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Monthly Archives: April 2017

On a recent call, Emily said, “I just assigned a real wedding to you, and I’m pretty sure you’re going to like it!” Patience is not a virtue I possess, so I immediately high-tailed it over to the blog schedule and started pouring through Hanna and Grant’s photos! As a UNC alum myself with a heart that bleeds Carolina Blue, I’ve spent many hours walking through the campus where Hanna and Grant met, fell in love, and celebrated the beginning of their married life! To see how they wove their story and their love of Chapel Hill into their big day in an elegant and understated way made me feel right at home, and I’m certain each guest felt the same way! Hanna and Grant, I hope to run into you tonight on Franklin Street after our big win! *fingers crossed*

Big hugs to Blue Ribbon Vendor Faith Teasley for sharing this day with us!

Searching for my wedding dress was one of my favorite activities! I decided that I wanted to go to Georgetown (Washington, D.C.) because I love Georgetown and they have plenty of beautiful bridal salons. I ended up inviting all of my bridesmaids (four were able to come), my mom, and my mother-in-law to join in on the search. Our first appointment was at Hitched Salon. I loved everything about their salon! They were so sweet and really tailored the appointment to my needs. We were given a room in the back and I ended up falling in love with the third dress. I tried on a few more dresses just to make sure, but I kept coming back to the third dress. I teared up every time I put it on! We cancelled our next two appointments and were able to enjoy the rest of the day together. I love that I was able to share this moment with some of my favorite people.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? With both of us being UNC grads, me growing up in Chapel Hill, and many of our best friends being UNC alums, we wanted a historic Chapel Hill feel. The Forest Theater and Horace Williams House provided that while being walking distance from each other.

What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We had a good friend of Grant’s read 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. We love this reading because it is short and simple, but sums up what we believe about love and marriage.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. For my walk down the aisle, we went with Pachelbel’s “Canon in D.” This was a classic that Grant loved, so I thought that it would be the perfect song to walk down the aisle to.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The slight references to UNC. We used UNC golf carts to transport the wedding party and photographer, UNC stadium cups for beer, and UNC pint glasses for our favors. We love UNC and had many alumni as guests. We loved how we were able to incorporate UNC without being over the top and cheesy.

I love flowers that are light and airy with a lot of greenery. I felt like our florist did a great job giving us exactly that. We stuck to white and pale pink flowers to give that light and airy look, and used all types of flowers and greenery, including rosemary! My favorite thing about our flowers was that our florist cut most of them from her backyard garden.

We served Southern BBQ to our guests. We feel that BBQ is easy and everyone likes it–plus, it gave our Northern guests a chance to experience Southern BBQ. For dessert, we went with chocolate chip cookies, as that is Grant’s favorite dessert. We felt there was enough attention on us for the weekend that we didn’t need to do a cake cutting, so we just went with something simple and easy. We used a variety of silver platters from my family to display the cookies. We loved how all of the platters were the same color, but were still so different.

Our first dance was to Ray Lamontagne’s “You are the Best Thing.” We love the pace and meaning of this song! For the reception, we wanted to make sure that we played music that was easy to dance to. All of our family members and friends love to dance. We requested that the DJ play a mix with a slight emphasis on 70s Motown. It worked and the dance floor was packed the entire night.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met at a soccer alumni event at the Crunkleton on October 5, 2013. My brother Chipper was a current soccer player, and current families were invited to attend the annual alumni event. We decided that we would go for a little bit. I met Grant and stayed a little longer than expected. (Fun fact: we can almost see the Crunkleton from our new house.)
Tell us all about the proposal! We have a golden retriever named Cooper that we love to take on walks. We used to have a path that we would take daily. On Easter morning of 2015, Grant suggested that we go on a walk in the morning before we went to my parents’ for an Easter celebration. During our walk, Grant suggested that we go into the gazebo that we passed every day. When we got there, there was a vase of flowers and a card waiting. Grant got on one knee and asked me to marry him.
When did y’all get married? May 28, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 185
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? We bought a 1938 cottage in Chapel Hill four months prior to our wedding, so in addition to wedding planning, we were remodeling our first home together. While it wasn’t easy at the time, starting our marriage in a home that we had a say in design-wise was special to us.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? Well, cookies instead of cake saved some money. We hired some of the UNC soccer players to help us with wedding set-up and breakdown, and they also transported the bridal party from preparations to the wedding site. My dad built the altar used in the Forest Theater, as well as two bars for the serving stations at the Horace Williams House, one of which is in our home today.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? We got UNC golf carts to transport the wedding party around campus for pictures after the ceremony. Once the bridal party was done with photos and we finished our alone shots, we had a quiet golf cart ride to ourselves from the Bell Tower on campus to the Horace Williams House. While the ceremony, family, friends, dancing, and everything else were special moments that we will always remember, that moment to ourselves to take a breath and realize we were officially married was something we cherished.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? I think I would tell others to really enjoy the process and trust that it will all work out. I also think it is important to think about what is best for you as a couple and make sure that the day reflects you. It is okay to stray from what is considered “the norm” at a wedding. For example, we cut out the bouquet toss, garter toss, and cake cutting.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? As simple as it sounds, we are excited to just be married. We aren’t really sure what is next, but we can’t wait to find out!

Photographer: Faith Teasley | Ceremony Venue: The Forest Theatre | Reception Venue: The Horace Williams House | Florist: Springwell Gardens | Dessert Baker: Harris Teeter | Caterer: The Original Q Shack | Rentals: DeeJay’s Event Rentals and American Party Rentals | Lighting: DeeJay’s Event Rentals | Ceremony Music: Arioso Strings | DJ: A & A Disc Jockey Service | Paper Products: Minted | Bride’s Gown: “Tara” by Amy Kuschel | Bride’s Accessories: Hitched Bridal Couture | Hair and Makeup: Wedding Hair by Liz | Bride’s Shoes: “Chic” Flat by Ivanka Trump | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Various in Shell Pink by J. Crew | Men’s Attire: The Ludlow Suit in Stone by J. Crew

Written with love by Jess Metcalf
1 Comment
  1. avatar Bri A reply

    Oh my, this was beautiful beyond belief! I LOVE the Forest Theater as a ceremony spot and now, the Horace Williams House is on my dream reception list. ;) What a gorgeous celebration. Thank you for sharing your special day with us, Hanna and Grant!

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Southern Weddings turned nine years old on Saturday! That’s an occasion worthy of celebrating, because we couldn’t be prouder of how far we’ve come since 2008, what we’re doing now, and who we’re doing it with – y’all!! It’s already been an exciting year for us, and with the tenth issue of our magazine debuting this fall, we’re confident there’s more excitement in store.

We’re all about stories here (we celebrate them every day through real weddings and our editorials!), so in honor of our birthday, we’d love to tell you a little more about ours!

Jake + Heather

In 2008, our founder’s husband was deployed to Iraq with the Navy. Lara was looking for something to distract her from worrying about Ari, so she bought a domain name, pulled together some friends for photo shoots, and mocked up a wedding magazine cover on her humble PC! She was working with some of the biggest names in the wedding planning world at the time, and her goal was to share the jaw-dropping things that were happening in California and New York with Southern gals. That’s how our first issue was born!

Over the next few years, many of our current team members came on board, and our heart began to shift. Instead of using our pages to tell Southerners about what was happening around the country, we became inspired by the sweet, evocative, soulful things that were happening in the South, and began to share those with the rest of the world – a world that seemed hungry for what we had to offer!

Our last big shift came around 2012, with our fifth anniversary issue. Beneath that pretty gold foil cover, we shared our renewed heart for celebrating and equipping strong, growing marriages, which coincided with Lara’s unfolding story of renewal in her own marriage (it’s a really good one, if you’d like to read it).

This year, we welcomed a new Editor-in-Chief and a simplified mission: in all that we do, whether you’re a single college gal, a dating twenty-something, newly engaged, or freshly married, we want to help you cultivate what matters, right where you are. At Southern Weddings, we’ll equip you with the practical and inspire you with the pretty so that you can create a meaningful wedding day that celebrates your story and serves as a beautiful touchstone to a life full of love.

We are more in love with our work than we were nine years ago, and so grateful to y’all for being a part of it. Thank you, friends, for cheering us on and spreading our mission alongside us. You truly are the best.

To say thank you, we’re hosting some fun birthday festivities this week! First, did you hear about our cupcake decorating contest? There’s still time to get in on the fun! And don’t forget to download and print your Southern Weddings birthday hat template if you need a little help getting into the spirit! We’re wearing ours in the office today.

Second, we’ve teamed up with our friends at Shop Sweet Lulu to offer a birthday prize pack to one lucky reader! Enter below to win a Joyful Wedding Planner, a Memories of Us journal, a box of Funfetti cake mix, a Liberty cupcake kit, pretty floral plates, birthday cake caramels, an assortment of balloons in SW-approved colors, gold glitter candles, custom felt confetti, darling favor bags, and the sweetest happy birthday garland. Whew!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Finally, as a thank you to ALL y’all, we’re offering free shipping on everything in the Southern Weddings Shop from today through April 10 with code HAPPYBIRTHDAY. Maybe it’s the perfect time to pick up a Joyful Wedding Planner, a gorgeous guest book, or a ceremonial marriage certificate? I don’t know about y’all, but I prefer free shipping codes to almost any other kind of discount, so enjoy! :)

There’s lots more fun to be had on Instagram this week, so come on over and join us there! And here’s to nine more happy years!!

P.S. I was looking back through (really!) old posts for a certain photo, and came across this from Lara, written in 2009. It still rings true today! “I think the magic of Southern Weddings is the community that has formed around it. It’s not about weddings, it’s about inspiring and connecting with each other. I am so humbled by the love and overjoyed to see how people are supporting each other… not just us.”

emily Written with love by Emily
  1. avatar Bri A reply

    Nine years?! Goodness! Happy birthday to SW and the whole team! Celebrate with a big glass of sweet tea.

    Thank you for everything all of y’all do for SW and CWM!

  2. avatar Laura reply

    “I Got You” by James Brown!

  3. avatar Savannah reply

    Love this magazine!! Provides a lot of interesting and helpful insight!

  4. avatar Monique reply

    What an amazing way to celebrate SW’s Birthday!! My sweet husband and I’s first dance as husband and wife was to “Only One” by Yellowcard.

  5. avatar Kate reply

    Happy birthday! My birthday is Friday! It would be so super sweet to win this giveaway!!

  6. avatar Kate reply

    Oh and our first dance song was “Angel” by Jack Johnson.

  7. avatar Katherine reply

    I’m getting married June 24th and our first dance is going to be Unforgettable by Nat King Cole :)

  8. avatar Emily reply

    Happy Birthday Southern Weddings!!! So grateful for your love of meaningful relationships and beautiful marriages. Here’s to many more birthdays! Cheers!

  9. avatar Abby Rae Cohen reply

    My blog post comment assignment to receive another entry in the giveaway was, “Tell us what your first dance song will be or was.” Seems like the heavens opened up and shined down upon me for this one, as I just so happen to have a running list in the notes section of my phone for possible weddings songs! Haha! My first dance song will either be Have I Told You Lately That I Love You by Rod Stewart (I have strong memories of my grandfather crying and dancing to this song at my cousins wedding when I was very little) or My Girl by The Temptations, because one day my boyfriend and I were driving and it came on and he said “I’m going to marry you and we will dance to this song,” SO how could that not make me just melt? So many good choices! Thanks for the giveaway opportunity, and here’s to nine more years. XOXO.

  10. avatar Emily reply

    For the Birthday Prize Pack, I’m still single so I don’t have a first dance song yet but I’ll be watching the comments for a good one ;-)

  11. avatar Kirsten Barber reply

    Happy Birthday to all the “Southern Weddings” ladies! I’ve so enjoyed reading the magazine over the years and seeing the joy and love shared on every page. Thank you for all the inspiration you’ve sent out over the years. Looking forward to this year’s issue.

  12. avatar Alison reply

    Then by Brad Paisley

  13. avatar Meredith Peterman reply

    Happy Birthday Southern Weddings!!!

  14. avatar Jillian Chamberlain reply

    Happy Birthday! My fiancé and I get married next June, so we don’t have a song picked outyet! However, we both turn 30 in two weeks! How fun, all of these milestones in this season!

  15. avatar Kelly reply

    Happy Birthday!

  16. avatar Jessica Green reply

    My fiancé’s and my first dance song will be From the Ground Up by Dan and Shay!

  17. avatar Robin reply

    Celebrate Good Times

  18. avatar Alejandra Castillo reply

    Our first dance was a very fun one. THIS GIRL by THE KUNGS! Seriously so much fun!!!

  19. avatar Abi Proctor reply

    co covered by John Mayer!

  20. avatar Alejandra reply

    Our first dance was THIS GIRL by THE KUNGS!!! It has the perfect melody to dance slowly and do quick fun spins, it was the best!!

  21. avatar Andrea F reply

    Our first dance song was “I Get to Love You” by Ruelle :)

  22. avatar Summer reply

    Happy birthday SW!

  23. avatar Mary Beth reply

    Our first dance song was Dead Sea by the Lumineers! Not only do we love the band, but during our marriage counseling our pastor said one of us would be the Dead Sea and one of us would be the babbling brook when it came to expressing feelings, and I turned to my then fiance and said “see – I told you that you were my dead sea.” It was meant to be!

  24. avatar Nicole W reply

    I just LOVE this site & all of the great content you share. As someone who previously worked in the world of blogging & content marketing with some of the biggest brands out there, I know you guys are one of a kind and are sharing something special.

  25. avatar Sydney reply

    Our first dance song will be How Sweet It Is by James Taylor!

    • avatar Anne Courtney reply

      Another James Taylor over here! We are doing Whenever I see your smiling face (:

  26. avatar Gladys reply

    “The Way You Look Tonight” :)

  27. avatar Sara reply

    Our first dance song was to Keith Urban’s “Making Memories of Us.”

  28. avatar Suzanna reply

    All of the Stars by Ed Sheeran

  29. avatar Janna reply

    Not engaged…yet… :) but Yours by Russell Dickerson is our song! :)

  30. avatar Megan reply

    Perfect – Ed Sheeran

  31. avatar Hope reply

    Happy happy birthday, Southern Weddings! Thank you for sharing your wonderful content with us for NINE YEARS! I’m so excited to see what is to come in the next wonderful years.

    Our first dance as a married couple was to “Drops of Jupiter,” by Train. “Drops of Jupiter” was the theme of our tenth grade homecoming dance – our first date! We came full circle at our wedding, but still had the same butterflies as when we danced to it as 15-year-olds. :)

  32. avatar Elisa Bricker reply

    Happy birthday! So happy to see all that you’ve done during that time!

  33. avatar Whitney Goetz reply

    Our first dance was to “Nothing Fancy” by Dave Barnes. Almost 5 years later, still adore that song. :)

  34. avatar Meredith reply

    “Perfect” by Ed Sheehan

  35. avatar Carly Griesel reply

    Our first dance song will be You’ll Always Be My Girl by Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors.

  36. avatar Macy reply

    Our first dance song will be “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Haley Reinhart

  37. avatar Karen reply

    My first song will be ” Give It All We Got Tonight” By George Strait!!

  38. avatar Laura reply

    Happy birthday, Southern Weddings!!

  39. avatar Laura reply

    Our first dance song was “Wagon Wheel” by Old Crow Medicine Show :)

  40. avatar kathryn j reply

    Our first dance song was John Legend’s “All of You”

  41. avatar Jenna Keene reply

    The song “I get to love you” by Ruelle is at the top of my list for my first dance song one day! (:

  42. avatar Randall Huwe reply

    Our first dance will be to Neville’s Waltz by Patrick Doyle! Now we just need to learn how to waltz before the big day…
    Love you blog!

  43. avatar marcie LENICK reply

    Gosh, it was 27 yrs ago and I don’t remember what it was called but think it was by Peabo Price (sp???) LOLOLOL

  44. avatar Krystal reply

    As a wedding planner, MTH alumni and lover of all things southern, I look forward to each issue of SW to inspire me even more. Happy Birthday!

  45. avatar Linda reply

    Amazed by Lonestar – that was a really long time ago – now time to pick my daughter’s first dance song :)

  46. avatar Courtney White reply

    Happy Birthday! Our first dance song was “Die A Happy Man” by Thomas Rhett!

  47. avatar Kate reply

    Yay Southern Weddings! Our first dance song was “You’re Beautiful” by Phil Wickham.

  48. avatar Madison reply

    Our first dance song will be Perfect Storm by Brad Paisley most likely. It’s still up for debate ;)

  49. avatar Shawn A. reply

    Still The One by Orleans

  50. avatar Brittney reply

    “Hey Ho” by the Lumineers

  51. avatar Kathleen reply

    Haven’t decided on a first dance song.

  52. avatar Sarah reply

    Happiest of Birthdays to you!! First dance song will be Moon River. Xox

  53. avatar Jackie reply

    Happy birthday! Definitely used that free shipping code to pick up a few missed magazine issues :D

  54. avatar Christie reply

    Lost In This Moment by Big & Rich <3

  55. avatar Shelby reply

    Happy birthday, SW!

    Our first dance song was “Forever Like That” by Ben Rector!

  56. avatar Mandy reply

    Our first dance song was “So Close” from the Disney movie Enchanted :)

  57. avatar Kallie reply

    Happy Birthday!! As for my song choice, I haven’t decided for sure, but I think “Call On Me” by Janis Joplin is a definite top contender!

  58. avatar Laura reply

    Happy birthday! I became a SW reader before my wedding 6(!) years ago and have loved seeing how it has grown and evolved since then! Our first dance was to Hold On by Michael Buble. Such a wonderful song and we loved that it isn’t used often- it’s just ours!

  59. avatar Sami K reply

    yay! Love this! My first dance song is Made for You :)

  60. avatar Alex reply

    Such a funnel giveaway! Congrats y’all! Absolutely love the happiness you share through these platforms! Xoxo

  61. avatar Jessica Holt reply

    Out of all the beautifully written songs in the world, the one that would most describe my future marriage is At Last by Etta James. I will be 25 this year and have yet to have a boyfriend. I am holding steadfast to meet the man of my dreams that meets every standard I have and beyond!

  62. avatar Courtney reply

    My first dance song choice is by Van Morrison- “Someone Like You”

  63. avatar Kayla reply

    Congrats on 9 years!!!

  64. avatar Michelle reply

    My wedding song was John Legend All of You.

  65. avatar Laura reply

    We never had a first dance, so no song here! :)

  66. avatar Elise reply

    My fiance and I haven’t yet decided… we are still six months out! We’re torn between a slower, traditional and popular song (we’ll hear it all the time!) or something unique and special just to us (more playful)… I’ll be scrolling through the comments for ideas! :)

  67. avatar Lynn Scott reply

    This is the cutest gift ever, Happy 9 Year Anniversary. Our first dance 23 years ago was “I Swear” by John Michael Montgomery??

  68. avatar Ashlie Muller reply

    Happy 9th Birthday, Southern Weddings!!

  69. avatar Megan reply

    Still very single but always had a soft spot for old Big Band favorites…Beyond the Sea, For Once in my Life…

  70. avatar Karen reply

    Not married yet, but we love the song Better Together by Jack Johnson, so it’d probably be that one!

  71. avatar Kristen reply

    Happy Birthday SW!!

  72. avatar Leigh Ann Miller reply

    I just got engaged yesterday! Our first dance will be ” close your eyes” by Michael Buble

  73. avatar Leigh Ann Miller reply

    Close your eyes by Michael Buble!!
    I just got engaged yesterday!

  74. avatar Morgan C reply

    We are going to dance to “and I love her” by the Beatles!

  75. avatar Carlee Campbell reply

    My Love :) so excited for our big day in 2 months!! Congrats to SW!

  76. avatar Sandra reply

    Wow, that sounds great. I’d love to win.

  77. avatar Emily reply

    Our first dance was “God Gave Me You” by Blake Shelton. Then we were able to meet him 6 months later!

  78. avatar Sarah Scott reply

    My first song would be At Last – Single Version. Etta James :)

  79. avatar Michele D. reply

    I honestly still don’t know what song to do. We still need to figure it out.

  80. avatar Julia harkins reply

    We didn’t have dancing at our wedding but we would have danced to at last-the Norah jones version!!

  81. avatar Mary Zelli reply

    We’re not having a band or dance so it can be whatever pops into our heads at the time…..

  82. avatar Shine Bridal reply


  83. avatar Anna Smith reply

    Not sure yet! Maybe “hey ho” by the lumineers cause that’s our song!

  84. avatar Lauren Powell reply

    Love this!!! Happy Birthday Southern Weddings!!!!

  85. avatar Kristen reply

    Happy birthday! Not sure on a first song yet but some ideas are Stand By Me, Kiss me by Ed Sheeran, and Die a Happy Man by Thomas Rhett :)

  86. avatar Sarah reply

    Love this! Happy birthday, SW!

    Andrew Peterson’s “Dancing in the Minefields” is my song, as is “One Safe Place”.

  87. avatar Rachel reply

    “Blank Space” cover by Ryan Adams. Not your traditional first dance song, but it’s one of the first songs we danced to (the Taylor Swift version).

  88. avatar Alexis reply

    Our first dance song was “I do cherish you” by mark wills! ❤

  89. avatar Caroline reply

    My first dance song will definitely be At Last by Etta James

  90. avatar Madeline reply

    “A Place Only You Can Go” by Needtobreathe or “Take the World by Johnny Swim

  91. avatar Emma reply

    Right now, I would like for my first dance song to be “How Would You Feel” by Ed Sheeran. I feel that by the time I get married, in more than 5 years, I think, it’ll be an older song from my generation, therefore worthy of being a wedding song.

  92. avatar Samantha reply

    Not engaged or married yet buuut my first dance song will be an Ed Sheeran song or something by Frank Sinatra!

  93. avatar Lorelai reply

    What an amazing success story y’all are!
    Our song is Fly Me to the Moon :)

  94. avatar Cassidy C reply

    Band of Horses – no one’s gonna love you

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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