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It’s Wednesday, which means it’s time for another Emily Plans a Wedding post! Yippee!

Wayyy back in the cold of January, I told you about some of my favorite flowers, bouquets, and boutonnieres. I also introduced you to our wonderful florist, Blush Floral Design. At the end of the post, I promised to share my ceremony and reception floral and decor inspiration next.

We-e-ell it’s now the end of April, but I’m finally ready to share, so let’s not waste another minute! To recap, I love a lush, garden (but still refined) look in my flowers, and some of my favorite varieties are garden roses, sweet peas, ranunculus, clematis, poppies, camellias, and azaleas. I also love mixing in fruit, like blackberries and crab apples.

For our ceremony, we’re keeping things super simple. Our chapel is absolutely gorgeous, in my opinion, and there’s really no need to dress it up. In fact, we might end up not doing a single thing to it. That decision was in part made by our budget, but mostly, I just don’t think it needs it. If our budget does allow, I would love to do two floral wreaths on the front doors, perhaps like one of these options:

Martha Stewart Weddings and Stacy Able via Style Me Pretty

I would also love to set two small boxwood bushes on the steps of the chapel, just like we did for a Southern Weddings shoot last year. Love the addition of white blooms! We’re looking into the option of renting bushes from a home improvement or garden store to help keep costs down.

Katie Stoops via Southern Weddings (floral by Merriment Events) and via Southern Exposures

After the ceremony, it’s on to cocktail hour! This happy event will take place on a wide porch and the lawn in front of it at our reception site (see this post again for a refresher). Here, we’ll have a few high-top tables decked out in beautiful linen from La Tavola. In fact, the linen we’re using from La Tavola is largely the basis for our color scheme. It’s a little pricy, so we’re using it sparingly, but the color is perfection – so much so, that I’ve been carrying my swatch around with me for the past eight months, so that I can whip it out at a moment’s notice to illustrate a point or judge the color of a potential purchase! Yes, I am slightly ridiculous. Prior to making a decision, I requested several samples, and our linen of choice is the one in the bottom right corner – Tuscany Ocean.

In person, it’s a bit lighter than it looks in this photo – the color is actually somewhere more in between what’s shown here and the top left linen.

I’m not positive, but I think this might be it in action:

Jose Villa via Style Me Pretty and Jonathan Canlas via Snippet & Ink

We’re going to keep things nice and simple at cocktail hour (trusting that guests will be so interested in arriving at the reception site, mingling with each other, and eating delicious food that they won’t notice much else!). We’ll put a few votive candles on each high top, and that’s it! No florals here. We’ll also have our guest book and a limited bar to keep guests interested.

Once cocktail hour is finished, we’ll invite guests into our Sperry tent (yay!). As we discussed before, we’ll be having a mix of different seating options – high-top tables, small rounds, and lounge furniture. Our florist will be putting together lovely small arrangements for the high-tops and round tables, as well as low, longer arrangements for the tables in our lounge areas. Here are a few images that are inspiring me:

From top to bottom: Michael + Anna Costa (flowers by Florette), Poppies & Posies, Virgil Bunao via Southern Weddings, Jodi Miller Photography, Lisa Lefkowitz via Snippet & Ink (flowers by Ariella Chezar), Martha Stewart Weddings

Note that these examples aren’t so much about colors, but more about styles and flowers I enjoy.

One project my family and I have been busy as bees with is collecting silver pieces to house the centerpieces. It’s been a group effort, and I’m happy to say we’re just about finished! (If you’d like the back story on how and where we’re finding these pieces, you can check here, here, and here.) I don’t want the reception to have a vintage look overall, so we’re hunting down clean, stream-lined pieces that are in good shape (i.e. no banged up teapots). Here are a few images that are inspiring me:

Thuss + Farrell, Picotte Weddings, Jessica Claire (flowers by Flowerwild), Steve Steinhardt (flowers by Holly Flora via Inspired By This)

Besides the guest areas, we’ll also have at least one bar and several food tables, and probably a favor and dessert area. Our caterer is exceptionally good at food presentation, so I’m not too worried about adding additional decor to the food tables. I will be creating some signage and other little touches, though (but you knew that already, right?). I’m also considering adding some greenery arrangements to these areas, but I haven’t discussed this yet with my florist, so I’m not sure what the pricing would be. Some inspiration:

Top and right by Adrian Tuazon via 100 Layer Cake, left by Lisa Berry (flowers by Blush Floral Design)

And that’s about that! What do you think? What sorts of flowers will you have at your reception? Are you having any decor at your ceremony?

Up next: Accessories! Shoes, veil, jewelry… fun, fun, fun!

In case you missed a post…
The main characters
Where we’re getting married
I go dress shopping
We choose a photographer
I ponder bridesmaid style
Mini food!
The music
We’re renting a tent!
We discuss bouquets + boutonnieres
We send out our save the dates
I gather hair and makeup inspiration
We talk cake and sweets
I introduce you to our videographer
We create a registry
We buy a tuxedo

emily Written with love by Emily
9 Comments
  1. avatar amanda reply

    Looks fab emily! I have similar taste in flowers and I personally adore greenery as an option to decorate with because it’s less expensive than flowers and sometimes more bang for your buck! You can do a lot with it and it dresses up a space. I cannot wait to see the final product!!

    • avatar Emily reply

      Totally agree! I love greenery for spots where you need a larger arrangement, especially, because it’s so much more cost-effective!

  2. avatar Madi reply

    Loving all of your ideas, Emily! With your combination of high tops, small rounds and lounge, I’m assuming you are not doing assigned seating? We’re still exploring our options with that so I’d love to hear what you’re thinking!

    • avatar Emily reply

      Hi Madi! You are correct – no assigned seating for us! We’re having what I’d term a “strolling small plates” reception. I explained a bit more here: http://iloveswmag.com/2011/11/30/emily-plans-a-wedding-the-food/ Hope that helps!

  3. avatar Tim Duncan reply

    The photos of the floral arrangements are so cute!

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Hello, friends! For the last few months we’ve discussed all things reception, so today, I wanted to share with you a little bit about another part of our wedding planning adventure: our registry!

Setting up our registry was something John and I did way earlier than necessary – back in August, about a month after we got engaged, and 13 months out from our wedding. Why so early, you ask? Well, for some reason, I got the idea in my head that a few of the guests at our engagement party might want to buy us something off our registry. Unsurprisingly, they didn’t, probably because it never would have occurred to most of them that we had already set one up!

Though most of our picks from our first scanning trips have remained favorites, we’ve definitely gone back and tweaked our selections several times over the last few months. I do anticipate a few more tweaks before my bridal shower in June (and then probably a few more before the wedding!), but I feel like I’ve learned enough to offer a few dos and don’ts from my experience thus far.

Do register for fine china, if it makes your heart happy. Once upon a time, it was considered sacrilege not to register for fine china. Now, I feel like the pendulum has swung in the other direction, and couples sometimes feel guilty about registering for porcelain. Some worry it’s too expensive, or that their peers will think they’re old-fashioned, stuffy, or impractical. I say just because your friends can’t figure out when you’ll use your china shouldn’t stop you from asking for it! They’ll figure it out when they arrive at your next dinner party :)

We chose the route of registering for a mix of every day china and fine china. We also chose to mix and match between patterns, and only register for the pieces we think we’ll most use and enjoy. (And yes, I plan to use these pretties! My morning muffin will look darling on those dotted bread and butter plates, don’t you think?) I had some fun playing around with the different pieces on my blog here, if you’re curious to see how everything will fit together!

Do register for your now, and for your later. When I first suggested registering for 12 place settings, John looked at me like I had 12 heads. We both come from large families, though, and Christmas and Easter dinners usually include a minimum of ten relatives. We might not be hosting said dinners now, but we very well might be in a few years.

Don’t feel you have to register for a full set of everything. We didn’t register for a complete set of glassware, since we already have everyday drinking glasses that we love, but we did opt to mix in a few new pieces, like champagne flutes and chardonnay glasses, since we currently own just four wine glasses (and they are very sad-looking, indeed).

Do test things out in person. I adore the flatware we chose. Something that was important to me with flatware was the heft – we wanted something slim and lightweight but with classic styling – and so testing different sets out in person was important to us, and something I’d highly recommend making time for.

Don’t agonize over expensive items. As long as you have a good mix of high and low price points, including a few pricier items is perfectly fine. In fact, I’d say it’s actually a good thing to do, because some guests might like to go in together on a single item. I would note here that it is important to think about the demographics of your guests, because what’s considered a high price point for one guest list could fall into the low price point bracket for another one. Finally, your store’s completion program could provide an incentive to register for more expensive items, even if you don’t expect to receive them as gifts.

For us, this meant registering for a few Le Creuset pieces, even though the prices can be a bit hard to swallow. Since we already own one piece, though, I know how amazing they are to cook with (and clean!!), and the lifetime warranty can’t be beat. I love the idea of receiving wedding gifts that will be a part of our life for years and years, and I think our Le Creuset pieces fall into that category.

Do register at a few different places. We registered at two chains with great websites and locations nationwide, and we also chose to register at Amazon. We like that this combination lets us choose from small and independent retailers, too.

Don’t be afraid to register for non-traditional items. Though I would say the majority of our registry falls into the “traditional” category, we’ve used Amazon’s universal registry feature to ask for some unique items, like a Brahms Mount throw, an insulated picnic basket, fun pillows, seagrass baskets, and even a piece of art. We’re considering adding some camping supplies, too!

There you have it, friends! Our registry in a nutshell. Should you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask! And I’d love to hear if you have any dos and don’ts of your own that you’d add to my list!

In case you missed a post…
The main characters
Where we’re getting married
I go dress shopping
We choose a photographer
I ponder bridesmaid style
Mini food!
The music
We’re renting a tent!
We discuss bouquets + boutonnieres
We send out our save the dates
I gather hair and makeup inspiration
We talk cake and sweets
I introduce you to our videographer

emily Written with love by Emily
3 Comments
  1. avatar Nicole (WeddingScan) reply

    Great idea about registering early! I wished I’d registered sooner. And I like the non-traditional items idea. We registered for a DVD player (may or may not be traditional) but came in handy. Your friends just want to give you stuff you’ll like, no matter if it’s traditional or not. Several registries are good, but with the WeddingScan app, you can register for any product anywhere and have one combined registry.

  2. avatar One of Our Brides… Meet Emily Ayer | a jubilee event :: wedding inspiration for the jubilant bride reply

    […] I gather hair and makeup inspiration We talk cake and sweets I introduce you to our videographer We create a registry We buy a […]

  3. avatar Emily Plans a Wedding: Engagement Photos! – Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] I gather hair and makeup inspiration We talk cake and sweets I introduce you to our videographer We create a registry We buy a tuxedo We style a reception I choose accessories Nancy Ray is a fabulous member of our […]

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Six years ago, this blog didn’t exist, the magazine was just an idea in my head and I was living in Pensacola, Florida, planning weddings and training people at the gym a few days a week. One fine day, a tall handsome Navy gent glanced at me while doing squats on the Smith machine (which admittedly I thought was like cheating sissy squats at the time!) and the rest is history. We eloped to Vegas after just five months of dating. (And yes, the only thing I wish we would have done differently is hire a professional photographer…)

Here I sit, six years later, with a team of ladies to do great work with – work that fires me up! – and a magazine and blog that mean something and a cooing happy baby next to me and a husband who loves me deeply. We are not the same people we were when we first met that day in the gym. I am so grateful for what these six years have brought. I’m so grateful for the big risks and leaps of faith and all the amazing wonderful encouraging friends I’ve met along the way. If I was to write a letter to myself six years ago, I would simply say, “The best is yet to come! Do what matters and forget the rest.” Ari and I have certainly learned a lot about marriage since our tiny wedding in Vegas. The little chapel where we had our ceremony gave us a list of “Marriage Rules” as we left and little did we know how true some of them would be today. Ari and I adapted those rules a little bit and are happy to share our version here:

We’re celebrating today by having a picnic in the park by our house with Grace. The North Carolina flowers are almost in full bloom and the air feels finer than a frog’s hair split four ways! We’re celebrating YOU today, too. What I love most about what we do at Southern Weddings is encouraging couples to focus in what matters. Your wedding is one important day that marks the beginning of the good stuff. Marriage wins! Wishing you all blessed marriages ahead. The best is truly yet to come! Love, Lara (and Gracie who had a blast at the SW Yard Sale yesterday!)

lara Written with love by Lara Casey
9 Comments
  1. avatar Wedding Invitations reply

    I just sent this to my fiance :D hahaha! Awesome post as always!

  2. avatar Frank Myers :: Raleigh Wedding Photographer reply

    Having been happily married for 21 years, I think these are all pretty darn good. In our photobooth this past weekend Elizabeth asked the parents to write a piece of advice starting with the word remember to the their daughter and new son-in-law. They wrote “remember to talk to each other, not matter what!”

  3. avatar Kristin Wilson reply

    Lara,

    Thank you for sharing this, both your personal side of it and the 10 rules for a happy marriage! Your magazine/business is fantastic and you should be very proud of yourself for a continuing job well done. From one Pensacol-ian to another, keep up the great work!! (and ps – your baby girl is so stinkin’ cute!! :) )

    Kristin

  4. avatar Amy Arrington Photography reply

    Lara, the picture of your Gracie wearing the sunglasses just laughing and smiling at you might be the cutest picture that I’ve ever seen! So sweet!

  5. avatar Tina reply

    I love you rules for a happy marriage. My husband and I have been married 41 years. He was twenty one and I was eighteen. We met and were married within seven months. Anyone who says it won’t last when you are only together for that long prior to getting married are wrong. We know how to compromise, love, laugh and fail together and we know that things will always get better. You need to be friends as well as lovers. He is my best friend. You need to help each other and not keep score. Love makes everything possible. Great website…Congratulations and always dream together.

  6. avatar Dallas Wedding and Event Planner – Ebony Peoples Events & Design » Blog Archive » 10 Rules for a Happy Marriage! reply

    […] Happy Thursday!  Today I’d like to share a few words of wisdom for all of my married friends and those preparing to jump the broom!  We could all use a refresher from time to time.  Check out these 10 Rules for a Happy Marriage Courtesy of Southern Weddings: […]

  7. avatar Dallas Wedding and Event Planner — 10 Rules for a Happy Marriage! reply

    […] Happy Thursday!  Today I’d like to share a few words of wisdom for all of my married friends and those preparing to jump the broom!  We could all use a refresher from time to time.  Check out these 10 Rules for a Happy Marriage courtesy of Southern Weddings: […]

  8. avatar Brisbane Wedding Stationery reply

    I got so inspired with your 10 Rules for a Happy Marriage I decided to share it on Facebook. BTW, you got a really adorable girl!

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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