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Monthly Archives: May 2017

John and I are coming up on our fifth wedding anniversary in a few months.

Enough time has passed since that September day that you might think our choices would have fallen out of favor in our memories, that I’d now wish we’d switched this or that detail or done this or that differently. I know some friends who are already itching for a complete do-over, though thankfully to the same people (ha!).

But no. No. Our wedding day was an absolutely magical day, crystalline in its clarity and astonishing in its beauty. I feel so lucky to have absolutely no regrets, looking back — so thankful, in hindsight, that we took the time to do things our way, to do them meaningfully, and to do them with great love. I have no desire to do our wedding over again; instead, I’m free to look forward to what is to come.

I say that not to stress you out — what kind of person would I be if I added stress to a bride’s plate?! — but to encourage you to double down with grace, patience, and purpose as you plan your wedding. Because I want that same clarity and beauty for you… one, five, ten, and fifty years on.

The urgency of wedding planning is this: if you do it right, you only get one chance — but if you do it right, you only need one chance.

One chance to create a memory that will shine in your mind like a beacon until you are old and gray, beckoning you back to why you committed to lifelong love.

One chance to honor and celebrate your community on your wedding day.

One chance to say to your world, This is who we are and who we will be, and this is what matters to us.

One chance to affect all of the people who matter most to you with the power of your love.

Don’t let the urgency of wedding planning scare you — let it fuel you. Don’t let it add details and to dos to your plate — let it strip from your plate the things that don’t matter, that aren’t “you” through and through. Leave those things behind without a trace of guilt.

While you are engaged, so far as you can, prioritize this unique opportunity called a wedding to create meaning in your life and in the lives of the people you love. I promise you that you will reap the riches of that work for years and years to come, and so will those beloved people of yours.

I am with you and for you, friends. And we’re here to help. What part of wedding planning can we help you with so that you’re freed up to create this one wild and beautiful memory? I’d love to hear.

P.S. It must be said – the best tool I know to help you plan a wedding is the Joyful Wedding Planner. I co-wrote it using all I learned from my own wedding, and I couldn’t recommend it more.

P.P.S. New here? You can see more of my wedding in two posts. The photo above is from our big day, by the inimitable Tanja Lippert.

emily Written with love by Emily
  1. avatar Kelly reply

    Oh how I love this post. I’m saving for my future season, whenever that might be, of wedding planning. So I can reflect and remember

  2. avatar Ashley reply

    These words are so true! I’m three weeks away from our wedding day. It feels good to read a post that leaves you encouraged.

    • avatar Emily reply

      I’m so glad this post encouraged you, Ashley!! Best of luck as you count down to your big day! :)

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Bride Anna shares her homespun Alabama wedding at The Brick Church.

I’m delighted to introduce y’all to our bride for today, Anna! Her Alabama wedding to Ben is filled with so much sweetness and charm that it was almost impossible for her to choose her most memorable moment from their wedding day. She says, “trying to choose just one, though, I think I would pick the weather.” A strange choice, I thought at first, until I read why! You see, the forecast called for rain on their wedding day, but it only drizzled during their ceremony (which was indoors, thank heavens!) and just a bit after, creating a lovely memory! “It was still sprinkling a bit so we ran off and hid in a local coffee shop, where had tea. It soon stopped raining, so Ashley took Ben and me off to the lovely town of Mooresville where we were able to hold a newborn lamb.” Add in tea as husband and wife and snuggles with a newborn lamb, and I totally get why the weather ended up being her most memorable moment! Keep reading for more details on their big day (and a peek at said newborn lamb!).

Big SW hugs to Ashley Vaughn of White Rabbit Studios for sharing their special day with us!

The third dress ended up being the one. I had a feeling from the moment I saw it on the hanger in the boutique, but knew it from the first time I tried it on. My mom and I went to a handful of other shops and boutiques but I couldn’t stop thinking about the two-piece embroidered gown.

Did you decide to do a first look? I’ve always wanted to do a first look! Ben and I both found it important to have a bit of a calm before the storm. We weren’t sure how to go about it, and our photographer, Ashley, had the idea for her to capture our first look, and then give us some alone time in the church. We took her up on that!

A Southern detail that was important to me was a theme of “generations.” Family has always been so important to me, and I took extra care in having my late grandparents and Ben’s late grandmother honored in small ways, such as having their wedding pictures at the wedding reception and by using my grandmother’s earrings and sheet music to walk down the aisle to.

How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? At the Brick Church, there was a fire marshal code that only 120 people could be in the church! The attendance for the reception was around 220.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? Yes! My dad, Joel McWhorter, loves history and is like a walking book of history (especially regarding Alabama). When my brother and I were little, he took us to Mooresville one Saturday and told us the history of the Post Office there, and the little Brick Church (where I ended up getting married)! I remember, even though I couldn’t have been more than seven years old, wanting to get married in that beautiful church. I’ve always loved old churches rich with history and community, and having it be so close to my hometown of Decatur it couldn’t have been more perfect!

What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Ben and I have worked so hard for five years to get married, we can’t believe it actually happened! We look forward to sharing our love of Christ through our marriage and helping each other to become better people by building one another up and lovin’ on each other. We so look forward to traveling, making new friends, and getting a puppy! Sadly, the puppy is not in the near future, but we so look forward to having a bigger family together!

What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? Rather than buying many small items for those perfect details, I ended up making a lot of them myself or using things around my parents’ home! We used cigar boxes and books on the reception tables, and I hand made signs out of my grandmother’s old picture frames and old postcards my mom and I have been collecting over the years! Not only did it help save money, but it was SO much fun! I loved being able to hand make some of the decorations for my wedding! It definitely made the wedding seem so much more like Ben and me!

What did you serve for your wedding cake or dessert? Why did you choose it? My wedding cake was a three-tier vanilla funfetti cake with light pink buttercream frosting! Ben’s and my first date ever was to The Chocolate Crocodile, and we split an apple pie apple! It seemed only appropriate that we would choose it for the groom’s dessert, so the groom’s “cake” were apple pie apples from The Chocolate Crocodile!

“The Girl” has always been such a special song for Ben and me throughout our relationship, and we spent no time deciding on that being the song we would dance our first dance to.

Ben is my God-given gift, my very best friend, my counsel, my protector, and the person who has made me laugh the most. There is no doubt that we had been made a pair since before we were born. I had been praying for so many years that God would send me someone who would unconditionally love me and my family, and put God first. It is an understatement to say I’ve been blessed with Ben. He is the hardest-working, and smartest man I’ve ever met.

Tell us your love story. I have known Ben since I was in 4th grade, but I didn’t became friends with him until I was in 10th grade. We had a mutual friend set us up on a double date then (when I was in 10th grade and he in 11th), but neither of us were very interested in a romantic relationship at the time. We have a lot of fun looking back on that, especially how neither of us thought we would end up dating, let alone get married! That next year, however, we ended up having a study hall together, where, as Ben puts it, “we didn’t get much studying done.” I asked him to sit by me as soon as he walked into the class and we ended up spending that hour talking about anything and everything (with the occasional homework here and there). We ended up becoming really close friends being able to spend that time together everyday! I still can’t recall a specific date when I realized I liked him more than a friend. Our relationship had always been so natural. After spending every day during 6th period together (and sometimes 7th and after school), Ben finally asked me out on March 20th, 2012!
Tell us all about the proposal! Ben proposed to me on September 30th, 2016 at Falls Mill in Tennessee. This was always a very special date spot we would go to when we had a free day in the week! Lunches we would take there would always taste better by the water mill (even when the bugs were bad in the summers)! He took off work that Friday, picked me up and took me to The Brick in downtown Decatur for lunch and then off to Falls Mill. After he had proposed, he drove us back to our hometown where my mother hosted an engagement party with all of our families there to celebrate! It was a perfect day!
When did y’all get married? March 25, 2017!
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? I had these poems read: “[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]” by e.e. cummings and “It’s all I have to bring today” by Emily Dickinson. And these scriptures were read: Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 and Song of Soloman 2:8-17. The wonderful man that read them is a dear, dear friend of mine named Eugene Banks!
What was your favorite detail from your wedding? There are so, so many details of the wedding that were favorites and so special to me. Having to pick one, I would have to pick the sheet music that my wedding party walked into the church to, and I walked down the aisle to. For a little backstory, my mom’s mother, who I called Nanny, passed away three years ago. She was the most delightful woman: full of laughter, full of fun, and full of Jesus. When I started taking piano lessons around nine years old, she gave me a piece of sheet music with a sticky note on it. I remember taking it home, poking around at the notes on the piano and putting it in the piano bench, completely forgetting about it. Sure enough, a few months before the wedding I was digging through all of my piano music trying to find what I wanted to walk down the aisle to. The sheet music that Nanny gave me was marked in pencil, “Martha Eckard March 25, 1948” (March 25th is my wedding day)! The music was THE WEDDING MARCH! How wonderful is that?! Having her recital music played from when she was a little girl made me feel like she was able to be there at the ceremony. My piano teacher from when I took lessons played it on the pump organ in the Brick Church.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I did! My something borrowed were the earrings I wore. They belong to my dad’s mother, who I call Grammy, and they were a prized gift my grandfather bought for her. My grandfather died when I was young, so it meant the world to me to be able to wear a gift from him to my grandmother. It made it feel like he was a part of the wedding too! My something blue was a handkerchief that I carried down the aisle that belonged to my Nanny when she was a little girl. My something old was a penny in my shoe (the same one my mother wore in her shoe in her wedding)! My something new was my wedding dress.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Dr. Steve Bateman, the head pastor at First Bible Church in Decatur, ordained Ben and me for our wedding. A prerequisite of his marrying us was that we go through marriage counseling with him. He recommended Timothy Keller’s, The Meaning of Marriage and spoke with us on what it means to be married and how relationships work. My favorite thing we did in the counseling was Ben named five ways in which he feels respected by me, and I named five ways in which I feel loved by him. I will forever cherish these things.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Having the wonderful vendors that we had made the day perfect! From the wedding planner, sweet Lori Bateman, listening to all my ideas and wishes and making them come true, to having a reception coordinator, Emme Long, making sure everything went according to the plan, to having a phenomenal, artistic florist making everything look gorgeous, to the most wonderful photographer to capture every detail! It wouldn’t of gone as perfect as it did if it weren’t for these wonderful ladies working so hard and having so much fun with it!
What advice would you give to someone currently planning a wedding? The best advice I have for anyone planning a wedding is how important it is to surround yourself with people that are organized and level-headed! Planning one of the most exciting, expensive, and beautiful celebrations can become so overwhelming and stressful! Having vendors, friends, and planners that were all organized and calm was so important in making the day and the planning run smoothly. Don’t be afraid to be vocal about what you want your day to look like, and most all people working on your wedding are so happy to make your vision come to life!
Is there anything else you’d like to share about your wedding? I cannot give enough credit to the wonderful wedding planner, Lori, for how hard she worked and how sweet she was in making everything that I wanted happen! She took extra care in having the details I asked for come to life! The day wouldn’t have been nearly as perfect as it was if it wasn’t for her! Love you long time, Lori!

Photographer: Ashley Vaughn of White Rabbit Studios | Planner: Lori Bateman (family friend) | Ceremony Venue: The Brick Church | Reception Venue: Woody + Lyla’s Dance Hall | Florist: Simpson’s Florist | Wedding Cake or Dessert Baker: Molly Moo Cakes | Caterer: Curry’s on Johnston Street | Rentals: Mullins Special Occasions | Band or DJ: Andrew Hodge + Matthew Sasser (childhood friends of the bride) | Special Details: 1951 Chevy Truck provided by Family Friend | Paper Products: Minted in Wanderlust Wreath | Bride’s Gown: Odylyne the Ceremony from Finery | Bride’s Veil: Sara Gabriel from Finery | Bride’s Shoes: Phoenix Suede Booties from Forever Soles | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Darccy Frill Layered Maxi Dress from ASOS | Groom’s “Cake”: The Chocolate Crocodile

marissa Written with love by Marissa

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For Southern Weddings V9, we asked a few of our wisest, most creative, and just plain fun friends how they celebrate their anniversaries. From simple takeout dinners served on wedding china, to trips back to honeymoon destinations, and everything in between, their ideas spanned every timeframe, budget, and tradition we can think of. Whether you’ll be celebrating your first anniversary or your fifteenth this year, we hope these ideas inspire you–we’ll be sharing a new one each Sunday!

Jen Dillender

Last year, I made Jeremy a giant photo collage of all our Instagram photos from the first year of our marriage. I framed the collage and put a gold “1” on top. I plan to make one every year on our anniversary, so hopefully one day, we will have a garage or hallway or basement lined with giant photo collages of our marriage throughout the years!
– Audrey Roloff

Written with love by admin

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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