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New to the party? Catch up on the First Steps After Getting Engaged Part I and Part II!

Before diving into the next two steps after getting engaged, let’s take a minute to chat…how are you, friend?

If you got engaged during the hustle and bustle of the holidays, I wouldn’t be surprised if a little bit of panic is setting in now that the celebrations are slowing down and the fact that you have to plan a WEDDING is feeling more real by the day. You may be feeling like your wedding will never live up to the pictures you have pinned, or that you won’t be able to pull off a magical evening on a tight budget. You may be feeling totally overwhelmed by how many ideas you have (how to choose?) or nervous about not being “creative” enough to plan a beautiful, meaningful day. Whatever you may be feeling right now, I’d love to give you some encouragement.

YOU are enough. Your soon-to-be marriage is enough. The party you’re throwing is a bonus…and it should be a fun one, at that! Any time that wedding planning stops being fun over the next few months, take a step back. Head out on a date with your fiancé, call a friend and catch up on what’s going on with her, or simply relax with a movie or a good book. I promise, it’ll allow you to come back to planning with fresh eyes, and most of all, a grateful heart! Ready to hear your next two tasks? Let’s do it!

Next to budgeting (and sticking to said budget), coming up with a guest list might be the trickiest part of a planning a wedding, but that’s our next step! A good way to attack this task is to ask both sets of parents for lists of anyone they want to include, and make a list of your own (with your fiancé) as well. Once you know who is on the combined list, start cutting it down as needed. Don’t worry about having an exact count right off the bat–for now, the priority is simply to figure out if you’re looking at a wedding for 50 or 500. A few little tips once you do start refining the list: 1. Try to stick to “all or nothing” terms when deciding on questions like kids, plus ones, etc. Being clear about something like an “adults only” reception is generally fairer and easier to communicate than trying to take situations on a case-by-case basis. 2. Be respectful and listen to the reasons someone may want a certain person invited, but don’t be afraid to be firm if you have a legitimate reason for not wanting that person at your wedding.

Have you noticed that within five minutes of finding out you’re engaged, most people ask where/when the wedding will be? If you’ve had an answer ready and waiting, great! But if not, it’s time to figure out when (in general) and where (in general) you want to tie the knot. A few factors to consider: ease of travel (both for guests and for you during the planning stage), how long you’ll be giving yourself to plan, and any major family events already on the calendar (or, for many Southern fall brides, the SEC football schedule!).

We’ll be back with two more “first steps” to take after getting engaged next week! Be sure to sign up for our newsletter to make sure you don’t miss a single post of this special series. As a bonus, when you sign up, you’ll receive an exclusive “Will You Be My Bridesmaid” card printable created just for Southern Weddings readers by Sage Paper Company!

See more from this engagement session by Shara Jo on our Facebook page!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
2 Comments
  1. avatar Olivia Crotts reply

    Lisa,

    Thank you so much for this message! My fiancé and I got engaged in August and since then we have been wrapped in the whirl wind of wedding planning. I have been feeling a little discrouraged this week wondering exactly what you wrote, that my wedding might not live up to the pictures I have saved and in my head. Hearing that I am enough and my wedding is enough is so encouraging! I couldn’t be more thankful to the SW girls for this wonderful little corner of the internet!

    • avatar Lisa reply

      Olivia! Thank you so much for your comment. I’m so glad this post resonated with you! Your wedding will be INCREDIBLE because of you and your soon-to-be husband–nothing else needed! :) Xo!

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When you think of a Texas ranch wedding complete with tacos and line dancing, I bet Scottish bagpipes and kilts aren’t what you picture along with it–but that’s exactly what makes Laura and Callum’s wedding so amazing! These Scottish sweethearts welcomed their loved ones to their new home of Houston for their wedding, so naturally, they had to pull out all the stops showing everyone a true Southern celebration. Even though they decided to tie the knot an ocean away from home, though, their wedding wasn’t without some incredibly special nods to their home country, from the Scottish thistle Agave Estates included in the boutonnieres to the Robert Burns poem Laura’s aunt read during the ceremony. I loved seeing how Laura and Callum brought Scottish and Texan cultures together on this special day, and am so glad Leighanne Herr was on hand to capture it all!

We picked Pine Lake Ranch for both the ceremony and reception. I fell in love with the setting of the ranch, especially the big old oak tree where the ceremony took place. We loved that we had a venue that could hold all of our family and friends in one location. The ranch was beautiful, scenic, and spacious.

Describe your wedding flowers. I wanted the flowers to be simple but beautiful. My florist selected the sahara and blush roses to put into my bouquet, along with seeded eucalyptus. My bridesmaids had beautiful peach stock and seeded eucalyptus bouquets. My florist gave my dad an English sahara rose for his jacket pocket and my husband and his groomsmen had Scottish thistle for their kilt waistcoats.

Instead of writing vows, we wrote three things we loved about each other, which we gave to our minister before the big day to read to us. Additionally, we also did a unity box as part of the ceremony. We wrote letters to each other, which we popped into the box during the ceremony with a bottle of red wine and nailed the box shut. We plan to open the box when we reach our first anniversary.

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. I walked down the aisle to “Highland Cathedral” played by the talented bagpiper Jason Dunn. “Highland Cathedral” is a very traditional song played at Scottish weddings. As Scotland is very dear to us and where we both call home, we wanted to incorporate a little bit of home into our ceremony.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The taco truck. We really wanted to give all our family and friends a sample of the food we have fallen in love with since we moved to Texas. We decided to hire a taco truck for the cocktail hour for all of our guests to enjoy. My only regret was not getting to have one!

Whisk Bakery did a fantastic job with our wedding cake and dessert bar. The cake was an absolute work of art, and the pecan pies and brownies were a great success with our guests. We had nothing to take back with us, as it all got eaten; luckily, my day-of coordinator managed to save the top tier of our wedding cake, so we enjoyed a slice of the yummy cake the following morning.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? As our wedding took place in Texas, we thought it would be fun to have a dance instructor come in and teach our guests some Texas line dancing. We got all of the guests up to line dance to Steve Earl’s “Copperhead Road.” It was so much fun!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met in Edinburgh in 2007 where we were both studying at university. Like the start of any good love story, we met in a night club. Callum was sitting down because he doesn’t dance, and I needed some rest from dancing and sat down beside him. Callum asked for my number and the rest is history.
Tell us all about the proposal! After finishing university in Edinburgh, a move to Aberdeen to start our careers, and an adventure across the pond to live in Houston, Texas, Callum popped the question in October 2014 on a weekend away in Dallas. After a few “Is this really happening?!” and “It’s only been seven years, are you sure we are ready?!” I finally said “Yes!!!”
When did y’all get married? April 2, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 92
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. Shopping for my wedding dress was a little stressful. I never knew I was so picky with dresses until I started researching what I wanted. In the end, I settled on a fit and flare mermaid dress. As a word of warning to all future brides, if you like to dance and/or move, this dress style is not ideal.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? My aunt beautifully read a Scottish poem by Robert Burns, “My Luve is like a Red, Red Rose.”
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! Borrowed: My auntie Sue gave me her beautiful bracelet to wear, and my auntie Kathy made my garter with blue bow details embroidered on it. My grandmother’s brooch was my something old. For my something new, my maid of honor gave me a lovely white horseshoe which I carried down the aisle with me.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? It was difficult not to get caught up in the planning stage. We had such an amazing and supportive minister. Meeting with him was a vital part of keeping us focused on why we were planning a wedding and the planning of our marriage.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? At the very end of the evening, both my husband and I were on the dance floor, “Loch Lomond” by Runrig was playing, and we had all of our family and friends in a large circle around us, singing. We remember saying to each other that we couldn’t have been more thankful and blessed to have everyone at our wedding to celebrate our next adventure together as husband and wife.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are still living in Houston, Texas and loving every minute of living here. We are excited to announce that we are expecting and will be welcoming a little one to our family at the end of April! We are so excited and can’t wait to meet the little one.

Photographer: Leighanne Herr Photography | Planner: Bundle Bride | Venue: Pine Lake Ranch | Florist: Agave Estates | Wedding Cake: Whisk Bakery | Caterer: Taco Nuts | Band: Royal Dukes Band | Bagpiper: Jason Gunn via Drones N Drums | Paper Products: 4 Love Polka Dots | Bride’s Gown: Winnie Couture | Bride’s Accessories and Bridesmaids’ Dresses: BHLDN | Hair and Makeup: Adorne Artistry | Bride’s Shoes: Ivanka Trump

lisa Written with love by Lisa
2 Comments
  1. avatar Jeff reply

    These details are amazing! Loved the florals around the tree and the cake especially! The couple looked really fun and unique, too :)

  2. avatar this week's clicks: ovaries before brovaries. – KORULY reply

    […] From Texas, a romantic Southern-meets-Scottish wedding. […]

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Planning a wedding from afar can be challenging, but Tara and Henry knew they wanted to get married at the the historic Belle Meade Plantation… even without seeing it in person. With the help of Elliott Events, they planned a sweet, Southern soirée in her home state of Tennessee, all while residing in New York City. Of course, after a trip to Belle Meade, their expectations were exceeded–I’m sure a sigh of relief was had by all! With a venue filled with so much character, Tara and Henry decided to keep the things simple, with classic Southern details and minimal embellishments to truly showcase the history and charm of the plantation. A wise choice, in my opinion!

Thanks to Alex Bee for sharing Tara and Henry’s joyous day!

What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? One of my bridesmaids is an incredible hair stylist, so she did my hair for the wedding. That was really special for me. The guys’ tuxes all came from a store called Peppers in Sydney, so it was really cool for Henry to have something from home as a part of the wedding. And it was so special for both of us to be married by our pastor from our church in New York City, Josh Kelsey from C3 Brooklyn.

We wanted to get married in Nashville because it’s near where I grew up, and we both love the city so much. We love the way Belle Meade is beautiful and well-preserved, but still so authentic, and it has so much history. We actually booked it before we even had a chance to visit. There were so few dates available in the spring, and we didn’t want to miss out on our chance to book it. Luckily, when we went to visit a month later, it exceeded all our expectations.

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Choosing the songs was very important to us! We love music, and we have so many special memories connected to songs. To name a few: “Magic” by Coldplay played before the ceremony; the bridesmaids walked down the aisle to “Like Real People Do” by Hozier; I walked down the aisle to “Secret Garden” by Bruce Springsteen; and walking back up the aisle, we played “O-o-oh Child” by Nina Simone. Our first dance was to “Horses” by Daryl Braithwaite, and the bouquet toss and the garter throw were to “Two of a Kind” by Garth Brooks.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I knew that I wanted a pretty traditional dress.I went to look at one store with one of my bridesmaids, and when I tried one dress on, my friend told me I had to get it. It was bigger and heavier than I’d imagined though, so I held off. A few weeks later, I went to a different store with a few of my other best friends. That store happened to have the same dress, so I tried it on again. They all had the exact same reaction–they told me it had to be the one. I trusted my friends’ judgment, and I’m glad I did! I never would have picked it on my own, but I ended up being so happy with it!

It was a little difficult planning from New York, but we had an amazing wedding planner who made it so much easier! Tiffanie Elliott looked after every detail, presented us with options that we loved, and gave us a push whenever we were lagging with making decisions. If it’s feasible for you budget-wise, I really recommend hiring a planner (Tiffanie, if she’s available!). It relieved so much of the stress and fuss and allowed us to enjoy our engagement. This is the only time in your relationship that you’ll ever be each other’s fiancé, so remember to enjoy it!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We tried to maintain a classic Southern style throughout, while keeping things elegant and simple. We felt that the venue had so much character that we didn’t need to embellish it much.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Walking into dinner in the carriage house when we were presented and seeing all of our friends and family together. It was an unbelievably happy moment.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. I grew up in Murfreesboro, Tennessee and Henry is from Sydney, Australia. I spent a year in Sydney for grad school, then moved to New York City. Henry happened to move from Sydney to New York at almost the exact same time. In New York, I became good friends with an Australian couple who had also moved to the city. The guy was working on plans to open a cafe, and Henry was his business partner. Despite the fact that we had mutual friends, we didn’t meet for more than two years after that, when the cafe opened and I helped out for the first week. Henry asked me on a date, and we went to a jazz club that night. Before long, we were in love and inseparable! Ten months later, we were engaged.
Tell us all about the proposal! For my birthday, Henry had gotten us a night at a beautiful resort in Big Sur. About six weeks later, we arrived at the gorgeous property. Henry wanted to take a walk before dinner, but the trail we tried to go on was too steep and rocky for me in my heels. Then he started to lead me to a grassy patch, but there was a huge snake there! So, he suggested we go back to the porch off our room for a drink before dinner. He asked me to marry him and pulled out an incredible ring he had designed using a sapphire his mom had given him when he was 12 years old. I was absolutely shocked and so happy!
When did y’all get married? April 2, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 135
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Henry’s sister Lucy read the lyrics of a song that’s very special to us, and our friend Serena read a passage from Ephesians in the Bible.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Henry owns a cafe and a restaurant, and I am an author. We both work at Henry’s restaurant, and I am also writing a new book. We love being able to work together and support each other. Whenever we can, we spend time together and with friends, going to restaurants and shows in the city. We look forward to buying a house someday where we can go to get away and enjoy nature (eventually, with our kids!).

Photographer: Alex Bee Photo | Second shooter: Sur la Lune Photography | Videographer: Loomis Films | Planner and Florist: Elliott Events | Venue: Belle Meade Plantation | Wedding Cake: Dessert Designs | Caterer: G Catering | Rentals: Music City Tents and Events | Band: Emerald Empire Band | Bride’s Gown: Hayley Paige | Bridal Salon: Lovely New York | Hair Stylist: Marissa Martoni and Abigail Swan | Makeup Artist: Katie Russo Beauty | Bride’s Shoes: Aldo | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Sleeveless Tulle over Lace Dress by White by Vera Wang | Menswear: Peppers

marissa Written with love by Marissa
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