend and stylish blogger, Darren at Well Groomed, for his manly summer essentials. Take it away, Darren!

A. Try offsetting a classic navy button-down with unexpected soft red pants.

B. Too flustered to remember what to pack? This dopp kit’s illustrations make it a no-brainer.

C. Wedding planning? You’ll inevitably be dragged into some late-night, last-minute DIYs. This Baxter of California cream will keep your under eye bags and circles in check for the big day.

D. Bow ties are a must in the summer. Wear yours on the floral side, and the groomsmen on the chambray for a coordinated look that isn’t matchy-matchy.

E. Firing up the grill is dirty work. Give each groomsman a bar of Rocky Top Soap Shop soap to put their briquettes on cleanup duty before their walk down the aisle.

F. Don’t let glaring rays cause you to squint in every candid shot. Warby Parker takes the classic aviator shape and gives it a modern update in navy.

G. Keep track of to-dos, write and re-write vows, and leave notes with these convenient J. Crew notebooks.

H. Get physical without breaking a sweat with a classic lawn game from Amish Avenue.

I. These derby shoes from Walkover will make you want to go sans socks year round.

J. Add 8oz of Kentucky bourbon to traditional peach iced tea for a cool, guzzle-inducing drink.

Y’all are going to have mighty handsome gents, aren’t you? Thanks for your advice, Darren!

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

    Glad I could add my testosterone-filled two cents to the series!

  2. avatar Nicole reply

    Thanks for the great southern groom tips! I have a question for the southern wedding experts! I am planning our wedding for Spring, outside at plantation in Mississippi. I would love for my fiance to wear/purchase a great summer weight blue or grey suit (instead of renting). I see so many great options in your featured weddings, but never see groom attire vendors in the credits. Can you post some of the most common vendors for groom attire of this sort?! Thanks Southern Weddings! I love what you do! xoxo,nicole

  3. avatar Emily reply

    Hi Nicole! Happy to help! First, though, thank you for pointing out the lack of groom’s attire credits – I don’t know how we missed it, but we weren’t asking for that info on our real wedding interviews!! I’ve added the question, so expect to see many more menswear credits on future posts! In the meantime, I’d try Brooks Brothers, J.Crew, Jos. A. Bank, Macy’s, and/or Men’s Wearhouse! Independent brands like Billy Reid and Sid Mashburn are also great, but more expensive!

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I have to say that between Melanie’s have-fun-planning mentality and the fact that in addition to their wedding cake, they offered milk and cookies and a late night spread of yummy comfort food at the after party – I would love to have attended this wedding! Big hugs to Brooke Mayo for making me feel like I was there!

Melanie + Joe’s goal for the weekend was to exude true Southern hospitality at its finest! I’d have to say that they nailed that! Just looking at the glamorous glittery linens makes me want to put on my dancing shoes, then watching a gorgeous Carolina sunset at their reception definitely gives me the warmth they were looking for.

I wanted a very intimate and romantic feel for our wedding flowers. I described my “vision” to my amazing wedding planner, Katrina Hutchins and she created a breathtaking inspiration board to share with our florist. Together they created a masterpiece! For the reception, we used plush white peonies, roses, and baby’s breath in unique mercury glass vases. Mixed in were floating candles accented with mint colored ribbon to add a subtle pop of color to the tables. The final product far exceeded my wildest expectations!

Did you decide to do a “first look”? After considerable debate, we finally decided to do a first look. Of course there is nothing like that moment when the groom sees the bride for the first time at the end of the aisle. At weddings, instead of looking at the bride when her processional begins, I look at the groom to see his expression. I love the tradition in that. However, our wedding day was about what made the most sense for us as a couple, for our families, and for our friends in attendance. The first look was a really special moment that allowed for us to have those few minutes alone and absorb the beauty of our special day. It also allowed for time alone, pre-ceremony, with our families and wedding party to take the edge off, so to speak, and calm nerves and emotions. Since we got married outside, the heat was a factor and we wanted our wedding party to be as comfortable as possible. Doing the first look allowed them to quickly move on to the cocktail hour after the ceremony and begin celebrating!

At the reception, the wedding party was seated at long farm tables, creating a warm sense of inclusion among the group. In addition to our wedding cake, we offered milk and cookies, along with a late night spread of yummy comfort food at the after party. To cap off the weekend, we offered a drop-in style Sunday brunch for our guests to drop in and say goodbye on their way out of town. We wanted the weekend to exude true Southern hospitality at its finest!

There were SO many details that made the entire day perfect for us. Joe and I were able to take a few minutes before the reception began to sneak a peek at the reception hall in all its glory and really soak in every detail before our guests arrived. We wanted classic elegance, paired with rustic warmth. The silver sequin linens mixed with a natural hard wood in the chiavari chairs and farm tables really portrayed this perfectly. We also had three gorgeous chandeliers hanging from the gazebo overlooking the sound. We loved that our guests could watch the gorgeous Carolina sunset at our reception!

Our wedding cake was perfection! It was four tiers of yummy goodness! The layers alternated between chocolate chip cake and a very unique and delicious key lime bliss cake.

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story: Joe and I met just over four years ago through mutual friends in Charlotte, NC. We hit it off immediately, and the rest, as they say, is history!
Describe the proposal: Joe’s brother and his girlfriend were in town visiting, so we took them out for a fun night on the town, which included an outdoor concert in Charlotte. It was a gorgeous night and we enjoyed showing off our city! As the night came to an end, Joe arranged for a limo take us back home. While I questioned why a trusty cab wouldn’t do, I went along with the plan and alas, was none the wiser. Finally we made it home and upon walking in our front door, I noticed dozens and dozens of red roses. Thoroughly confused and caught off guard, the next thing I see is Joe down on one knee, holding THE most gorgeous ring I’ve ever seen, asking for my hand in marriage! I was completely shocked! Joe had arranged for friends to come over and set the stage for what would be one of the happiest moments of my life!
In what month did you get married? June
How many guests attended your wedding? 126 guests
Tell us about finding your wedding dress: I visited several boutiques in Charlotte, and had settled on two dresses that I really liked, but didn’t “love.” My mother was in town, so I decided we should try one final boutique, which is where I found “the one.” It was love at first sight! I felt like a princess in a fairytale in my dress! I never wanted to take it off!
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We had two readings: An “Apache Wedding Blessing” and “1 Corinthians 13, 1-13”
Tell us about the music you used throughout your wedding: Music can set the tone for any occasion and we certainly realized the significance of having outstanding talent to make our special day even more memorable. We absolutely loved the musicians who performed for our wedding. First was Roy Murray, who is an artist local to the Outer Banks. Our ceremony music included a trumpeter, flutist, and string quartet. I walked down the aisle to Clarke’s “Trumpet Voluntary.” For our reception, Joe and I knew we wanted to have live music to keep the energy high and people on their feet! We first heard a band called “Rubberband” at a concert in Charlotte and loved every minute! We were so lucky they were available to play for our wedding. We still have guests commenting on how fantastic they were! They performed our first dance song, which was “Crazy Love” and father/daughter and mother/son dance, which was “Wonderful World.” The band was certainly a highlight of the night!
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Perhaps the most Southern attribute to our wedding was the setting itself. We chose the Outer Banks in North Carolina as our wedding destination because of our love for the Carolina beaches. You can’t help but to relax and enjoy your time in such a serene and beautiful place! In addition to the setting itself, sweet Southern touches were infused throughout the long weekend. We hosted a welcome party, offering traditional Southern fare, and opened the rehearsal dinner invitation to all guests in attendance of the wedding. We wanted to keep it casual, offering Southern barbeque and all the fixin’s! During the ceremony, guests could cool off with a glass of pink lemonade and the family of the bride and groom were seated at traditional wooden church pews in the front rows.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? By far the biggest challenge was that while in the midst of planning a destination wedding, we were also planning a move and building a house in Boston. Physically the planning was quite demanding, but perhaps emotionally it was just as difficult, considering all the very big changes that were ahead!
What is the one thing you are most happy you splurged on? We were SO thrilled with the exemplary service, food, and ambience of our venue – the Sanderling Resort and Spa. They were a dream to work with from start to finish. We also were thrilled with the work of our most fabulous photographer, Brooke Mayo. Her work is by far extraordinary, and we couldn’t imagine anyone else capturing the memories of our special day!
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Joe and I would agree that the highlight of our wedding day was taking a moment during the reception to look around the room and see all of our closest friends and family members laughing and having such a good time. It was a surreal moment. I remember being overcome with gratitude and emotion over the fact that everyone made the effort to be there with us to celebrate our special day. There is no feeling quite like that. It was a beautiful thing!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Hire a wedding planner you love, choose vendors that are a good fit for you and your wedding vision, be organized, and don’t procrastinate! Don’t seek out too many opinions from other people – trust your own!, and most importantly, HAVE FUN with the process! It goes by so quickly — absorb and appreciate every minute of it.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? We recently left our home in the South for a new adventure and job opportunity in Boston, MA. We are getting settled and enjoying exploring a new part of the country! Once we’ve had some time to adjust, we’d like to start a family. It has been an exciting year for us and we look forward to what the future holds!

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

    Their tables are INCREDIBLE! I’m head over heels for those linens, white flowers, and letterpress menus!

  2. avatar Marissa reply

    Isn’t it stunning? The glitter is just too much fun!

  3. avatar Utah Custom Wedding Announcements reply

    “Have fun with the process” is soooo true. Too many engaged couples get lost in stress of planning that they miss out on some great memories.

  4. avatar Katrina Hutchins (come+together) reply

    Thanks so much for the feature! My link to my website is not working–can it be fixed pretty please :)? Thanks so much to the ladies at SW!!!!

  5. avatar Featured: Southern Weddings Magazine » come+together events reply

    […] Thanks so much to Southern Weddings Magazine for featuring Melanie and Joe’s gorgeous OBX wedding! What an honor to be showcased on such an amazing publication! For the full post click HERE! […]

  6. avatar Glamour and Glitz | Renee Landry Style reply

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  7. avatar MacKenzie reply

    This is awesome! Thanks for sharing this wedding. We’re excited to work w/ Katrina Hutchins next summer; super creative!

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  14. avatar Theresa reply

    Where can I find the sliver sequin table cloths please let me know?

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  19. avatar Noelia Argueta reply

    I love the tableclots. I am in need of one tablecloth for my daughter Drill Team Banquet table. Every girl needs to decorate their own table with different theme. Our is Bling-Sparkle. I need help……

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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