It’s easy to get stuck in the rut of thinking all Southern weddings are set in rolling countryside or on bucolic farms. After all, we feature a lot of lovely outdoor weddings! But I think some of our best features are actually the ones in cities and indoor spaces, because, once the natural environment is stripped away, we’re left with what really makes a wedding Southern — a focus on graciousness, hospitality, delicious food, tradition, and family. And that? Emily and Joe have it in spades. (Plus, their venue happens to be gorgeous, too!) Hugs to the very talented Blue Ribbon Vendor Haley Sheffield for sharing this Atlanta beauty with us!
Yes, Emily’s gown is stunning! Couldn’t love the bow or stripes more.
The first boutique that I visited was La Raine’s Bridal in Virginia Highlands, as a surprise for my best friend. She had been dying to go dress shopping with me since the moment I got engaged. The next weekend, I invited my mother, future mother-in-law, and aunts down to Atlanta for Mother’s Day. During their stay, we went shopping for wedding dresses at a few different local shops where I had made appointments. Even though I found some pretty gowns, there were none that compared to one of the Ian Stuart designs that I had seen the week before. Adamant that my moms and aunts could not leave without laying eyes on my dream dress, I frantically dialed La Raines in hopes that I could come in that day. Despite being slammed with appointments, they were able to fit me in to try on one dress!
Before I had a wedding date, venue, dress, or vendor, I had my somethings. Joe proposed at the end of October 2011, and other than my family, I kept it a secret for nearly a month. When I returned home for Thanksgiving, my best friend planned an engagement party for me and four of my closest childhood friends. Before my engagement ring was revealed, each girl drew a small card which had one of the following words written on it: “old”, “new”, “borrowed” or “blue.” Then they were handed an envelope which read their name and “will you be my something…” with a space to insert their drawn slip of paper. Inside was a note for each of them to read. And finally, I slipped on my ring. I am so blessed to have them in my life and because they are already so special to me it made perfect sense to give them a special and meaningful role on our wedding day.
We had planned a first look session with our photographer prior to our guests arriving, and in all of the morning chaos, I completely missed when she announced that she would let me know when to emerge. Just two steps out the door, I caught a glimpse of Joe. In a panic, I stepped backward, almost completely trampling over the train on my dress. Luckily, my bridesmaids were there to pick up the pieces before I fell apart. When I finally made it up the steps to my soon-to-be husband and turned him around, all of my nerves vanished and the tone was set for the rest of the evening. This was it… our wedding day!
Joe and I had gotten into a disagreement early on in the planning process about who should be in “the wedding party”.. a silly debate over friends or family. We reached a moment of clarity once a song came on through the car speakers, which we have since referred to as “our song,” since it seemed to make the world around us stop and remind us that we were in this together, and no matter what we decided on, it would be okay! We had the song, “Drowning” by Armin Van Buuren arranged by a conductor in affiliation with the Atlanta Philharmonic Orchestra. It was played by a string quartet slowly during the bridal processional, and then sped up and played for a second time during the recessional for Joe and I to walk to together as husband and wife.
With our save the dates, we asked all of our close friends and family to send us a picture from each of their weddings. Joe and I enjoyed hearing all of the love stories from our guests and seeing the excitement in their faces as they began their marriages through all of the 30+ wedding day pictures that were sent to us to display at our reception.
Describe your vision for your wedding. I based the colors and feel off of the venue. Being an interior designer, I even matched up the colors using a Benjamin Moore paint deck! Overall, the scheme was light and dreamy to contrast the bold, industrial presence surrounding the courtyard. Against the brick red railings and hard concrete slabs, all of the colors remained soft, pulling more from the sweet Southern charm of JCT Kitchen.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? My photographer, Haley Sheffield. When I came across Haley’s site and browsed through her blog, I was immediately drawn to the style and quality of her work, but it wasn’t until Joe and I met with her in person that I knew we had had found the right girl for the job. Since then, she has exceeded all of our expectations and gone above and beyond simply doing her job. She kept me in mind when she came across other vendors who seemed to fit my vision and style, as well as encouraged my creativity and offered advice in areas of planning where I had little experience. She is way more than a photographer–she is an inspirer, a planner, an artist, a genuine friend, and a vendor I was thrilled to have as part of our wedding day. I hope to continue to work with her in the future as Joe and I build our lives together.
When did y’all get married? Sunday, October 13, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? Just under 100 guests
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Due to Joe’s love of electronic music, I surprised him about a month before the wedding with DJ lessons. With the help of our hired DJ, Mike Zarin of Zarin Entertainment Group, Joe compiled his own mix and revealed his talents during the reception. This turned out to be a huge hit for our guests, many of whom gathered into the courtyard to cheer him on, and even managed to get him back up for an encore. Lastly, our DJ played “Save the Last Dance for Me” as the last dance of the night, which I had reserved for my father and I. We had danced to the song together at my cousin’s wedding a couple years prior, and it held a special place in my heart ever since, so I could not resist the chance to include it in the evening. It meant so much to me to share a dance at the very end of the reception with my dad.
Describe your wedding flowers. Amy Osaba arranged beautiful centerpieces using bud vases and a mixture of stands and vessels, as well as bouquets, boutonnieres and blooms for the bridal party. She used various types of flowers, including peonies, English garden roses, ranunculus, anemones, etc. in a palette of soft muted colors with pops of blush pink, greens, and peachy salmon. She also made little flower crowns, which were a huge hit by the end of the night, as they were worn by myself, my bridesmaids, and even a few of our wedding guests.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? My biggest challenge was asking for help and coming to the realization that I could not singlehandedly plan our wedding. There were so many moving parts that in the end may not have come together as seamlessly without the assistance of friends, family, and a handful of incredible vendors.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? One of our most memorable moments was at the ceremony, when we turned to face all of our guests who had traveled from numerous places to share in our day. There was such a rush at that moment–almost like being in a dream. While staring into Joe’s eyes, exchanging vows and sharing our first kiss as husband and wife, I felt as though we were in our own little world. When we turned around to go back down the aisle, I realized then that we were not alone, and came face to face with all of the people we love most.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? My advice to anyone currently planning a wedding is to enjoy it, and if at any point in time, it is not fun anymore, reach out for assistance.
Photographer: Haley Sheffield / Venue and Catering: JCT Kitchen + Bar / Flowers & Decor: Amy Osaba / Cakes: HHDesserts / Rentals: Bash Factory / DJ: Zarin Entertainment Group / Wedding Dress: Ian Stuart / Bridal Salon: La Raine’s Bridal / Bride’s Shoes: Badgely Mischka / Paper Products: The bride / Hair and Makeup: Christy Hubbard of James Madison Hair / Bridesmaid Dresses: Asos, Anthropologie, David’s Bridal, J.Crew, BHLDN, Adrianna Pappel / Groom’s Attire: Zara / Ties: The Tie Bar
Haley Sheffield is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!