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Southern Weddings

Author: Emily

I am not known around the office as one who tears up often (we leave that to Marissa and Jess), but as Lisa and I were sending drafts of our Mother of the Bride Guide e-book back and forth, I found myself blinking back tears over and over.

The page where we shared 20 of our favorite ways mamas can create wedding season memories with their daughters was a reliable culprit. Blame it on my own baby girl turning one around the time we were editing our guide, or just that the thought of someday doing any one of these things with my precious girl is enough to overwhelm me, but there is undeniably something so bittersweet about the mother-daughter bond.

Wedding planning and the transition to a new chapter of life brings all of those emotions to a head. But friends, don’t be afraid of them! Embrace them for what they are, and let the tears flow as necessary.

In honor of Mother’s Day, here are twenty of our favorite ways for mamas and daughters to create memories during her engagement, whether you live under the same roof or across the country from each other. For more, be sure to pick up your copy of our Mother of the Bride Guide!

My Mom helping me into my wedding gown (photo by Tanja Lippert)

1. Throw the happy couple an engagement party.
2. Write her a sweet, heartfelt letter soon after her engagement to express your joy
and excitement.
3. Turn some of the tougher tasks into fun activities. How about “brunch and the budget
or “seating chart sangria”?
4. Invite her to peruse your jewelry collection for a “something old” or “something borrowed.”
5. Let her try on your wedding dress and/or veil.
6. Flip through your wedding album together and show her anything you may have saved
from your own engagement.
7. Shop for your dresses together.
8. Gift her a family heirloom at her bridal shower.
9. Spend an afternoon teaching her favorite family dishes, and then give her the recipes
(maybe with a special new recipe box or binder—we love the pretty options from Rifle Paper Co., Belle & Union, and Emily Ley!).
10. Go to a pre-wedding workout class together (bonus points for something neither of you
has tried before!).
11. Pray with her about her marriage.
12. Treat her and her fiancé to brunch or dinner, no wedding talk allowed.
13. Scour antique stores and flea markets for unique details together (candlesticks, vintage
china, embroidered handkerchiefs, etc.).
14. Unwind with a mother-daughter spa day or mani-pedi.
15. Watch old home movies while crafting wedding day details or favors.
16. Buy a bottle of the wine that will be served at the wedding to taste-test together.
17. Join her at dress fittings (and try to hold in the tears!).
18. Walk through her venue with her and listen to what she’s dreaming of for each nook
and cranny.
19. Take a class together to learn a new skill (calligraphy, flower crown making, etc.) that you
can put to good use for the wedding.
20. Tag along to help during her bridal portrait session.

emily Written with love by Emily
1 Comment
  1. avatar Michele Butler reply

    Love these suggestions! Very well thought out.

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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As we count down to our tenth anniversary issue this fall (!!!), we wanted to spend this year celebrating not only how far we’ve come as a publication and company, but how much the wedding community in the Southeast has grown and changed alongside us. Today, we are truly blessed to have some of the most talented, kind, professional, and thoughtful vendors in the world beneath the Mason-Dixon Line!

And though we sing their praises every day here on the blog and on social media (and, of course, in our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory and in print!), we thought it would be fun to do something extra-special in this anniversary year. And so, I introduce to you: The Pineys!

The Best of the South Wedding Awards (a.k.a. The Pineys, named after the golden pineapple winners will receive!) is our way to honor the best the Southeastern wedding community has to offer, as voted by y’all! There are 22 categories, including everything from Prettiest Chapel and Best Barn Venue to Best Band and Best Honeymoon Destination.

How will it work? Nominations are open for two weeks, beginning today. Click here to nominate your favorite wedding professionals in each category! And, encourage your friends to vote early and often, because…

The finals: After two weeks, we’ll choose the top vote-getters in each category for a round of finalist voting. Voting will again be open for two weeks, with the top vote-getter in each category bringing home the prize.

Prize, you say? Oh yes! In addition to the aforementioned golden pineapple trophy and the considerable honor of being named best of the best, winners will receive a gift basket filled with some of the best the South has to offer in the goodies category (yum!). Winners will also be celebrated in a special feature in our tenth-anniversary issue, which we’re extremely excited about! We may have a few other tricks up our sleeve, too – y’all will just have to wait and see! :)

Hooray, friends! We think this is not only a super-fun way to celebrate our anniversary year, but to truly help y’all find some of the most talented vendors for your weddings. We can’t wait to see who you nominate!

emily Written with love by Emily
  1. avatar Kristen reply

    East West is as good as it gets! His color theory is truly the best my eyes have ever seen. XO

  2. avatar Jennifer Nieman reply

    So excited and honored to be apart of this years Piney Awards! I’m amongst so many talented people and beautiful places!

  3. avatar Our DJ Rocks reply

    So super pumped about this! Not only are we advocates of the Southern Weddings brands, but also true southern wedding traditions! xoxoxo

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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I remember when John and I first started to think about getting engaged, I was really excited – but also completely overwhelmed.

Excited, of course, because I was inching closer to marrying my best friend! Overwhelmed, because though I’ve been a wedding expert for most of my life, it seems, I was extremely nervous about making such a large purchase when I felt so uneducated on what I was buying (well, what John was buying ;)).

I don’t want anyone else to feel that way, so today, we’ve teamed up with the jewelers at Ritani to offer some engagement ring shopping tips! Whether you’re two months or two years away from getting engaged, I hope you feel more equipped for this big step after reading our Q&A.

P.S. Don’t miss the part about their in-store preview program – such a great opportunity!

Southern Weddings: What do you recommend couples do to prepare before they go ring shopping, if anything?
Ritani: If you’re in the market for a diamond, read up on basic diamond and ring education, including the differences between diamond shapes, the 4 Cs (see below!), and the differences between the most popular ring styles and metals. Before you go shopping, try to narrow down a few basic choices like what diamond shape you like and what style ring. But, know that just as with your wedding dress, you might like a totally different style of ring on your finger than in photos! A Pinterest board can help you gather ideas.

Consider how a certain ring will mesh with your existing style — if you go for a more classic look, try a solitaire or classic setting; if you love vintage-inspired jewelry, explore shapes like cushion, pear, or marquise.

Finally, get a sense for pricing by comparing diamonds and rings on a few different websites. It’s important to remember that diamond shopping is not about finding the “best deal”–rather, you should think about getting the best quality for whatever your budget allows.

SW: How many stores should couples visit when looking for an engagement ring, and how should they decide which stores to go to?
Ritani: We recommend visiting two or three stores in addition to your online research. It makes a big difference to see different types of diamonds in person, as well as try on a few rings. You’ll be able to get a feel for engagement ring styles while also learning about the differences in diamond grades.

If you prefer browsing in-store, plan to visit a handful of independently-owned jewelry stores. Independent jewelers will have more unique designs and be able to design custom rings. Ritani has a network of more than 200 independent retailers throughout the country, so if you need help finding a reputable store, head to to find a certified partner.

That said, companies that offer both an online and in-person experience can provide the best value; you get the selection and pricing of an online store with the value of talking to a professional in-person and seeing the diamond first-hand. Ritani offers a free in-store preview option, which lets customers make sure their rings are perfect before they buy.

With our free in-store preview program, you can pick out your engagement ring and diamond online. Our expert jewelers set the ring (with the diamond you picked and in your size), then send it to a local store for you to see it in person before you decide whether you’d like to buy. If it’s not perfect, there’s no pressure to buy. It’s a great way to test out your investment before “driving it off the lot.”

SW: Tell us about the four C’s and what couples should know about them.
Ritani: The 4 C’s of diamonds are cut, color, clarity and carat weight.

Cut refers to the quality of a diamond’s proportions and symmetry. It is angles which allow a diamond to capture light and reflect it, the key ingredient for sparkle. For a truly brilliant diamond, consider those with grades of Very Good or Ideal.

Color refers to the “whiteness” of a diamond, or its lack of color. The less color in a diamond, the higher the value. The GIA grades diamond color using letters to represent the absence of color, beginning with D (colorless) and ending at Z (light yellow or brown).

Clarity is how clean a diamond is, inside and out. “Flawless” diamonds are perfectly clear and smooth (and extremely rare). “Included” diamonds have noticeable scratches or internal markings that make them look dirty and dull. Clarity is generally a less important characteristic because most imperfections can’t be seen unless under professional magnification. Many customers choose a diamond in the VS2, VS1, VVS2, or VVS1 categories.

Carat weight is a measure of a diamond’s weight, and a reflection of its size. Unlike the other 3 Cs, carat weight is not necessarily a reflection of quality: you can often find diamonds with low carat weight that are more brilliant and sparkling than their larger cousins. For the best value, look at diamonds slightly lighter than the carat weight you initially want. For example, instead of 1-carat diamonds, consider 0.98 and 0.99-carat diamonds. While there is no “perfect” carat weight, the average carat weight sold in most U.S. states is around 1 carat.

For the most sparkle, the most-desired combo is a 1-carat Ideal Cut, Colorless (D), Flawless diamond.

SW: Tell us about the different metal options that couples will be presented with. Are there pros and cons to each?
First, take personal preference into account. Take a look at the jewelry you wear regularly to pick the right metal color. Do you go for classic yellow gold, on-trend rose gold, or timeless silver? From there, consider durability, how sensitive your skin is, and budget. Our most popular metal is 18k white gold.

If you’re really active and work with your hands, you will probably do best with a high-durability (and hypoallergenic!) ring setting like platinum or palladium. Platinum requires very little maintenance and will not need to be replated over time, but it does cost significantly more than other metals. If you don’t do much with your hands and don’t require a super-durable metal, go for a more affordable metal like yellow gold or even sterling silver.

When you’re ready to start browsing for your own heirloom, head over to Ritani’s site. Wishing you all the best in this exciting process! xo

This post is sponsored by Ritani, a company we’ve worked with for years. Thanks for your support of the brands who support Southern Weddings!

emily Written with love by Emily

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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