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Bride Wenjie shares her Atlanta wedding at the Fernbank Museum of Natural History with us!

Please meet Wenjie, our lovely bride for today! And y’all, I can totally relate to the hardest part of wedding planning for her. She said, “The big choices (venue, caterer, dress, etc.) were easy, but the hundreds of small details were the hardest part about planning.” I can definitely see why their venue was easy! She and her sweet groom Futhum instantly fell in love with the natural lighting, high ceilings, and dinosaurs (!) on their initial tour of Fernbank Museum of Natural History. It provided the unique and one-of-a-kind experience they were hoping to show guests. Another unique experience I’m sure their guests loved? Wenjie and Futhum incorporated their respective Chinese and Eritrean cultures into their wedding day. This even included teaching guests traditional Eritrean wedding dances, something I’m sure won’t be easily forgotten!

Thanks to Elle Golden for sharing Wenjie and Futhum’s sweet Georgia day with us!

Tell us the highlights of finding your wedding dress. I was #asentimentalbride! I loved the process of finding my dress at The Sentimentalist in Atlanta. It is the cutest bridal shop in little white house instead of in a mall or giant shopping center. The staff was super sweet and helpful and they had an amazing selection of designer and vintage dresses. They had a wide array of dresses including a stunning, fully beaded gown. It wasn’t the right dress for our wedding, but it was fun to try on! With the help of the staff and my bridesmaids, I found the perfect Nicole Miller gown on my first visit.

What was the hardest part about planning your wedding? The big choices (venue, caterer, dress, etc.) were easy, but the hundreds of small details were the hardest part about planning. It was difficult to foresee how it would all come together or how one small choice could affect the overall design (an ivory tablecloth vs. a slightly different shade of white). Luckily our wedding planner helped us navigate these options and even made some of the decisions for us.

Did you decide to do a first look? Yes! We wanted to have a private moment to share before all the guests arrived. It also took away some of our nerves and added to our excitement for the ceremony.

Tell us all about the proposal! We have known each other since high school. When the Georgia Aquarium first opened, Futhum bought me and my best friend tickets for Christmas. I thought it was a really thoughtful present, and he thought it was our first date. Luckily we still stayed close friends (and eventually dated). Ten years later, he surprised me with tickets to the aquarium again. This time, he took me on a special tour where we were able to swim with the whale sharks and sting rays. Afterwards, he took me to my favorite restaurant (Makan, where we later had our rehearsal dinner) and proposed!

At the last minute, Futhum asked a groomsmen to bring our dog, Roger, to the venue. He took the best pictures and stole the show!

What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We were originally thinking about having a larger wedding, closer to 300 guests. As we began planning, we agreed that we wanted to invite close family and friends so that when we both look into the crowd during the ceremony we would only see familiar faces. We also invited the Obamas who were not able to attend so we really saved on security costs! They did send a nice card that is now framed in our house.

We did not write our own vows, but our officiant interviewed us and incorporated our responses into the ceremony. I talked to him about how much I appreciate Futhum’s openness to trying new and exotic Chinese foods. We’re pretty sure we had the only wedding ceremony to ever mention chicken feet and stinky tofu. Additionally, my dad wrote us a poem and read it at the ceremony in both Mandarin and English. There definitely was not a dry eye in the house, including Futhum’s, which was the first time I’ve seen him cry in 15 years.

We made sure to include our favorite artists such as Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Prince, and Outkast into our day. After the ceremony, we walked back up the aisle to “Signed, Sealed, Delivered!”

We had a brief private moment after the ceremony while our guests were enjoying cocktail hour. Our caterer brought us champagne and hors d’oeuvres. It was amazing to be able to celebrate our marriage just the two of us and take a deep breath before jumping into the reception.

We knew we wanted to get married in the city of Atlanta and Fernbank Museum of Natural History was one of the first venues that came up in our search. We instantly fell in love with the amazing natural lighting, high ceilings, and dinosaurs on our initial tour. We also knew this would be a unique and one-of-a-kind location and experience.

What advice would you give to someone currently planning a wedding? Hire a planner! It really took the stress out of wedding planning. Even though it is an extra cost, it is well worth it and your planner will help save costs elsewhere. Create the type of wedding that you would want to go to! Remember that it is a day for BOTH of you and include the groom in the planning.

What was your favorite detail from your wedding? While we planned our wedding in a more American tradition, we included small touches from our own cultures (Chinese and Eritrean). Our favors were in Chinese silk pouches and included samples of Chinese green tea and Eritrean coffee which are both very important in our culture. We also played a few Eritrean wedding songs and had a blast teaching all of our guests the traditional dances.

What was Southern about your wedding? It was hot! We did not incorporate many traditional Southern aspects into our wedding, but our wedding definitely demonstrated Southern hospitality. We had guests from literally all over the world from different backgrounds and cultures. We were so happy seeing all of our guests welcoming each other and becoming friends as the night went on.

Tell us your love story in one sentence. “We are all a little weird and life’s a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love”. -Dr. Seuss
When did y’all get married? August 6, 2016.
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 150.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $50,000-$75,000.
What did you serve for your wedding cake or dessert? We served a red velvet wedding cake from Sweet Hut Bakery. Sweet Hut is one of our favorite restaurants, and we love their Asian-style cakes, because the frosting is very light and subtly sweet. I guess our guests enjoyed it too, because it was devoured in a few minutes and we heard people were fighting over seconds.
What was your favorite thing about wedding planning? Our wedding planner! Whitney from Whitewood Events made wedding planning a breeze. We nicknamed her our magical wedding fairy because she made sure everything was perfect and even anticipated our needs. The cake and catering tastings were a favorite too!

Photographer: LeiLani Golden of Elle Golden Photography | Planner: Whitney Downs of Whitewood Events | Venue: Fernbank Museum of Natural History | Florist: Bloomin’ Bouquets | Wedding Cake or Dessert Baker: Sweet Hut Bakery & Cafe | Caterer:  Bold American Events | Lighting and DJ: Nice Entertainment | Paper Products: Oconee Printing | Bride’s Gown: “Janey” by Nicole Miller from The Sentimentalist | Bride’s Hair Accessories/Veil/Jewelry: BHLDN | Hair Stylist: Claudia Verduzco | Makeup Artist: Dominique Doyle of So Chevon | Bride’s Shoes: “Cacique Peep Toe Pumps” by Badgley Mischka | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Kate Lace Maxi Dress” by ASOS | Groom’s Attire: Hugo Boss | Groomsmen Attire: The Black Tux | Groom’s and Groomsmen’s socks: Sock Fancy

marissa Written with love by Marissa
3 Comments
  1. avatar Chef Aaron Butler reply

    The details of your wedding day sound amazing! I bet the wedding cake was amazing too! Red velvet cake is always a crowd pleaser!

  2. avatar Fernbank Museum Wedding | Futhum + Wenjie | Whitewood Events – Atlanta Wedding Photographer – Fine Art Film Photography – Elle Golden Photography reply

    […] and Futhum are featured on Southern Weddings. Here are a couple more quotes from their interview with the SW team. Make sure you pop over […]

  3. avatar Aram Hovsepian reply

    Refreshing and airy. Thank you for sharing!

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One of the greatest joys of my life is that I get to spend 40 hours a week working with women who are smart, talented, sweet, and hilarious. I think everyone on this team can agree that our personal and professional relationships with each other make up a good portion of the reason why we are able to do our jobs well. This makes us particularly excited to announce that we are hiring!

Photo by Ally and Bobby

Founded in 2007, Lara Casey Media is the parent company of the Cultivate What Matters and Southern Weddings brands. Our collective brands serve an online audience of over one million in over 20 countries. You will be joining the team of a growing business that serves to help women cultivate intentional lives.

We are looking for a seasoned, joyful, and dynamic senior designer to add to our team! For each member on our team, the work we do for these brands comes from a place of personal passion and a love for our readers and customers. We’re thrilled to add another designer to our team who can help us kick up our marketing efforts, new projects, and everyday communication a notch.

We love to see our team members take on flexible job roles that both play up their skill strengths, but also fire them up on a personal level. With that being said, we do anticipate our new designer will work very closely with our Art Director and our Marketing Director to produce products and assets that help us better serve our audience.

Are you interested in working with us? Read on to find more details and qualifications.

Tasks and responsibilities may include:

  • Creating graphics for our blogs, shops, social feeds, and video content
  • Styling and shooting product imagery
  • Editing product photography
  • Basic videography
  • Digital product design (e-books, opt-ins, and guides)
  • Physical product design (namely the Cultivate What Matters PowerSheets and Write the Word journals, and Southern Weddings Magazine and Joyful Wedding Planner)
  • Creating internal marketing assets like media kits and one-sheets
  • Creating web assets and managing web development projects
  • Managing production and import of overseas product
  • Ad design and client interfacing
  • Editing CSS and HTML for basic webpages and newsletters

The person most fit for this position:

  • Is a creative problem-solver, and self-motivated to learn
  • Has basic knowledge of HTML, CSS and WordPress
  • Is a great communicator, and can tactfully and efficiently express ideas
  • Has a love for great branding, and can build out appropriate interpretations of our brand assets for visual diversity and interest
  • Has a strong knowledge of our brand and heart for our mission
  • Has a joyful spirit and thrives on “situation solving”
  • Approaches product creation with user-focused design, keeping in mind marketing tactics and print production techniques
  • Has a positive attitude and is a team player
  • Is well-spoken and has a great grasp of grammar and punctuation in written communication
  • Is energetic and enthusiastic
  • Has experience with digital marketing/marketing strategy
  • Enjoys goal-setting and encouraging others
  • Thrives on relationship building and exceeding expectations with charm

Job Requirements

  • Has 3+ years of experience in graphic design, product design, or editorial design
  • Fluent in Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, and Photoshop
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  • Must be able to work in our Chapel Hill office
  • Must be able to commit to 4-5 interviews (including at least one in-person interview)

To apply, fill out our application, and have these items ready to upload:

  • Your PDF resume
  • Your portfolio, if it’s not online
  • A one-sheet PDF you have designed about yourself. Feel free to include anything you think is relevant, but be sure to include answers to the following questions. Get creative!
    • Your name and any nicknames you have
    • What fires you up?
    • What is your greatest strength?
    • Tell us a fun fact about yourself (or a few!)
    • What are your professional goals?

We’d suggest giving yourself 30-45 minutes to complete the application. Applications will close August 14th. Salary commensurate with experience.

We highly recommend reading Lara’s tips for getting hired!

Apply here.

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
1 Comment
  1. avatar joshua wyborn reply

    Passed it onto my sister who is a graphic designer! :)

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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One consistent thread at Southern Weddings is that we want to challenge you to think differently during your engagement – to interrupt any frustrating, paralyzing, negative thoughts and either swoop in with a solution or offer another perspective. Frustrated with a ballooning budget? Let’s talk about what really matters and ways to cut costs. Over the idea of tossing your bouquet? Skip it! We’ve got some other traditions you might like better.

Think premarital prep is a waste of time? Think again, my friends! We consistently hear from the couples we feature on SW how valuable, enlightening, challenging (in a good way!), and FUN the time they spent preparing for their marriage was.

If you’re open to the idea but not sure where to start, let me introduce you to To Have and To Hold by Carla and Byron Weathersbee, executive directors of a retreat center in Texas. (They’re the very couple who walked Chip and Joanna Gaines through pre-marital counseling, and as we all know, if there’s any couple who qualifies for #relationshipgoals, it’s those two!)

To Have and To Hold is a great resource for Christian couples leading up to their vows or in their first few years of marriage. In each of eight sessions (designed to be completed in eight weeks), you’ll work through four simple activities that address some of the issues vital to a healthy, lifelong relationship. Ideally, the sessions are designed for you to work through as a couple and then to meet with a pastor, mentor, or small group of other engaged couples for encouragement.

“Our goal in To Have and To Hold is for the two of you to interact, discuss, and possibly debate the subject matter,” say Byron and Carla. “We believe it is better for you to discuss your thoughts, ideals, fears, and questions rather than simply read the latest resource regarding each issue. We encourage you to color outside the lines and creatively adapt each session to meet your needs as you work through the study book.”

To Have and To Hold can help you:
— Understand the biblical purpose for marriage to establish a foundation that provides stability and oneness in your relationship
— Follow responsible stewardship principles for financial freedom
— Challenge your thinking regarding needs, intimacy, and oneness in marriage
— Grow in spiritual maturity together
— Learn the necessary skills to effectively communicate and manage conflict
— Create healthy expectations for marriage

The To Have and To Hold study book retails for $12.99 and can be purchased online here.

I’d love to hear: did you and your future spouse do any sort of premarital prep? Did you feel like it was helpful? Did it bring up any unexpected issues? Was it fun? :)

This post is sponsored by Lifeway. Thank you for your support of the brands who make Southern Weddings possible!

emily Written with love by Emily
1 Comment
  1. avatar Alaina reply

    FYI- the links to cutting costs and to other traditions aren’t working!

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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