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Author: Emily

Radiant.  Yep, I think that pretty well sums up Quiana’s look on her wedding day.  It was the stunning (seriously: stunning) black and white portrait midway down that first caught my eye on Gandy Photographers’ teaser post, and though Quiana + Jon’s Florida destination wedding has some lovely details, it was really the love this couple has for each other that told me we had to share this wedding.  Of course, Quiana’s custom dress from the Tailored Edge (tailorededge@yahoo.com) and Bird Cage Veils head piece, the florals by Convington’s Catering, and the cakes, by Yes It’s Cake, don’t hurt.  We also like that the couple picked a ceremony and reception location — the Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center in Lake City — with personal history behind it.

How did the two of you meet?  Tell us your story. We met on the island of St. Croix at a going away party for a mutual friend, and the sparks flew.  Sparks aside, we didn’t start dating for almost two years after that initial meeting.
Describe the proposal. The proposal was a two-part affair. We took a trip to St. Lucia for Jon’s 30th birthday. It had been a while since we had been on a couple’s vacation, so were very excited! On Jon’s birthday, he called my mother to ask her for her blessing while I was out of the room. That evening, Jon popped the question while we were watching the sunset from the deck of our bungalow. Very sweet, very romantic, very simple, very us!  In his haste to get to the airport at the start of our trip, however, he had forgotten the ring! But before we had even had a chance to bring our suitcases in from the car at the end of our trip, Jon got the ring from the bedside table and proposed to me again in our living room. I told him I wouldn’t mine him proposing every day!
Three adjectives that describe the day are: Fun, easy and natural.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Everything! I was amazed that we (our families included) could pull our wedding together in only eight weeks. We were engaged in September and married the day after Thanksgiving.
Tell us about finding your wedding dress: Because Jon and I live in the US Virgin Islands – not to mention the handicap of planning a wedding in 8 weeks – I searched for a dress on the internet. I have a friend and former client who is a fabulously talented seamstress. Once I found the design I loved, I went to one of the two fabric stores on the island and browsed through their bridal laces, which were very limited. I really left it up to fate to decide because I was not leaving the store until I had my bridal lace! As fate would have it, I found a lace that was perfect and it was the last three yards! I took my own measurements sent the fabric to my seamstress who lived 42 miles away on another island. She had a dress made in three days. I had my first fitting later that week. The following week, I had my final fitting and my dress was ready to go!
Describe your wedding flowers: My wedding flowers were a mix of pinky/orange roses and deep plum tulips.
Describe your wedding cake:  We served a sour cream cake with apricot and amaretto cheesecake filling. It had white chocolate fondant with pearl embellishments around the seam of each layer.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? When Jon and I saw each other for the first time, and every time we danced together.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future?  We are looking forward to starting a family and building on our land here in the Virgin Islands.

Congratulations, Quiana + Jon!  Hugs and kisses from your friends at Southern Weddings!

emily Written with love by Emily
22 Comments
  1. avatar Leslie Brewster reply

    What a beautiful bride!!!!!!

  2. avatar Album Boutique Team reply

    Wow, she has an AMAZING dress!!! I love all the little details of the wedding, including the groom’s cake. And they look adorably radiant together. Thanks for sharing!

  3. avatar Christie O. reply

    I love that Quiana is a short hair bride who chose a natural look for her locks. The bird cage veil pulls the look together with such elegance. As a women who took the natural short haired look for her own wedding, I always appreciate short haired inspiration. Thanks for sharing this beautiful wedding!

  4. avatar Karen Wise reply

    I love the life in these pictures. What a beautiful and happy looking couple!

  5. avatar Kim King Smith Events reply

    I love the luggage groom’s cake. It is just adorable.Km King Smith Events

  6. avatar Chinonye O. reply

    Gorgeous, the Bride is beautiful and her dress is amazing. Seriously leaning to short hair.

  7. avatar Destin Beach Weddings reply

    Love all the great Wedding pictures. You had a great photographer.

  8. avatar Amelia McIntyre reply

    Q & J are both beautiful people outside and inside! So glad to get to be a part of their joy!

  9. avatar dognbird reply

    Loving everything about this!

  10. avatar Sarabeth reply

    I love the picture of them walking down the aisle – the smile on her face and the way he’s looking at her…such happiness!! Congratulations to you both!

  11. avatar Vermont Bride reply

    Priceless moments. You did a good job for hiring a professional photographer. Love is really in the air of these pictures and yes, I love the bride her happiness can’t be denied.Congrats!

  12. avatar Cait reply

    Love the Cakes! They are absolutely amazing, as well as the dress!

  13. avatar www.yesitscake.com reply

    When i was first contacted by Quiana about the cakes, she invited me to go to their wedding website in order to get to know them. When I read what Jon had to say I couldn’t help but know that Quiana’s future with Jon would never be boring, his personality came through with laughter in my home as I read to my husband Jon’s experience growing up. As we began the drive to deliver the cakes we never dreamed our destination would be so beautiful, Gandy photographers truly captured the personality of this wedding!

  14. avatar hc reply

    The cakes looked awesome. I bet they were also delicious.

  15. avatar Sherri reply

    The wedding was beautiul. I especially like to suitcase cake, what a great idea.

  16. avatar Cindy reply

    What an amazing story. I LOVE the cakes!!! The grooms cake was so realistic! "Yesitscake" is certainly talented!

  17. avatar wholesale roses reply

    The dress is amazing and it doesn’t hurt that the bride looks like a model! Great choice of roses and tulips for the centerpieces.

  18. avatar Debbie Mathis reply

    Beautiful wedding and grooms’ cake .

  19. avatar Lisa Hancock reply

    I love the cakes, they had to be done by a famous cake designer!!!!!

  20. avatar Cathy Helms reply

    Amazing cakes — especially love the suitcase groom’s cake!

  21. avatar dg reply

    Love the cakes!! The wedding cake is so beautiful it doesn’t even look real. Great idea for the groom’s cake.!

  22. avatar Courtney reply

    Cakes look amazing! Hopefully I can have ‘yesitscake’ make me one someday.

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Well folks, this is about as Southern as it gets.  Georgia locale?  Check.  Deviled eggs, sweet tea, and oysters?  Check, check, and check.  A pickin’ bluegrass band?  Check, of course.  We couldn’t resist sharing these images of Kristen + Grant’s rehearsal dinner, especially with the contrast they provide to the pair’s (also very Southern but) very different wedding, coming up next.  A huge thank you to The Parsons for sending this feature our way!

emily Written with love by Emily
2 Comments
  1. avatar racheljo reply

    So excited to see more from this wedding! We were married on St. Simons Island in October!!

  2. avatar alec vanderboom reply

    great details. the dog eating of the spoon – awesome. wonderful toning and fun photography

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Hello lovely ladies (and gents!).  We’re back with another installment of Etiquette with Emily.  First, I just have to say y’all are fantastic!  When I asked for your thoughts two weeks ago on my engagement party guest list conundrum, you delivered like no other – over 35 responses!  The consensus seemed to be that the best option was to hold a more generic holiday party, but to let people know (if they ask!) that Kate + Cormac will be in attendance.  This way, they’ll get to celebrate with friends and family, but without the pressure of save-the-dates hanging over their heads all night.  Thanks again for all of your great input – I loved reading your thoughts!

But on to this week.  Today’s question comes from our very own Katharine!  Like our last question, it, too, concerns guest lists (aren’t they difficult?), but this time, it’s the list for the actual wedding she’s wondering about. 

Here’s the deal.  Katharine is not engaged (yet!), but she’s already looking ahead to the near future, when she will be.  (Side note: can you blame her?!  We work at a wedding magazine!)  In an ideal world, Katharine and Kyle would prefer to have a small wedding (let’s say thirty or so people).  This is not always an ideal world, however, and a small wedding is just not in the cards for these two families. 

The next problem?  Kyle’s family is, like, five times larger than Katharine’s.  For serious.  Kyle’s family also feels strongly about inviting the entire extended clan.  Katharine’s worry?  That her family will feel like guests at the Gibler family reunion.  Another complication?  Katharine’s family is pretty traditional (three cheers for Virginians!), and plans to pay for most of the festivities… festivities that will be large (and expensive!) mainly because of the groom’s extended family.

So her question: Can the available spots on the guest list be split equally between the two sides, or should Kyle’s side be given more slots since it’s larger?  Does the guest list split (or the size of the wedding) depend at all on who’s footing the bill?

Unfortunately, all Ms. Post gives us on the subject is this:

“Traditionally, the guest list was divided equally between the bride’s and groom’s families and friends, but this is no longer considered necessary.  Everyone must keep in mind whose wedding it is.  Certainly the bride and groom will seek input from their families, but it’s up to the couple to make the final choices.  If everyone is willing to be tactful and accommodating, the process should proceed without too much fuss.” (Emily Post’s Etiquette, 17th Edition, page 572)

So what do you think?  Please share!

Have an etiquette conundrum you’d like us to take a stab at?  Email me at emily [at] iloveswmag [dot] com (or click here!). 

emily Written with love by Emily
13 Comments
  1. avatar Meghan reply

    Hi Emily!Just my small opinion on this… If Katherine’s family plans on paying for the wedding, I believe that they should have a say on the guest list. They, in the end, hold the purse strings. Having so many guests will obviously make the events more pricey and probably out of the range of what Katherine would look for in a wedding. Not meaning to be tacky, but Kyle’s family wouldn’t be shelling out the extra money for their multitudes of guests- renting tables, chairs, linens, catering, programs, invites, wedding gifts, etc…it all adds up.They should probably set a cap of how many people their budget can comfortably fit and then discuss/decide who are the most important people to each of them. It’s their day and it’s really their decision who they want to have at their celebration with them no matter what their families tell them.

  2. avatar Larry Hammack reply

    We get asked this question a lot during floral consultations… it is a major concern. Overall considerations must be the budget for guests attending.. since Kyle’s family is so large, Katharine’s concern is valid and should be addressed. Keep the guest list equal and no one will feel they are at a reunion. Politely explain that they must stick to the budget and the budget allows X$ for guests. Another celebration can be held for Kyle’s relatives at another date. Additionally, we recommend that the bride & groom finalize the list together, without parental influence. Typically, the couple should not invite someone from work unless they truly socialize with them; same with family.. if you haven’t seen cousin George for 20 years, don’t invite. It’s time to bring back the time honored tradition of Announcements – they really do the trick. Just remember – an ANNOUNCEMENT is not an invitation.Larry HammackFoxgloves & Ivy Floral Design StudioAtlanta GAhttp://www.foxglovesweddings.com

  3. avatar Abbie reply

    This dilemma is close to my heart, as I dealt with the same situation during my wedding. J and I had decided to invite no more than 85 people and to only invite immediate family and grandparents. My family is somewhat small (I should take that back– my parents have many siblings (a total of 10), but they never expected me to invite them, as we’re not close) and his family is extremely large and close (his parents have 12 siblings). His mother was appalled that we weren’t planning to invite EVERYONE. She even emailed me a spreadsheet with 109 people on it– of just his family. We were paying for the wedding ourselves (with a small contribution from my parents), and I couldn’t imagine inviting all of those people when they totalled more than double our original guest list! I was afraid that my family of how my family would feel when I wasn’t inviting aunts/uncles/cousins from my side. I was also a little worried that my parents would resent the fact that they were giving us money only to fund his family’s attendance. We went back and forth on what we wanted to do and finally decided that we didn’t want to start our new lives together with a shadow of frustration and hurt from his family. BUT– I made him ask his parents to help at least a little bit. I say "made" because he really, really didn’t want to. Then we invited my aunts and uncles, just to ease a bit of tension on my parents’ side once they heard the news. In the end, we had about 40 people from his family and about 12 from mine. Unfortunately, we had to cut back on the number of friends we’d planned to invite, which was frustrating, but it was a way to "make the peace" straight out of the gate with his family. Without them contributing monetarily, we wouldn’t have been able to make it work with the extra guests.So… long story short… think of these points:-Does all of his family live nearby? Will they make the trek? If many won’t, then it might not be worth getting worked up about.-Can your venue hold all of the extra people if they do say yes?-Are his parents willing to contribute at least a little to ease the financial burden that your parents are taking on?-Be prepared for the consequences of either decision and decide which one you’re more willing to live with.In the end, we realized that having so many family members willing to show their support made the day that much more special.

  4. avatar Megan reply

    I actually five minutes ago was wondering this very issue while I was working on my guest list. My family is footing the bill and we need to cut some people and my fiancee’s list is about 20 people longer than mine, so naturally I think they should cut their list :)However, one solution I have heard which seems reasonable is the bride’s family, if footing the bill, can offer whatever number of guests fits within the budget. But if the groom’s family feels so strongly that additional guests should be invited, they can pay for the additional guests. That way they might also think twice about their twice-removed cousins.

  5. avatar Stacy Reeves reply

    If it were me, I would explain to both sets of parents that the budget only allows a certain number of "seats" per family, and allow the parents to choose which members of the family or which family friends they would like to fill those seats with. That way the parents feel as if they’ve had some say in the decision, but the bride and groom aren’t required to oblige their parents’ long, extended guests lists (and, if their parents would like to invite more, they understand that that will require a little contribution to the budget!).

  6. avatar Born to Be Mrs Beever reply

    Wow, I don’t have much time to read the lengthy comments above but I’ll say this about our own guest list. I came up with a list of ALL of our family and friends that I knew we would possibly want invited. It totaled 300 people…way over our budget. And our venue’s reception room can only comfortably hold 200 with a dance floor. So we cut the list to 200.But my list is 2/3 of the total invited and his is only 1/3. Mostly because I have a lot more family and a lot more friends (through church and local community involvement due to my 15 year old daughter). I am paying for the entire wedding for the most part but even if I weren’t, we wouldn’t be splitting the guest list. I simply told him that since my side of the list doubles his side, that if there were important people to him that he forgot to add or wants, then I would be the first to cut from my side of the list. For Katherine and Kyle…I think it’s important to recognize that Kyle’s family is large and therefore, he’ll obviously have a lot more guests than her side probably. But I also think they should come up with a reasonable number for the total guest list and split the percentages accordingly as far as how many guests are on Kyle’s list. If Kyle’s family or guest list starts to go over the budgeted number of guests they can accommodate, then Kyle’s family should consider contributing to the budget to help accommodate the larger number of guests. Hope that helps :)

  7. avatar KEH reply

    This is my current situation. I’d rather have a small wedding, but that wasn’t feasible. His family is massive, mine is a bit more "compact". Since Katherine’s parent’s are paying, I think it’s fair for them to give the number of seats they’re comfortable paying for and letting Katherine and Kyle split those evenly. If Katherine doesn’t use them all, by all means, Kyle can have them but the total shouldn’t exceed the number set by her parents. I wouldn’t even give them the option of paying for their "overage" because that’s not only a slap in Katherine’s family’s face, but it doesn’t address the issue of their wedding turning into a "family reunion" where she’s going to have to be introduced to many of the guests.

  8. avatar Brit reply

    I’m in a similar situation. My family is much much larger than my fiance’s. We aren’t having a small wedding, but the guest list is heavily waited in my direction (probably 60-75% is just my family and close family friends). Both of us are completely okay with it, including my fiance’s parents.This really depends on what the couple wants at the end of the day.

  9. avatar Charity reply

    I understand the etiquette problem with this situation, however it seems that it can be resolved within the bride and groom, and the family’s may not need to be involved at all. The decision ultimately isn’t whether or not to invite the person, the decision is how that person will feel about not being invited and how much that person’s feelings matter to the bride and groom. The day is for the bride and groom~therefore, how they feel about hurt feelings or making everyone happy is the bottom line. : ) Of course, you have to consider the budget….but if you don’t know all of his huge family and he’s only seen them three times….do they all really need to be invited? Sometimes it’s practicality that counts, sometimes it’s sentimentality. These days, etiquette counts, but it’s more flexible than it used to be. There is always a tactful way of mentioning the wedding but not inviting everyone you’ve ever met ; )

  10. avatar Laurel reply

    I had a similar concern when planning my wedding. My family is paying for the entire wedding with no help from my fiance’s family, so we didn’t want to end up with more guests than we could afford to pay for, but we also didn’t want to make my fiance’s family feel like they were restricted in the number of people they could invite. I think we came up with a great solution that has worked out really well! We ended up splitting the guest list into 3rds. Our ideal number was 100 people (this is the number my family could afford to pay for), so each couple (my parents, his parents, and my fiance and I) got to invite 33 people, which my parents would pay for. If anyone wanted to invite more than 33 people, we said that would be fine, but they would need to be willing to pay for each person over the 33 that attended the wedding. I think this was a very fair way to handle the situation and it’s worked out great!

  11. avatar Corin Wallace reply

    Weddings are sticky, right? Part of the "paired" conversations my husband and I had with our parents involved the desired look, feel, budget, and environment we were going for. When in doubt, we focused on the budget we had and did not disclose numbers – rather, offered each side a number of guests they could contribute. If questions were asked, we just said that this was the wedding we wanted, and expressed how excited we were. The groom’s mother offered to pay more for more guests, but we politely declined, saying it was important to have a wedding that reflected our desires for a more intimate setting. (She did sneak in a camcorder – but that’s another story.) I love Stacy’s suggestion – the "seating" idea really worked well with us. Just be transparent, respectful, and VERY VERY paired and supportive of each other. Every one else will see that unified front, and will act accordingly.

  12. avatar Annie reply

    Oh, goodness…I would think you wrote this post about me! Here’s how I think you should ultimately work it. Split the list in half and let his family know up front that they are getting the EXACT number of people you are getting and that number is what fits in your budget. If you feel so inclined, you could offer that they can pay for their additional guests, but that it would include the cost of anything additional. Food, liquor, flowers/centerpieces, favors, invitations, etc. When you tell them it’s a X amount of dollars per person, I think they might stop complaining. (Unless you are marrying a Trump or Vanderbilt and money is no object.)Best of luck when you do get enagaged! And try your hardest to not let it stress you. The guest list will forever be my worst wedding planning memory!

  13. avatar Robin reply

    What about capping it at a relational level? For example, only extend the guest list to Aunts and Uncles or First Cousins and spouses/live in partners. The secret is to figure out among the rounds of relatives where you can truly cut. This way no one gets offended because you made a reasonable cap. If you make it an even number, one side might end up inviting second cousins and the other might not even get out of immediate family leaving the Aunts that were left out of the larger family a bit upset. Yes, this will tend to make one side have a larger guest list but then the B&G can fill in with friends of theirs. We did this for my wedding and stopped at aunts and uncles. This made my half of the guest list considerably larger (my mom is one of 5) but when we explained the cutoff (always blaming space not budget) everyone was fine with it. Don’t forget when you are making a guest list, cut it in at least thirds (if not fourths). The bride and groom should have the people they want and the parents guest list can invite the family. Too many times the guest list is divided in half between the two families and the couple ends up fighting with their parents about inviting a friend over a family member. Be VERY clear with the number allotted to each side or the level of family they are allowed to invite so someone doesn’t overstep their bounds. Even better, ask each set of parents not to extend verbal invitations!!

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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