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Bride Lauren shares her outdoor wedding at Magnolia Plantation and Gardens!

Where are my Bluegrass State gals? Today’s bride, Lauren, and her beau, Paul, are Kentucky natives, and did such a fabulous job of combining their pride in their home state with the beauty of their wedding destination (Charleston – always a good idea!). “‘Family’ and ‘Southern’ have always gone hand in hand for me,” Lauren told us, and by that marker, her wedding was a perfect fit for SW.

From dress shopping with a slew of family members to a ceremony arch built by Paul and his brother to pecan pralines lovingly made by Lauren and her mama, this wedding exudes homespun love and style. I’ll let Lauren tell you more about it, though, so keep reading for all of the details!

Thanks to Blue Ribbon Vendor The Happy Bloom for sharing Lauren and Paul’s day with us!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? We love traveling, so we always planned on doing a destination wedding. We visited Charleston while we were engaged and immediately fell in love with the natural beauty of the Magnolia Plantation and Gardens. The plantation was founded in the 1600s and has so many beautiful and historic details. We held our ceremony on the banks of the Ashley River underneath the live oaks, which were draped in Spanish moss. I can’t imagine a more perfect place for a traditionally Southern wedding!

I’m very family oriented, and I loved dress shopping with my mother, sister, and nieces! We loved seeing all the different styles and had so much fun trying them on. I knew I wanted a lot of lace and embellishments, so finding my Kenneth Winston “Ella Rosa” dress was so exciting. It was simple yet elegant, which is exactly what I wanted, and the dramatic train sealed the deal!

What were some of the most meaningful parts of your ceremony? One of the most special parts of the ceremony was the reading performed by our eleven-year-old niece, Avery. She read ‘I carry your heart with me,’ by e.e. cummings. We practiced together for weeks, and she did so perfectly. I also shared my walk from the bridal suite to the altar with both my stepfather and my father. They have both played such a big role in my life, and I was so happy that I got to include them both.

Did you decide to do a first look? We did. Seeing my husband before the ceremony was so reassuring, and made a world of difference in calming my nerves. It also really helped with our photography timeline and allowed us to enjoy our reception immediately after the ceremony ended!

What was your favorite detail from your wedding? My favorite detail was our arch, which was built by my husband and brother-in-law. We draped the arch with ivory fabric for an elegant look and Lori Denicola from Petaloso attached a beautiful bunch of eucalyptus in the corner. The fact that it was built by my husband made it that more special!

We live in Kentucky and we tried to include details from home in our special day. Our first dance was a song about love and the mountains where we live. We also served bourbon and bourbon pecan pies to tie in our Kentucky bourbon heritage. My mother and I also made homemade pecan pralines to give as favors. Family and “Southern” have always gone hand-in-hand to me!

Our cake was almond flavored and had a simple, white buttercream icing draped in flowers and greenery. We used greenery throughout our wedding to tie in the natural beauty of the gardens on the plantation. Our groom’s cake featured a handmade wooden topper with a kayaking couple that read, “Adventure awaits the Durhams.” My husband loves white water kayaking, so it was very special to him!

Tell us all about the proposal! Two years ago we planned a vacation to Kauai. We love hiking and spending time outdoors, so we spent most of our time exploring the beautiful island. A few days before we left, we hiked out to a cliff overlooking the ocean and the mountains of the Na Pali coastline. Paul set up our camera to “take some pictures,” and when we reached the overlook, he got down on one knee and proposed!
When did y’all get married? May 18, 2017
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 60
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding. For the bridal processional, we used Elvis’s “Can’t Help Falling In Love,” which was performed by our string violin-cello duo. My father is a huge Elvis fan and I always remember him singing Elvis songs throughout the house growing up! For our first dance, we chose “Shake the Frost,” by Tyler Childers. It’s a song by a local artist about love and the beautiful mountains of Kentucky where we live.
What was your favorite thing about wedding planning? Seeing our vision come to life! We planned our wedding from several states away and it was difficult to make all the important planning decisions from a distance, so I was unsure of how everything would turn out. In the end, everything came together so smoothly and perfectly and was far better than I had ever imagined!
What was the hardest part about planning your wedding? Indecision. Charleston has a huge wedding industry and there were so many beautiful options available for everything from rentals to flowers to food!
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $10,000-$25,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We had a very DIY attitude towards our wedding. My husband built our arch at home and we brought it to Charleston with us. My mother and I made homemade favors. I also provided most of the decor myself and was able to find many things on sale or while bargain hunting!
What was your most memorable moment from your wedding day? Our first look was very emotional. I was crying as soon as we reached the area where Paul was! It was so overwhelming to see him for the first time on our wedding day and made all of the hard work and planning so worth it!
What advice would you give to someone currently planning a wedding? You truly can’t do it alone. Our wedding coordinator was invaluable during our rehearsal and ceremony! She made the experience so much more stress-free for me. I would also advise including details that are fun for both them and their guests. We had an open bar, photo booth, and s’mores bar by the fire pit on the patio and our guests really enjoyed these details!

Photographer: The Happy Bloom | Planner: Holly Simpson with A Charleston Event | Ceremony and Reception Venue: The Magnolia Plantation and Gardens | Florist: Petaloso | Wedding Cake or Dessert Baker: Sablee | Caterer: Crazy Dutchman Catering | Rentals: Eventworks | Draping: Pure Luxe Bride | Band or DJ: Becky Lawson | Music: Charleston String Instruments | Paper Products: Minted | Bride’s Gown: BE295 by Ella Rosa | Bride’s Accessories and Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Hair Stylist: Valarie Bishop of The Cutting Edge | Makeup Artist: TeRae Reed | Bridesmaid Dresses: Adrianna Pappell | Groom and Groomsmen Attire: Stafford

The Happy Bloom is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
2 Comments
  1. avatar The Happy Bloom reply

    Thank you for the lovely feature! xoxo! Happy Monday!

  2. avatar Svilen {Svatben Fotograf} reply

    Stunning photos, bright and crisp! Love the detail shots!

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Juicy peaches, ripe tomatoes, crisp cucumbers, sun-warmed berries, abundant zucchini — whether you cultivate a backyard patch or head to the farmers market each weekend, there’s no month like August for fresh produce. Instead of simply trying to gobble up as much as you can in the summer months (though absolutely NO judgment if that’s the route you take!), why not prolong the season by preserving your favorites through pickling, jams, and jellies?

Photo by Eric Kelley from Southern Weddings Volume 5

One of our most popular posts from the last ten years (!) is this simple jam recipe and accompanying printable mason jar labels from Homespun ATL that we originally featured in 2012. Whether you’re looking for a sweet wedding favor or just a fun newlywed weekend activity, we’ve got you covered!

P.S. This jam is meant to be stored in the refrigerator, so you don’t have to get into the nitty-gritty of actual canning. (But feel free to use pretty jars, regardless!)

What you’ll need:
2 pints ripe strawberries (or about 5 cups), hulled and chopped
1/2 cup organic cane sugar
The juice of a whole lemon

What to do:

Bring all of these ingredients to a simmer in a dutch oven. Mascerate the strawberries until you have a bright, sticky, slightly chunky jam. Transfer to sterilized glass jars with tight-fitting lids. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, if you can make it last that long! Those biscuits are calling!

If you are feeling really adventurous, add a drizzle of balsamic and a few cracks of pepper to the jam while it’s cooking.

For the labels:

Download our PDF template here, and print onto regular paper or sticker paper. Cut along the black outline with scissors. If you’re using regular paper or cardstock, place the label on top of a mason jar lid, then screw the metal ring on top of it. Or, punch a hole through the top and hang it around your jar with a bit of twine or ribbon.

If you’re using sticker paper, cut out and place that pretty little label anywhere your heart desires.

emily Written with love by Emily
1 Comment
  1. avatar Kyla Shattuck reply

    This is such a great newlywed idea! Dillon loves fruit, so this would be such a fun way to spend time in our kitchen together and bless him with a treat afterward! :)

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Though most of us have attended several wedding ceremonies by the time we need to plan our own, the basic structure can still be confusing! I distinctly remember worrying that we’d somehow leave some important element out (like the kiss!!) just because we’d somehow overlooked it! Thankfully, our officiant was on hand to make sure everything important was included, and I’m sure yours will be, as well.

Photo by Blue Ribbon Vendor Nancy Ray from Whitney and Cory’s wedding

Depending on whether you’re getting married in a church and/or with the blessing of a certain denomination, you might have more or less latitude in designing your order of ceremony. Here, we’ve outlined the basic elements in a Christian ceremony to get your wheels turning on what might be included and where there are opportunities for customization (and so that you don’t forget anything truly important :)).

Don’t worry too much about how long or short your ceremony is – your guests love you, and if each piece of your ceremony is purposeful, they’ll see that. That being said, be sure to take your guests’ comfort into consideration – don’t make them sit outside in the sun or stand for an hour-long ceremony!

One final tip? Make sure you confirm with your officiant how you two would like to be announced for the first time: as Mr. and Mrs. John Thomas? As Mr. and Mrs. John and Emily Thomas? As John and Emily Thomas? It’s a big moment, and one you want to make sure and get just how you’d like it! :)

Looking for more ceremony tips? We’ve got a whole slew of them in our wedding planner, and I’d also recommend checking out our posts on how to write your own wedding vows and nine of our favorite romantic wedding vows for inspiration!

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

    Love it! Are there any suggestions for music in an outdoor ceremony?

    • avatar Emily reply

      Hi Savannah! I love that idea! We haven’t written that post yet, but I will put it on the calendar :) In the meantime, I think you can’t go wrong with live string versions of modern songs for an outdoor ceremony!

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