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Hi belles! Our friend Stephanie Scholl is the newest gal to take you through her wedding process here on the blog! Stephanie will be blogging for us every two weeks or so until her wedding in April. In case you missed her first post, be sure to check it out here! — Emily

Goodness gracious, as of this week, we are a mere ten weeks away from our wedding day! As much as I feel like the time has absolutely flown by, Rob and I have also been intentional about savoring each moment, thoughtfully making decisions, and trying to stay present during a busy and exciting season of life. Now, all of our big tasks have been checked off, and it’s time to refocus on the small yet meaningful details, finalizing our ceremony, loving on our family and friends, and preparing well to become husband and wife!

One of the most exciting and wonderful days of our engagement was the day we took our engagement photos, which really and truly felt like a pinch-me moment. As silly as it sounds, that blissful, beautiful day was one of the best days of my life! Engagement pictures seem like such a rite of passage, a fun way to kick off the engagement season, and the perfect way to capture love and joy.

Rob and I are not used to being the ones in front of the camera, and I have to admit that I was a little nervous to be our photographers’ main subject (along with Rob, of course!). We selected Ally and Bobby as our wedding photographers for a myriad of reasons, including how comfortable we already were around them. I’ve now learned firsthand how important it is to really get to know your photographers and to get to work with them before your wedding day, and I cannot emphasize just how much FUN we had shooting our engagement pictures!

My engagement session advice to other brides-to-be is this: take advantage of your engagement session to get to know your photographers beforehand, get comfortable in front of the camera, and enjoy getting to snuggle and smooch your fiancé!

One of the other big decisions to make when planning your engagement session is deciding on your outfits! I was debating ordering or renting a long, flowy gown or statement gown for our engagement session, but the more I looked at dresses, the more I realized that this was just not me. Just because others have worn epic gowns does not mean that I need to!

One of the biggest takeaways I learned while planning out our engagement session was that I wanted these images and our day to be completely us. I didn’t want to worry about what others would want us to do or wear, or try to be something we are not! Once I stepped back and realized this, decisions were so much easier. I wanted to choose outfits that, when looking at our images in one year, ten years, and fifty years, we would look back on and still love.

Overall, I wanted to wear classic, timeless clothing in the colors Rob and I tend to gravitate towards the most: white, shades of blue, neutrals, and blush. We love High Cotton Ties, and this navy tie was a great addition to Rob’s dressier look. I’m so happy with how our look came together, but even more importantly, I love seeing how we smile at each other and how our love for one another shines through!

Another aspect of engagement session planning we had to tackle: where to have our session. If you’re puzzling out this question yourself, think about the places that are most meaningful to you and that make sense for the look you’re going for! We chose to have our engagement session on stunning Bald Head Island off the coast of North Carolina, and I cannot imagine a more gorgeous or perfect setting for our engagement pictures – it is like out of a fairytale! It’s only a few hours (and a quick ferry ride) from Raleigh, so Ally, Bobby, Rob, and I made a fun day trip of it. This island holds even more meaning for us now, and we are so grateful that we were blessed with a 70 degree, sunny, beautiful day in November!

I knew that we didn’t want any fancy, elaborate props and wanted to simply focus on images of just us. However, we made one exception, and it’s one of my favorite parts of our engagement session! We had our dear friend Alexa of Sage Paper Co. hand letter this truly stunning verse sign for us. In addition to being a part of our engagement photos, it will be displayed at our wedding, and we’ll have it hanging in our home forever. For us, it’s such a sweet reminder of what’s ultimately the most important part of our wedding and our marriage.

If you have engagement photos lined up, how are you incorporating personal touches to make your session unique to your love story? And if you have already had an engagement session, what is your favorite memory or best advice from the day? I would love to hear!

P.S. In case you missed a post:
The proposal
Venue and photography
The dress
Bridesmaid style

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

    Amazing Blog…Thanks for sharing lovely blog..

  2. avatar julie reply

    Amazing Blog…Thanks for sharing lovely Blog….

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Hi belles! Our friend Stephanie Scholl is the newest gal to take you through her wedding process here on the blog! Stephanie will be blogging for us every two weeks or so until her wedding in April. In case you missed her first post, be sure to check it out here! — Emily

Photo by Jose Villa via Once Wed

Hello, hello! I’m excited to share another installment from our wedding planning journey, especially since we’re right at 100 days til we say “I do”! Our engagement has flown by in the best of ways, and it’s exhilarating (and only a little anxiety-inducing) to think we are three months away from our wedding day.

I’m so pleased to report that I finally made a decision and pulled the trigger on bridesmaid dresses! Choosing the perfect bridesmaid dresses has felt like one of the biggest tasks on my priority list, so I’m especially excited to have come to a decision after much browsing and searching.

Photo by Justine Milton via Style Me Pretty

I feel so unbelievably blessed to have eleven of my closest friends standing by my side on our wedding day. My amazing sister and best friend, Bridgette, is my matron of honor, and then ten of my best friends from college and my time in D.C. round out the group. These incredible, beautiful friends mean so very much to me, and I am honored and grateful that they are in my bridal party! (Rob has eleven groomsmen, and yes, we know we have a very large wedding party – but this is the South, after all!)

Given that I have a large number of bridesmaids, you can imagine that they live all over. Only one of my bridesmaids lives near me in the Triangle, and the rest are spread all over the East Coast and South. I knew that going bridesmaid dress shopping in person wasn’t really an option, and I also knew that I needed to make a decision fairly quickly, given our six month engagement. I wanted to be especially mindful of budgets (especially since I knew I’d be going with a long gown) and body shapes/fit. (I have bridesmaids ranging from 5’2 to 5’11 and one who will be seven months pregnant!)

Photo by Julie Cate via Style Me Pretty

Today, I’m sharing several gorgeous inspiration images I’ve collected that reflect the look I’m envisioning for our wedding. I knew I wanted long gowns for my ladies, and I knew the general color palette. The hunt was on for the perfect shade(s) of dresses in the most flattering, beautiful styles… all at a reasonable price.

As you can tell from the photos I’ve collected, I love long gowns (perfect for a spring garden wedding); mismatched but complementary styles; soft, flowing, romantic gowns; a particular color palette (any guesses on the final color(s)?); and, of course, bouquets with contrasting flowing ribbons!

Photo by Nancy Ray via Southern Weddings

It took a long time and much searching, but I am so thrilled that I finally found exactly what I was looking for! Styles and color have been decided, dresses have been ordered, and now I cannot wait to see my lovely, wonderful bridesmaids looking oh-so-gorgeous on our wedding day! It’ll be the first time I see it all together — eek!

I’d love to hear how the bridesmaid dress journey/decision was for you! Did you run into any obstacles or shift ideas completely? I didn’t expect it to be so hard to find dresses in the exact style and color I was envisioning, but I’m glad we persevered. By the way, when I was younger, I always thought my bridesmaids would wear yellow! :)

P.S. In case you missed a post…
The proposal
Venue and photography
The dress

Nancy Ray is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

emily Written with love by Emily
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    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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    Hi belles! Our friend Stephanie Scholl is the newest gal to take you through her wedding process here on the blog! Stephanie will be blogging for us every two weeks or so until her wedding in April. In case you missed her first post, be sure to check it out here! — Emily

    First of all, I can hardly believe that my and Rob’s wedding day is just over four months away! The last few weeks have flown by, and I know the holiday season is going to make the next several weeks especially exciting and bustling. It’s really sinking in that in just a couple months, Rob is going to be my husband… and that makes me happier than anything! We have researched, talked with, and booked most all of our vendors already, and the big picture items are really coming together. Knowing and envisioning exactly who we’ll be working with on our wedding day, seeing the design of it all come together, and talking through and dreaming up the details to make our day meaningful and so perfectly “us” makes our wedding feel more and more real.

    Photo on left by Jose Villa

    Since we have a shorter engagement, at the very top of my priority list was finding a wedding dress. I’d say that this task was one of the only things that made me question a six-month engagement, as it can often take six months or longer to receive your wedding dress from the designer, not including alterations and fittings. As soon as we got engaged and settled on our venue and date, I knew I didn’t have any time to delay in going dress shopping. And goodness was I excited!! I have to admit that I have dreamed of going wedding dress shopping almost my entire life, and it was surreal to think that it was finally my turn to be the bride! I’ve been in the wedding industry for years, have helped countless friends and clients select a wedding gown, and have browsed many shops and boutiques for editorial shoots, but it was a total “pinch-me” moment knowing that I got to be the one trying on gorgeous gowns – and for our wedding!

    I’ve known for many, many years that I didn’t want a large group at my wedding gown appointment. I have eleven fabulous bridesmaids whom I love dearly, but I’ve always wanted to go dress shopping with just my darling mom and my sister (also my matron of honor!). The three of us are incredibly close. But, since I needed to get dress shopping right away, and since my sister lives in New York City, we decided to make-do with Facetiming her during my first bridal appointment. She was certainly with us in spirit! My mom, however, drove into town the week after our engagement to take me dress shopping; I was ecstatic to finally see her in person, show her my ring, and get shopping.

    Monique Lhuillier dress photo by Ryan Ray via Southern Weddings

    We ended up going to only one boutique in Raleigh, but we went there twice over the course of two weeks. I thought I found “the dress” at our first appointment (the second dress I ever tried on), and was about to place the order when I decided that I wanted to sleep on it. It turns out that I “slept on it” for over a week without giving the dress much thought, other than that it didn’t feel very “me.”

    Two weeks after my first appointment, all of our parents were in town to meet and to celebrate our engagement. My dad was especially insistent that I needed to go try on dresses again that weekend, as I know he knew the pressure of finding a dress and getting it in time for our wedding. This time, I brought my mom and Rob’s mom with me to our appointment. I am so glad I had both moms with me, and it was an incredibly sweet morning with the two of them! The night before our appointment, I couldn’t stop thinking about the very first dress I had tried on two weeks prior. It turns out, that dress was the only dress I tried on at our second appointment, and it was THE dress!!

    Vera Wang gown photo by Tim Will from Rachel and Daniel’s wedding

    As soon as I tried it on again, I literally could not stop beaming! And I mean, beaming. Seeing it and feeling it on me felt so perfect. When we Facetimed my sister to show her again, all four of us were in tears (all happy tears!). It was the perfect bridal moment, something I wasn’t sure I’d ever actually experience, and it was so, so sweet and surreal. We were all so certain that this was the one, and I loved the excitement and happiness felt by three of the most important women in my life! And I felt utterly like a bride and beautiful.

    Photo by Katie Stoops from our Generations Past editorial

    I don’t want to divulge too much about my dress, as I want Rob to be completely and totally surprised on our wedding day! I have also decided, as my sister did for her wedding, not to show anyone my dress or bridal look until our wedding day. I think this is going to be one of the hardest parts about wedding planning (ha!), as I tend to share everything with all of my friends, but I’m determined to keep my dress and its details a complete secret. I can’t wait for that sweet moment when my bridesmaids, and then my dad, and then my groom (eee!) see me for the first time!!

    Monique Lhuillier dress photo by Ryan Ray from Lisa’s wedding!

    Though I’m not revealing anything about the exact gown I settled on, I’ve sprinkled a few of the stunning gowns that I brought along with me for inspiration to our appointment! You can see that I love romantic, feminine gowns with a pop of something unexpected. I’m not generally drawn to strapless gowns, nor do I particularly think mermaid or curve-hugging dresses look great on me. I love beautiful details, am naturally drawn to particular fabrics, and think the dress that I chose is better than I ever imagined. My dress is being custom built (!!!), so it’ll be especially unique, which I adore!

    How was the process of trying on dresses for you, or what are you most looking forward to? I honestly never thought I’d find a dress I was absolutely smitten with and that would fit me perfectly, but the entire process was even more fun and special that I thought it could ever be! I loved feeling like a bride, and I have a feeling I’m going to love it even more come April 1st!

    Past posts:
    The proposal
    Venue + photography

    emily Written with love by Emily
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      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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