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Bride Hayley’s blackberry-inspired wedding at The Oaks Plantation.

Y’all, I’m thrilled for you to meet today’s bride, Hayley! Though she and Dillon are both Auburn alum, they did get married at the same venue where my own sweet sister-in-law (who went to Alabama) did, so I can’t help but adore them! Of course, The Oaks Plantation is a perfectly Southern spot (I can attest to this myself!) with beauty hidden in every nook and cranny, but I extra adore Hayley and Dillon’s attentiveness to their guests. She says, “we wanted our family and friends to feel welcome and loved and to sense that we considered them during all of our planning!” Based strictly on the big smiles beaming from their bridal party, I think they accomplished that and then some. Be sure to keep reading because you don’t want to miss Hayley’s favorite wedding detail (hint: her daddy made them)!

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My something old was a monogrammed locket on my bouquet. My something new were my ExVoto Vintage earrings. My something borrowed was a handkerchief from my mother-in-law, and my something blue were the silk ribbons from Silk and Willow and Frou Frou Chic!

Describe your wedding flowers. My flowers were FABULOUS! They were created and designed by the amazing Lisa Thorne of Thorne and Thistle. She allowed me to travel with her to pick them out, and we focused on incorporating colors to complement the blackberry scheme I used. Our signature flower was a cafe au lait dahlia, such a breathtaking bloom. We incorporated some of the deep blackberry with fritillaria, freesia, and scabiosa, some lighter purple with lilac, and the blue with delphinium. I obsessed over the greenery involved as well and wanted a deep emerald green surrounding my colors.

Tell us the highlights of finding your wedding dress. I thought that it was a myth that I would “just know” when I put on the right one. It’s actually SO TRUE! I found myself making excuses for each dress, thinking each one could work, but they weren’t perfect. Then I went to J. Andrews Bridal in Peachtree City, GA, and tried on so many dresses there as well. When I put on “my dress” toward the end of my appointment, I knew. It was, and still is, GORGEOUS! It fit like a glove, made me feel beautiful, and I wanted Dillon to see me wearing it right that second!

Each bouquet was tied off with a combination of Silk and Willow and Frou Frou Chic silk ribbon in the shades of the groomsmens’ suits and bridesmaids’ dresses.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? I had a hard time choosing where to hold our wedding. The moment we arrived at The Oaks and saw the long, oak-lined drive, I just knew. It was perfect! I wanted the wedding to be at a beautiful, intimate place with both the ceremony and reception easily transitioning from one to the other.

What was your favorite detail from your wedding? Oh, there were so many! If I had to pick, I would say the ceremony benches my dad built by hand for the wedding are my favorite. We decided at the last minute that we wanted to have benches at the front of the aisle, and he was more than happy to help! I designed the look and helped him draw out the shapes of the sides, and then, while my dad was at work, my sisters and I painted them. It was such hard work, but we came together as a family to put them together and finish them. They looked absolutely stunning under the oak!

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We put so much thought into our song choices. My (now) husband is an incredible musician and LOVES music. He picked the song I walked down the aisle to, and boy did he pick a good one! While a violin and guitar played “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty” by Christy Nockels, a family friend sang. We timed the verses to where I would walk down the aisle to the “Alleluia” chorus.

I knew the day would be long, and I didn’t want to spend the entire day hidden away from our family and friends. We put our main focus on the comfort of everyone present, so we knew that doing a first look would make the atmosphere more carefree and take a lot of the pressure off! It was so great doing a first look – we were able to hang out as a huge wedding party ALL DAY and just talk, laugh, cry, and take so many fun, candid shots.

What was Southern about your wedding? Oh this is my favorite part! My husband and I have lived in the South our whole lives, and we wanted to make our wedding uniquely representative of us. Of course, living in the South, there are bound to be some Southern details that must be included. The color scheme centered around blackberries and the many colors they turn throughout their growth. The muted blue, green, marsala, and deep purple were all meant to reflect this. I grew up picking wild blackberries (my favorite!) down from my house in southern Alabama, making this a fun memory to incorporate.

Tell us your love story. I met my husband the first day of our junior year of high school. We really thought nothing of each other for a while; we only had one class together, and our paths crossed every now and then during our show choir performances. It wasn’t until we were selected to emcee a dinner theater together that we each developed secret crushes on each other. Three months later, we were dating and practically inseparable! We knew after 8 months together that we would get married as soon as we finished college, and that we did!

What did you serve for your wedding cake or dessert? The cakes were both made by Peggy McKinney of Montgomery, Alabama, and I designed them both! I knew the bride’s cake just HAD to have blackberry incorporated somehow, so I asked Mrs. McKinney to “paint” the cake with blackberry juice, to give it a watercolor look. She also added a blackberry cream cheese filling – it was divine! The groom’s cake is representative of Dillon, 100%. Mrs. McKinney is famous for her peanut butter chocolate cake, and, since Dillon LOVES peanut butter, we had to have that cake!

Tell us all about the proposal! Dillon happened to be living in Savannah, GA, at the time he decided to propose. I planned a trip to visit him with four of our good friends, and we were all spending time in the city while he was working (or so I thought!). As we walked through Forsyth Park downtown, my friends began acting so strangely, walking behind me, stealing my coffee, and just smiling at me in a weird way. I suspected nothing! I happened to spot Dillon up ahead, but of course I was the last one to do so. I excitedly ran to meet him, while everyone else stayed behind. I thought it was so strange that none of them wanted to go and say “hi!” Then, it hit me. “NO!” “WAIT, right now?” “Are you sure, right now?” I was so shocked, I didn’t know how to be a normal human in that moment. Dillon got down on one knee and said the most beautiful things to me, promising me forever. We cried and hugged and hugged our friends, then went to a surprise brunch with our families and friends who had driven to be there with us!
When did y’all get married? May 14, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 220
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Dillon and I attended pre-marital counseling with the pastor who would eventually marry us. We had a wonderful time learning more about each other, because, even after five years, there is always more to discover! We learned more about our individual weaknesses and how those will affect our marriage, as well as how to humble ourselves to work through them. It was an awesome experience: I highly recommend pre-marital counseling!
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? I really looked for pieces I wanted to incorporate into our wedding, waiting for the best opportunities. I bought my shoes from Anthropologie on Black Friday, which was an incredible deal! We also ended up buying other things during promotions and deals, which did cut some of the cost.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? I actually had two I couldn’t have lived without! Our photographer, Taylor, was so kind and just FUN to work with! She also shot our engagement photos, and traveled all the way to Savannah, Georgia, just to shoot at the locations we wanted! Her style is gorgeous, exactly what we envisioned! She captured my style and the little details I worked so hard on perfectly. Also, our florist, Lisa, helped me from day one! She immediately picked up on my style and what I liked and began helping put together a gorgeous event! She is always full of unique, beautiful ideas, which was exactly what I needed! She also took full advantage of my talents and helped me to create beautiful paper goods, painted signage, and more for the wedding!
What was your most memorable moment from your wedding day? Dillon is a musician, but, since we’ve been in college for awhile, he hasn’t had the opportunity to perform in several years. Unbeknownst to many of the guests and a lot of our family, he planned several songs to perform with the band at the reception! He began by singing “The Way You Look Tonight” and “My Girl” to a roaring crowd, dancing and laughing the whole time! It made the day that much sweeter that he was able to do what he loves on such a special day. He closed the night with the band with “Piano Man,” one of his all-time favorites. Many of our friends had never heard him sing, since it was something he did more in high school, so it was so fun to see their reactions to his talent!
What advice would you give to someone currently planning a wedding? START EARLY!!!!! Contact those you want on your vendor list the week you get engaged! It was so hard for me to figure out who I wanted to hire and then to actually hire them, simply because I had never planned a wedding before. Make sure you’re reaching out, even if you think that person whose style you’re in love with “might be booked or too expensive.” You never know! We also opened a separate credit card strictly for the wedding and connected it to a PayPal account. It made everything so easy!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are currently both still in graduate school at Auburn University. When we graduate in less than a year, (Dillon in mechanical engineering and me in speech-language pathology), we will be moving to the beautiful Savannah, Georgia! We can’t wait to start a home there and see where life takes us!
Is there anything else you’d like to share about your wedding? YES! One of my favorite parts of the wedding was the tea party my bridesmaids and I had while getting ready! I am both a calligrapher and potter, and I made a custom tea set for the occasion. The tea tumblers used were part of the bridesmaids’ gifts, and I wanted us to be able to relax and enjoy some tea while spending some quality time together! I highly recommend incorporating a relaxing element to every wedding day!

Photographer: Taylor Dane Photography | Videographer: Collective Memories Video | Planner: Thorne and Thistle | Ceremony Venue: The Oaks Plantation | Reception Venue: The Oaks Plantation | Florist: Thorne and Thistle | Wedding Cake or Dessert Baker: Peggy McKinney Cakes | Caterer: Jennie Weller Catering | Rentals: Brendle Rentals | Band or DJ: Route 66 | Pottery: Redd Artistry | Guestbook: Velvet Raptor | Ring Box: The Mrs. Box | Silk: Silk and Willow and Frou Frou Chic | Paper Products: Redd Artistry | Logo: Laura McCarty | Bride’s Gown: Casablanca Bridal | Bride’s Earrings: ExVoto Vintage | Makeup Artist: the bride and bridesmaids! | Bride’s Shoes: Anthropologie | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Hayley Paige Occasions | Rompers: Old Navy | Groom’s and Groomsmen’s Attire: Belk | Getaway Carriage: Capitol City Carriages

marissa Written with love by Marissa
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One of the moments we dream about most as engaged gals is finding the dress! But like most wedding planning to dos, your shopping excursions are likely to go more smoothly with a little preparation. Last week, I shared a glossary of bridal designers to help you decide which shops may carry your dream dress. But once you’ve decided where you’re going, the next question is, who’s going with you?

Photo by Ryan Ray from Ellen and Richard’s wedding

Bridal appointments can be one of the sweetest highlights of the wedding planning process, which also makes them a great opportunity to invite loved ones to be part of the fun. As we shared on the pages of our Joyful Wedding Planner, though, the personalities of your companions is key. Choosing a dress can sometimes be a difficult decision, and you only want people there who are supportive and will put your vision first.

Other than that, there are about as many potential shopping crews as there are dresses! It’s ultimately a very personal decision, and the makeup can range from mom only to the entire bridal party, grandparents, cousins, future in-laws, and even dad and sometimes the groom! To help you decide who will make up your entourage, we asked a few of our friends to share their dress-shopping stories!

Photo by Blue Ribbon Vendor Chris Isham from Anna and Nathan’s wedding

I brought my mom and my mother-in-law with me to my bridal salon appointment. I felt that having a large entourage would get overwhelming, and I would run the risk of not getting to express my own opinion. My mom was two years into her diagnosis with brain cancer at the time that I got engaged, so I was trying my best to create joyful experiences for us to share together during that exciting time. My mom was the person who picked my dress, and when she saw it on me she started crying, I started crying, and we both knew it was the one. It was so special to share that joyful moment with her during such a trying time.
— Adrienne Rolon of Heart’s Content Events and Design, @heartscontentevents

I brought the two people who can’t help but be honest to a girl: her mama and her little sister! My sister had recently gotten married, and is the funnier, feistier version of me, so I knew she wouldn’t hold back in stating her opinion … ha! Also, I wholeheartedly recommend the ponytail holder trick: I tied my hair up for each gown to see what it’d REALLY look like, and in retrospect, I wished I’d fluffed it up with a little more aerosol hairspray and made a pretty messy bun for that Saturday. My gym-style quick top knot was helpful enough, but I learned it’s certainly tough to envision your wedding day look without your hair in a similar fashion to your wedding day. I also put on a bit more make-up so I didn’t look like I’d just woken up, which helped, too!
— Ashlyn Carter of Ashlyn Writes, @ashlynscarter (See Ashlyn’s wedding!)

The first time I tried on wedding dresses, I brought both of my parents and my grandparents. It was more of a “fun” appointment, where I tried on a bunch of different styles so I could get a feel for what I liked. Very quickly, I realized that everyone seemed to have an opinion and I knew that I wanted the next appointment to be different, so I decided to bring only my mom with me. It’s really true when they say, “when you know, you’ll know.” I remember my mom saying through her tears, “Tell me all the reasons that you love it,” and I did. Standing there in the dress that I knew I would walk down the aisle in, I listed off all the reasons that I loved it out loud and that was all that I needed. Don’t let other people’s opinions take over your own!
— Callie Davis of Call Me Callie and Nancy Ray Photography, @calliepittsdavis (See Callie’s wedding!)

I took my mom and my best friend, Jill! My mom was a no-brainer because I value her opinion and wanted her to love my dress as well. She knows what looks best on me. My best friend was fabulous moral support, and she has great style! Definitely don’t feel pressured to take a lot of people along with you (including mother-in-law). You want to feel 100% comfortable walking out in different dresses (some will flatter you and some will not). Sometimes too many opinions can just confuse you when you should be focusing on what it is you want rather than Aunt Martha or whoever!
— Courtney Whitmore of Pizzazzerie, @pizzazzerie (See Courtney’s wedding inspiration!)

During my first round of bridal appointments, it was just me and my mom! Then, she and my little sister came back to visit one weekend and we had our second round – which is when I found my dress! I grew up watching “Say Yes to the Dress” and had watched brides have their appointments with just family or with a big group of loved ones. While it would have been fun to have friends and other family members around, I loved how intimate it was to just have that moment shared between the three of us. Plus, I can be fairly indecisive about personal decisions, so keeping these appointments intimate was a great way to avoid too much input and truly go with the dress I loved best! Oh, and I made sure to call my grandma from the salon right after finding the one – she had to be included too even though she wasn’t physically there with us!
— Jessica Peddicord of Simply Jessica Marie, @simplyjessicamarie (See Jessica’s wedding!)

If you love this advice, you’ll love the bestselling Joyful Wedding Planner! Pick yours up in our shop today.

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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For Southern Weddings V9, we asked a few of our wisest, most creative, and just plain fun friends how they celebrate their anniversaries. From simple takeout dinners served on wedding china, to trips back to honeymoon destinations, and everything in between, their ideas spanned every timeframe, budget, and tradition we can think of. Whether you’ll be celebrating your first anniversary or your fifteenth this year, we hope these ideas inspire you–we’ll be sharing a new one each Sunday!

Jen Dillender

We try to plan a trip each year. Whether it’s somewhere crazy exciting (we went to St. Kitts for our first anniversary and Paris for our seventh!) or just a weekend getaway to Palm Springs, we go somewhere new and fun to celebrate us. And now, a few years on, we love bringing our two kids along and taking time to celebrate our family.
– Jen Campbell of Green Wedding Shoes, married 8 years

Written with love by Southern Weddings
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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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