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Today we’re thrilled to share our tenth anniversary cover editorial, Azalea Romance!

Let me tell you a secret… when it comes to our editorials, we all have favorites! And if you know me at all, you know that this one was destined to always and forever be mine. From the memories we made at the shoot to how stunning it turned out to the way the story intersects with my own, I can’t help it: I’m smitten.

Growing up in Mobile, Alabama I always dreamed I’d be an Azalea Trail Maid — I even dressed up as one for Halloween one year! When Emily shared in one of our early editorial meetings that we were staging an editorial in my hometown AND that it would be inspired by this historic institution, I was thrilled. Throughout the months of planning, we worked to create a modern representation of the colorful dresses and antebellum style the Maids are known for, and I have to say that our bride’s look — the skirt of an Amsale gown combined with a Heidi Elnora lace crop top — was just one of the places where all the pieces came together perfectly.

Shot at the historic Fort Conde Inn, we had so much fun working with fellow Alabama gals Invision Events to bring this sweet story to life!

Thank you so much to our dear friend Anna Shackleford for capturing these joyful photos! See the whole feature in Southern Weddings 10, on newsstands now and in the Southern Weddings Shop!

Happy launch day, y’all!!

My talented friend Brittany Massey made all my Southern girl hair and makeup dreams come true with our model’s fresh and feminine makeup, and our bride’s voluminous waves!

Y’all, when I say these bridesmaids’ dresses were a labor of love, I am not kidding. Emily and I worked for months to find just the perfect combination of color and style to represent the Trail Maids. We even had the darling Mary Kendall from Bella Bridesmaids Mobile bring two of these gowns just a few short hours before we started shooting!

We even had my own mama create a dress patch to honor the sisterhood of the Azalea Trail Maids. It might be one of my personal favorite details!

Y’all, it is legitimately not possible for our real-life husband and wife models to be any cuter! They were so much fun to work with and their love for each other is such a great addition to this feature.

I think bright and poppy florals that Laura from Marked created are such a happy addition to the neutral linens and gold detailing!

Y’all! These two. That dress. I can’t.

Want to see more of this beauty in print? You’re in luck! Our Tenth Anniversary issue is officially on newsstands today! We’ve packed this issue with real weddings from every corner of the South, beautiful love stories, Southern editorials, your favorite wedding vendors, practical wedding planning tips, and insightful marriage advice, and we hope you love her as much as we do! Head to your local bookstore or Target to find her on newsstands, or purchase your copy from the shop so you don’t have to hunt her down! We hope you love her as much as we do!

Planner and Stylist: Invision Events | Photographer: Anna Shackleford | Film Processing: Richard Photo Lab | Venue: The Fort Conde Inn | Portrait Location: Bellingrath Gardens | Florals: Marked | Hair and Makeup: Hair and Makeup by BBM | Desserts: Elisabeth and Butter | Cake: Lush Cakery | Vintage Rentals: Southern Vintage | Chair Rentals: Crush Event Design | Table Linen: Party Tables Linen and Drapery | Custom Napkins and Wine Bag: The French Table | Paper Goods: Holly Hollon for Dixie Design | Croquet Set: Blue Eyed Yonder | Bride’s Gown: “Saylor” by Amsale | Bride’s Topper: “Chloe Crop Top Extended” by Heidi Elnora | Bridesmaid Dresses: “Maggie” in Scarlet Begonias and Summertime by Joanna August and “The Off the Shoulder Gown” in Fuchsia and Azalea by Natalie Deayala from Bella Bridesmaids Mobile | Gloves: David’s Bridal | Parasols: Luna Bazaar | Custom Parasol Painting: Momental Designs | Pearl Bracelets and Necklace: Kiel James Patrick | Pearl Earrings: BHLDN | Hat: ASOS | Ring Box: The Mrs. Box | Groom’s Attire: The Black Tux | Pocket Square: Kaye Hannabuss Textiles

marissa Written with love by Marissa
3 Comments
  1. avatar Shelby S. reply

    I love it! Can’t wait to pick up my copy of V10 this evening after work!!

  2. avatar Courtney reply

    It’s beyond magical! <3

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The best weddings are the ones that let loved ones into the story of your relationship, I think. For two high school sweethearts, what could be more fitting than saying “I do” at their alma mater? Of course, marrying on the football field isn’t the only way to tell the story of your relationship’s beginnings, but as a high school sweetheart myself, I think it’s a pretty sweet one :)

Kristin and I squealed when this styled shoot crossed my desk — it’s just too fun! Hope y’all enjoy, and that it inspires you to inject pieces of your own unique story, whatever it might be, into your wedding day!

We’re grateful to Blue Ribbon Vendor Love Be Photography for sending over these photos!

P.S. This shoot took place where the planner, Courtney, went to high school! So fun!!

Planning, design, and calligraphy: La Belle Vie Weddings | Photography: Love Be Photography | Bride’s gown: Ivory & White Bridal Boutique | Bridesmaid dresses: Bella Bridesmaids | Flowers: Lillie Jane | Menswear: Mr. Burch Formal Wear | Table and chairs: Top Notch Events | Cake: Leisha Bell | Hair stylist: Hannah Holsomback | Makeup: Mandy DeAraujo

Love Be Photography and Ivory & White are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

emily Written with love by Emily
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After “the first time around,” Robert had to work hard to win Brittany back, and after reading their sweet interview below, especially their proposal story, it’s clear that he certainly did. Upon their engagement, these two set out to not only show their love to each other, but also to their friends and family. With a guest list of 650 strong, I’m sure it was hard to make everyone feel welcome, but Brittany and Robert are the kind of couple who could do it! Everyone not only felt welcomed by this darling couple, Brittany also said that after the wedding, people didn’t talk about details or colors–they talked about their love! I can completely see why–it spills right out of these gorgeous photos from Spindle Photography.

I had found a dress I liked while looking with my mom, but since my aunt (also my matron of honor) and my grandmother weren’t with us, we didn’t buy it right away. When we went back to get the dress, my aunt poked around and picked just one other dress off the rack for me to try on. I tried on the dress we came back for, then tried on the dress my aunt picked out, and the dress my aunt picked definitely had the wow factor. It fit like a glove, and suited me, my personality, and the feel of our big day perfectly!

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The guest list. Robert is a youth pastor to a group of around 400-500 kids, and we both went to a smaller college where we had close relationships with a lot of people. We both grew up in Birmingham, went to school and church in Birmingham, and now work in Birmingham. If money grew on trees, we would have just had an open invitation to our wedding.

Our families are both really involved in two Methodist churches in Birmingham, so it was a little hard to decide which church to get married at. Robert and I started attending another Methodist church, Trinity UMC, when he first started interning with the youth department almost five years ago. We really grew into the people we are today while we were attending that church, and we started dating when we started going to Trinity. Robert started working there full-time as the middle school youth pastor while he finished his senior year in college. The people at Trinity watched our relationship grow and helped foster that growth, so we chose to get married there. As for the reception, I had photographed a couple of weddings at Swann Lake Stables, and I was in love with the venue. Robert wanted a reception where people felt comfortable loosening their ties and relaxing, and as soon as he and our families saw Swann Lake, we knew it was perfect for the feel of our wedding.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? From Brittany: I loved the ceremony. The pastor that did our homily had watched us date and grow together over the last four years. He asked Robert and I to write letters about each other and give them to him. He surprised us by incorporating parts of those letters into the ceremony, and it was so special to us. From Robert: The one thing I don’t think I could ever forget was when the church doors opened and Brittany began to walk down the aisle. We had already had our first look, but that was the moment where it all really came together, and for the first time, saying “this is my wife” really hit me.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? I loved having my childhood table and chairs tea set for the kids to sit at. I also LOVED our welcome baskets for our out-of-town guests. My grandmother made kitchen towels to go in the baskets with a cutout of the state of Alabama sewn on them. We are a little obsessed with Birmingham, so it was fun to pick out treats, drinks, and items unique to our city to share with others. I think what made our wedding feel Southern to me though was having so many people we loved talking, dancing, and congratulating Robert and I under the twinkly dance floor lights. It just doesn’t get much better than that.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: My mom is a retired art teacher and my grandmother is a master seamstress and the queen of crafts, so we loved being able to make a lot of details that were special to Robert and I and our families. My favorite details were the drawings and watercolors my mom did of our favorite places in Birmingham. Another favorite detail was the portrait my mom painted of me trying on my wedding dress. She loved doing these so much that she is now starting her own watercolor business!

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? In the end, the little decisions don’t matter. No matter what color the flowers are, what band is playing, what food is served, or where you are, you will still be marrying the love of your life when it’s all said and done, so don’t stress! After our wedding, people didn’t talk about the details or the colors–they talked about our ceremony and our love.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Robert’s family has a long-time family friend, Pam, who has made every birthday, wedding, and family event cake for years. It was a no-brainer that Pam would make the cakes for our big day! The groom’s cake was a family tradition: chocolate peanut butter cake (I wish I could virtually send you a bite of this cake!). The bride’s cake was strawberry with vanilla icing, which was equally good, of course :)

Don’t miss their wedding video by The Film Poets!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We knew each other in middle school and high school, but our paths didn’t cross too much. When the time came to look at colleges, I contacted Robert and some of his friends to ask about what life was like at Birmingham-Southern College. Fast forward a few months, and I was a freshman at BSC, still keeping in touch with these boys. Unfortunately for Robert, I was a little oblivious, and after months of telling friends and family that we were “just friends,” Robert asked me to dinner. We dated for five months, which became known as “the first time around” because one break up, a sad summer apart, and several life lessons learned later, we got back together, and the rest is history!
Tell us about the proposal! After our breakup, I had to “work for it,” as we joke now, to get Brittany back. One of the ways was to show Brittany that I wasn’t just telling her “I love you” because it was convenient or would make seeing each other less awkward. So, almost every day for a month and half, I wrote Brittany a letter. We then decided to continue writing to each other, especially when one of us was out of town. We typically wrote the letters in a journal we share. In March, when Brittany went to Mexico for a mission trip, I decided to write to her, but this time, I wrote about the journey of me picking out a ring, talking to her parents, and finally saying “Today, I asked you to marry me. Look down.” I proposed on April 20 by the lake on Birmingham-Southern’s campus. I gave her the journal and let her read through it, and then popped the big question! She said yes! I gave her a Bible with her new name engraved on it and said a prayer for our future life and marriage together. The best surprise was her reaction afterwards, when our families and a few of her best friends came running up after hiding on the other side of the lake. Brittany’s two best friends are photographers, so the whole experience was captured perfectly.
When did y’all get married? June 14, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 650 at the ceremony and probably 550 or so at the reception
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We had two readings read by two dear friends. The first was Colossians 3:12-17 and the second was Colossians 12:9-18.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My something blue was the ring my parents gave me as a graduation present from high school. My something new was my Kate Spade heels. My something borrowed and something old were two pins from my grandmother. One was a spoon that my grandmother got when she was engaged and picking out her china, since girls used to get a pin of the china and silver that they picked out. The other was a pin that my grandmother’s Aunt Pearl used to wear.
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? Since I know how to use Photoshop, we were able to do a lot of things ourselves. Our wonderful design company, Empress Stationery, gave us our logo to use for many other things we were making for the wedding. I used the logo on the cotton candy bags and the fans that we had at the reception. I designed the wedding programs, bridesmaids luncheon programs, and welcome basket tags myself as well.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? That’s so hard to say! I had an incredible team of vendors, but I have to say, what I was most excited about was the photography and videography. Kelly is not only a mentor, but also a friend and partner in crime, so I couldn’t wait to go through my own wedding day with her capturing and experiencing each moment with me. Robert and I do a lot of video work with his youth ministry, so we looked around a lot before we found The Film Poets. To say we are obsessed with them, is an understatement. We were (and still are) blown away by the brilliant video they created for us.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We’re just excited about living life together, as simple as that is. We have great friends and great family, and we’re happy to have a home to welcome them into after they have housed and hosted us for so long. I had been looking forward to getting a dog, and finally convinced Robert to adopt a dog a couple months after we were married! Just one day after adopting a hound-lab mix, Sadie, Robert and I went back to adopt her brother, Cooper! Now we just love spending nights on our back deck with our two precious puppies, family, and friends.

Photographer: Spindle Photography / Videographer: The Film Poets / Planner: Brittany Lott of Elle Affairs / Ceremony Venue: Trinity United Methodist Church / Reception Venue: Swann Lake Stables / Florist: Lillie’s / Caterer: Shindigs / Rentals: Event Rentals Unlimited / Lighting: Design Productions / Band: 2nd Coming / Watercolors: SArias Creates / Paper Products: Empress Stationery / Bridal Salon and Veil: Diane’s Formal Affair / Bride’s Jewelry and Getaway Shoes: Kate Spade / Hair Stylist: Lynze Prater of Click Salon / Makeup Artist: Lisa Phillips / Bride’s Shoes: Vera Wang / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Joanna August / Bridesmaid Dress Salon: Bella Bridesmaids / Men’s Attire: Men’s Wearhouse

Spindle Photography is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
3 Comments
  1. avatar F. Hays reply

    I am still reliving the wedding. It was my grand daughter’s and it was so meaningful to us. One of the ministers was a long time friend and his part in the service was a treasure. Faith, family and friends are truly what the South is all about and Brittany’s wedding was a showcase for these things. I simply loved being a part of it.

  2. avatar Occasions In Print reply

    Such a sweet wedding! And they sound like a very sweet couple too!

  3. avatar Stacy {Woodsy Weddings} reply

    This was a large wedding that still manages to feel intimate with the warm space of the reception to touches like cotton candy and custom fans for each guest.

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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