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It is sweet enough to know that Erin and Stephen are high school sweethearts, married in a small Georgia town just as spring began to turn into summer, but knowing how much love and thought they put into their wedding makes it all the better. As Erin said, “My number one goal of the wedding was to get married–-anything else would be a bonus! My second goal, however, was to make sure that each and every one of our guests felt appreciated and important.” From the personal, handwritten notes Erin and Stephen wrote to each of their guests, to the family-style meal that was served, we can only imagine how honored each guest felt to be a part of this special day. We were certainly honored to share it in V6!

Big SW hugs to Blue Ribbon Vendor Jeremy Harwell, of Harwell Photography, for sharing Erin and Stephen’s beautiful wedding with us!

We both enrolled in a program that allowed us to take college classes full-time while still in high school, and we met during the college orientation events leading up to the first week of classes. The first event was a meteor shower viewing, where we gazed at the stars until 2 a.m. and hit it off talking about everything from our favorite music and books to our life ambitions. After six years, we still haven’t run out of things to talk about.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. What was your favorite thing about it? I have always loved Grace Kelly’s wedding gown, so when I saw a similar-looking dress in the window, I had to try it on. It was perfect–it didn’t even need any alterations! I guess it was meant to be.

Tell us a bit about the wedding ceremony. What part was most special to you? We were so grateful that a longtime friend and minister was able to officiate our wedding. It made the ceremony that much more personalized and heartfelt. The most special part of our ceremony was taking communion together; it was the perfect way to begin our life as a married couple.
Were there any family traditions you included in the ceremony? My parents had displayed a hand-blown glass dove at their wedding in remembrance my dad’s deceased father. We displayed the same dove during our ceremony to remember him and other family members who have passed away.

Did you have a cocktail hour? If so, what was it like? Yes! We had a wonderful cocktail hour. Immediately after we exited the church, a bluegrass band that was waiting outside began to play. As the guests exited the church, the band strolled down the street playing music and leading our guests to the party! Once at the venue, our guests enjoyed pimento cheese and other local cheeses from Sweet Grass Dairy.

I was lucky enough to get to pick the recipes I wanted to use for the menu, which were simple and delicious! We had all the dishes in big bowls on the table so guests could serve themselves and eat in a fun and relaxed atmosphere.

Groom’s favorite detail of the wedding: From Stephen: The whiskey bar was a really cool touch. The bartender was super friendly and knowledgeable, and he served small tastings so people could try several different whiskeys. Erin’s mom also made an amazing light fixture out of vintage olive baskets that we used above the bar.

What was your reception like? Our reception was in the backyard of the Bed and Breakfast on a grassy lawn next to a beautiful red barn. Trees surrounded the eating area, but the center of the dance floor was completely open to the night sky. We wrote handwritten letters to each of our guests, which also served as escort cards for each guest to find their seat. We had a mix of round tables and long farm tables. The tables surrounded the dance floor, where Goodwin Tents and Events had draped strings of cafe lights to illuminate the reception area. To the side of the dance floor, we had two bars: a “girls” martini bar and a “guys” whiskey-tasting bar! The reception was magical to say the least. I couldn’t believe all that Amy Osaba and our other vendors had done to make the space so breathtaking!

All of the design inspiration for the reception started with my dress! I wanted our reception to have an “organic elegance” to it. Amy Osaba really helped this elegance come to life by pairing silver vases with floral arrangements that looked handpicked from the garden. In terms of color, we used a lot of whites, greens, and gray, but we also included some pops of pink– a very fun and creative touch on Amy’s part!

What was the most memorable or touching moment about your wedding day? Besides getting to marry the man of my dreams, the best part of the wedding was being completely surrounded by the people who love and support us. It was such an overwhelming feeling walking down the aisle and seeing all of the family and friends who had traveled so far to celebrate our wedding. That love and energy was truly amazing.

Tell us about a date you’ll always remember. It was our second date–I was sixteen and had never dated anyone before. He was seventeen, and I thought he was the funniest, smartest, most handsome guy I had ever met. Naturally, I was very nervous. We had a picnic by the Chattahoochee River. He couldn’t have timed the date more perfectly–the sun was setting, the water looked gorgeous, and the crisp fall air had begun to settle in. We finished our dinner, and as the conversation drew quiet, he asked me if I wanted to be his girlfriend. After I said “yes,” he went in for the much-awaited kiss. Our lips barely touched and I burst into tears out of sheer nervousness. Thankfully, he was unfazed, and after calming me down, we got to work “practicing” our kissing skills!
Describe the proposal: I knew we were going to get engaged that winter break, which made it hard for him to surprise me, but he still did! He picked a day full of family events so that I wouldn’t expect it–we had my little brother’s wrestling meet during the day and a family dinner party that night. I arrived home from the wrestling meet to find the house normal as ever, but in my room was a note to get ready for a special night for two. When I had finished getting ready, I opened my door to find the house transformed, with rose petals, candles, and hand-written notes lining the hallway and a beautifully set dinner for two in front of the fireplace. Hands shaking, he got down on one knee. Of course, I said yes!
Tell us about your beautiful engagement ring and how/why your husband (or the two of you!) chose it: My grandmother (who passed away April 2012) left me a beautiful diamond to incorporate in my engagement band. We wanted something that would accentuate the stone’s natural beauty in a classic but unique way. We chose a stunning J.B Star setting that frames the center stone with two pear diamonds.
How many guests attended your wedding? About 175
How did you spend the morning or afternoon before your ceremony? The guys spent their morning relaxing and then went to get old-fashioned, straight-razor shaves! All of the bridal party spent the night before the wedding at the Bed and Breakfast, and the morning of the wedding, we all excitedly strolled to downtown Senoia for a delicious breakfast!
Who was one of the most special guests at your wedding? Whenever I spoke with a wedding vendor, I always told them my number one goal of the wedding was to get married–anything else would be a bonus! My second goal, however, was to make sure that each and every one of our guests felt appreciated and important. In that sense, I would say that each guest was very special to us.
Tell us a bit about your first dance. We danced to “You and Me” by Dave Matthews Band. It’s a really sweet song about following each other to the end of the world and being able to do anything together.
What was the funniest moment? What was the scariest? I’d say the funniest moment would be the bouquet toss. In mid-air, the bouquet hit the lights strung over the dance floor, but that didn’t stop one bridesmaid and a good friend from literally diving onto the floor to get to the fallen flowers before anyone else. There were actually two points during the reception where the power went out completely, but that didn’t stop anyone from continuing to party.
Did you take a honeymoon? If so, where? We were very excited to have some stress-free time to ourselves after the wedding. We honeymooned on Peter Island, a small resort island in the British Virgin Islands. It was relaxing and isolated and serene.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? We are adapting to life in New York City and are enjoying its vibrancy, but we plan to eventually return to the South to settle down and start a family. In the more near future, the things we look forward to most are the simple things, like getting to have breakfast together every morning and taking long walks through Central Park.

Photographer: Harwell Photography / Floral and event design: Amy Osaba Events / Ceremony venue: Senoia United Methodist Church / Reception venue: Veranda Historic Bed and Breakfast Inn / Ceremony coordination and reception food design: Kathy Black / Bride’s dress: Sassi Holford / Bridal salon: Fabulous Frocks of Atlanta / Bride’s accessories: Haute Bride / Bridesmaid dresses: Alfred Sung / Mother of the Bride dress: Mon Cheri / Bridesmaid Dress Salon: J. Andrews Bridal / Alterations: Betty Harrah / Hair and nails: Ici Paris Day Spa and Salon / Makeup: Katie Gant / Cocktail hour band: Sourwood Honey / Cocktail hour appetizers and cheese: Sweet Grass Dairy / Invitation print consultant: The Paperie at Sam Flax / Bartender: Mobile Cocktails ATL / DJ: BeatHouse Productions / Cake: Blooming Flour Bakery / Tables, chairs, dance floor, lighting: Goodwin Rentals / Bars, highboys, serving dishes: Peachtree Tent and Events / Paper Products: Designs by Robyn Love / Calligrapher: Donna Dow / Linens: I Do Linens / Gallery artwork and map watercolor: Georgia Water Color Society / Monogrammed napkins: Mactees Inc

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

lisa Written with love by Lisa
12 Comments
  1. avatar Kristin reply

    Hand-written letters to each guest? I LOVE this personal detail. And of course, I an 100% on board with Erin’s goals in planning her wedding!!

  2. avatar Nicole reply

    This was such a beautiful story! Love the photos too! Added one to my wedding board on Pinterest! xoxo

  3. avatar Kat reply

    Beautiful wedding!! Such a perfect mix of classic & playful. Love it!

  4. avatar Emily reply

    So, so many details to love in this wedding, from their beautifully-wrapped bread to their citrus cake! Love them all, and this sweet couple!

  5. avatar Dana reply

    very pretty flowers and such a silly second date story!

  6. avatar Erin & Stephen | harwell photography reply

    […] Published in Print and online in Southern Weddings Magazine […]

  7. avatar Jeremy Harwell reply

    I am so honored to have this beautiful wedding on Southern Weddings! Erin & Stephen were such an amazing couple to work with, and the vendors involved provided such beauty for me to photograph! Thanks so much for the post!

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  11. avatar Katie reply

    Such a beautiful wedding! I love the vintage get-away car. Can you please let me know that vendor?
    Thanks!!!

  12. avatar Richard Photo Lab reply

    […] by Karson Butler Events) A Bryan Photo – Spring Auburn Wedding Harwell Photography – Classic Georgia Wedding Jamie Clayton – Tenessee Picnic […]

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Thank you all so much for your sweet comments on the first V5 editorial we debuted! I was going to say that that one has a special place in our hearts (and it does!), but truly, we feel similarly about every shoot we produced for this issue! This one, photographed by Melissa Schollaert, is no different.

This shoot was inspired by two very Southern elements: honey and pecans. As we did more research into these two humbles components, we got more and more inspired. Because, you see, the word pecan comes from an Algonquian word meaning “the nut that requires a stone to crack.” That toughness and durability, paired with the sweetness of honey, seemed to us like the perfect recipe for a strong marriage.

Of course, we had great fun coming up with creative ways to incorporate winks to honey and pecans throughout the shoot. One of my very favorites is the honeycomb wrap on the stationery suite designed by Erica Loesing, and printed beautifully by Alee & Press.

And don’t you love how our beautiful bride’s veil resembles a honeycomb, as well?

That bouquet looks like quite a handful, doesn’t it? I think that’s the only way Amy Osaba makes them :) I also adore the bee “pin” we attached to the bouquet ribbons – it’s actually an earring!

Speaking of beautiful people, we were lucky enough to draw all of our “models” from our Atlanta reader pool! Erin and her husband Taylor were our bride and groom. From left to right below, we have Emily, Madelynne, Laura, and Brittany standing in as bridesmaids. Aren’t they the sweetest??

Stay tuned, because you’ll have a chance to win some of those fabulous sparkly headbands soon!

A honey themed shoot wouldn’t be complete without a honey tasting, now would it? Something like this could be fun to arrange at cocktail hour!

All the glistening gold goodness comes to a point in the table, I think, beautifully arranged by Lindsay Pitt of TOAST. I adore that blown-open magnolia in the centerpiece, and the pecan pies at each place setting are too much! Talk about Southern hospitality…

Southerners are known for their sense of humor AND for their love of beautiful things, and I adore how those two traits are represented perfectly in our moonshine bar! Mason jars have never looked so glam. And should you wish to set up your own moonshine bar, make sure you check out Ole Smoky – they have lots of flavors! Just sayin’.

Last but certainly not least, we have this masterpiece of a wedding cake by Sweet Sensations. I adore how Sharon took our pecan inspiration and ran with it! The gorgeous linens from I Do Linens and the flowing fabric backdrop by Michelle Edgemont set it off perfectly.

Huge hugs to all the folks that made this shoot happen! Pick up your copy to see even more Georgia goodness!

Melissa Schollaert and TOAST are fabulous members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

emily Written with love by Emily
18 Comments
  1. avatar Valerie (Pieceful Wedding) reply

    This is a gorgeous shoot…every detail is absolutely stunning!

  2. avatar Lauren reply

    Gorgeous shoot! The very talented Maria from the Amy Osaba team is doing all the floral for my wedding, absolutely love the lushness of it! And we’ll be visiting Ole Smoky this weekend on my bachelorette weekend in Gatlinburg :)

  3. avatar Laura reply

    Both of the features from V5 so far are absolutely stunning! Such unique and Southern themes!

  4. avatar Diana reply

    I ABSOLUTELY am in love with this wedding!!

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Lately, I’m all about baking. With my upcoming trip to Paris, I’m really interested in learning how to make macarons. I mean, how much fun would it be to have those colorful goodies in my baking arsenal? When I saw the Camille + Mark got their little French treats (with adorable flags on them!) from Trader Joe’s, I thought it was brilliant! You can bet that I’ll be picking up a box to tide me over until I learn to make them — or until I eat my weight in them in Paris! Treats aside, I’m loving C + M’s gold pomegranates and vintage settings. A lot of the china and flatware came straight from Mark’s home!

P.S. Has anyone made macarons? Send some tips my way!

Describe some of the decorations or décor elements you used: Three farm tables (built specifically for us) were pushed together to make one long table. We brought the china that was used to set the table and used white dinner plates with a gold rim that Mark had in his dining room buffet. I went out and bought vintage salad & dessert plates from antique stores. I also found antique linen napkins for everyone to use. We brought our own flatware, both gold & silver. We also already had three-legged teacups and saucers that were used on the table as well as the dessert table.
What is the one thing that made your wedding different from anyone else’s wedding? The thing that made our wedding different from most other weddings is that we only invited our immediate family. Since this was a second marriage for both of us and since we both have children we wanted it to be about the joining of two families. My goal was to keep it intimate and meaningful. Plus, it meant that I could go crazy with details since there were only 19 of us. It was like doing a styled shoot only it was for a real wedding. So fun!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? Getting adjusted as a family of 5 and getting settled in our home. I’m looking forward to renovating and decorating so the house reflects my style. We are also building our businesses. We’re both entrepreneurs and we support each other’s businesses.
What advice would you give to someone planning his or her wedding? Hire professionals! They know what they’re doing and can help you turn your vision into a reality. Plan your wedding for you, not for your family and friends. This day is about your marriage and should reflect you and your fiancé.

Photographer: Gina Zeidler // Designer: Amy Osaba // Venue: Old Edwards Inn & Spa // Florist: Amy Osaba // Wedding Cake Baker: Old Edwards Inn & Spa // Caterer: Madison’s at Old Edwards Inn & Spa // Bridesmaid Dresses: J.Crew // Bride’s Dress: J.Crew // Hair Stylist: Old Edwards Inn & Spa, Makeup Artist: Old Edwards Inn & Spa // Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka // Bride’s Jewelry: Earrings by Nicole Miller // Groom’s Fashion: Tom James // Groomsmen Fashion: suits from J. Crew, shoes from Jack Purcell via J. Crew, bowties by Xoelle // Paper Goods: Erica Loesing of Amy Osaba // Calligraphy: I Love You Much // Rentals: Farm tables from Something Borrowed Vintage // Linens: antiques // Ceremony Décor: Ring bearer bowl by Paloma’s Nest // Reception Décor: Cake stand by Sweet and Saucy Shop // Lighting: Old Edwards Inn & Spa // Other: Welcome bags by Wedding Chicks

Love the colors from this wedding? Check these out:
Alex + Paul’s outdoor garden-like wedding here and here
Tara + Steve’s pink and orange wedding here and here

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
25 Comments
  1. avatar Cara reply

    Always love seeing gold flatware!! Beautuful wedding :)

  2. avatar Jodi reply

    Absolutely adore this wedding!! Love how intimate it was and the beautiful, bright color palette used. Also love that gold flatware. Oh and p.s. we recently did a step-by-step tutorial on how to make macarons, you can view it here, http://jodimillerphotographyblog.com/holiday-sweetness/ :)

    • avatar Nicole reply

      Hi Jodi! Thank you for posting that!! I’ll be referencing it in weeks to come :) LOVE the crushed peppermint on the outside!

  3. avatar Whitney reply

    Nicole, did you know that I make a mean macaroon? I’d be happy to teach you!

  4. avatar Sierra reply

    This is one of my favorite V4 Real Weddings! A bright color palette, gorgeous floral arrangements and a lovely tablescape, not to mention Camille is the sweetest! I love when she said, “Plan your wedding for you, not for your family and friends.” Be genuine.

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  6. avatar Brit {Colure Weddings} reply

    Those warm colors are simply amazing!! I love the tablescapes!

  7. avatar Vanessa reply

    Wow! I am absolutely in love with all of the color inspiration! Between the amazing florals and the gold details, I can’t pick which is more amazing!

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  9. avatar Chicago wedding photographer Caroline Ghetes reply

    I am adoring the yellow in that first set of photos. Very refreshing!

  10. avatar Tim Duncan reply

    The thing that caught my eye in this wedding is definitely the different colors used! This seemed like such a fun event! :)

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  17. avatar June reply

    Super cute designs! And loved the kid’s book idea. What is the content inside?

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