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2015 Most Memorable: Sweets

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Just as guests everywhere eagerly anticipate the revealing of the wedding cake at the end of the party, so, too, do the Southern Weddings gals eagerly scan submissions for gorgeous confections! Whether they took the form of a homemade spread or a tower of traditional tiers, we featured some to-die-for desserts this year. Here are ten of our favorites!

Caroline and Luke’s peony, succulent, and ranunculus bedecked cake by Jim Smeal (photo by Courtney Dox)

Jessica and Michael’s gold foil and peony cake by Sugar Bee Sweets set atop pink glitter linens (photo by Tracy Enoch)

Anna and Nathan’s naked cake with fresh strawberries (photo by Chris Isham)

Caroline and Will’s classic almond cake with buttercream icing by Couture Cakes (photo by Ali Harper)

Amy and Brian’s gold dusted and coral charm peony wedding cake by Ella’s Cakes (photo by Set Free Photography)

Hanna and Nick’s dessert spread by Layered Bake Shop including blueberry galettes, baked honey and walnut pears, macaroons, and a chocolate mousse cake with a watercolor wash and gold foil (photo by Charla Storey)

Jordan and Dave’s cheeky flamingo-topped cake by Chocolate Pi (photo by Kristin Sweeting)

Jill and Mike’s classic red velvet cake by Bev & Rick (photo by Amy Arrington)

Rachel and Brett’s donut tower by Harold’s Doughnuts (photo by Scott Patrick Myers)

Mary Grace and Jason’s armadillo groom’s cake by Elegant Temptations (photo by Flora + Fauna)

Whitney and Parker’s towering classic white cake by Simon Lee Bakery (photo by Jennifer Lindberg)

Courtney Dox, Chris Isham, Tracy Enoch, Sugar Bee Sweets, and Amy Arrington are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

emily Written with love by Emily
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    When I hear a bride say she wants a dress “big and dramatic enough for Scarlett O’Hara,” my ears instantly perk up! So of course, I was already excited to see this stunning wedding from Blue Ribbon Vendor (and personal friend of mine!), Desiree Dawn Events, and, y’all, it did not disappoint! Mary Grace and Jason incorporated meaningful traditions into their wedding to honor the past, while also celebrating their future. There was plenty of sweet Southern hospitality and lots of special details, including hosting their reception in the same ballroom at The Biltmore that held their law school orientation dinner seven years prior! Jason even had an armadillo-shaped groom’s cake in honor of their favorite movie, Steel Magnolias. So fun!

    Big hugs to Flora + Fauna for capturing this beautiful day!

    I wanted a dress that was big and dramatic enough for Scarlett O’Hara–something that was Southern chic, with lace, a statement back, and a classic bow. I started my search by browsing images of dresses online, and came across Sheridan by Hayley Paige. When a dress takes your breath away, like when you have your first kiss with your husband-to-be, it must be the one!

    Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Yes, even though I’m very superstitious! We wanted to be able to savor that first moment of seeing one another on our wedding day–just the two of us, without all of our guests watching–and having that instant reaction and tender moment documented. A first look is a unique experience for each couple, so the way we saw each other for the first time on the most important day of our lives only added to our love story.


    The Biltmore Hotel is the most storied landmark in Florida, and it holds special meaning to both of us. During orientation, our law school held a dinner at the Biltmore’s Country Club Ballroom. That dinner was one of the first times Jason and I crossed paths. Our reception took place in the same ballroom seven years later!

    What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? The moment that stands out the most was our ride to and from the ceremony. Since our ride was a vintage car, the mirrors weren’t tinted, so everyone driving by could see us clearly through the glass. They tooted, waved, and hollered at us as they passed by, rolling down their windows to congratulate us. That moment, of seeing perfect strangers being joyful and genuinely excited for us on our day, has stayed fresh in our minds.

    What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Goodness gracious! Where do I begin? I wanted to incorporate meaningful traditions with my family to honor the past while celebrating our future, so I did a first look with my daddy and presented him with his gift–an embroidered handkerchief that can be passed down for generations. We gave miniature bottles of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey and mini jars of delicious Southern honey (for our youngest guests) as favors, which also doubled as escort cards. We served our signature drinks in mason jars with colorful striped straws that guests could take home. We had a family-style layout with long farmhouse tables and mismatched chairs, surrounded by round tables with lace overlays, which gave a sense of warmth and family. Our table names were common Southern sayings, which filled our wedding with nods to the South. To give our guests a taste of good ol’ fashion Southern hospitality, we served classic Southern staples during cocktail hour, including a whole hog that was served with mac and cheese and honey cornbread. And we couldn’t do without everyone’s favorite Southern tradition: the groom’s cake. Our groom’s cake was in the shape of an armadillo because we (and especially Jason) love Steel Magnolias. During cake cutting, we even gave ourselves the tail piece, just like what Ouiser served to Drum! At the end of the night, we were certain our guests felt truly hosted, and not just entertained, because through the details, our wedding was an outpouring of genuine love for our friends and family.

    Our flowers were reminiscent of fall in the South, thanks to an overgrown/organic look with lots of greenery, purple and wine tones, burgundy, palest peach and blush, and pops of coral. We also incorporated blackberries into the bouquets, boutonnieres, and centerpieces for that extra touch of Southern charm!

    Check out their wedding film by Flora + Fauna here!

    How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Jason and I started law school at the University of Miami at the same time. We lived around the corner from each other, but we didn’t meet until October. My roommates and I threw a Halloween party (we dressed up as characters from The Wizard of Oz and I was the Scarecrow). Jason came and noticed me in my costume, which was enough to light a spark!
    Tell us all about the proposal! One sunny morning, Jason took me back to the UM campus. We walked by our law school and stopped at a fountain. He proposed there, and told me that was the spot where he had first seen me.
    When did y’all get married? We were married on November 9, 2014, seven years from the day we went on our first date. Our Canes were on a bye week that weekend, so it was meant to be!
    How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 150
    Describe your wedding cake. The inspiration for our wedding cake was Southern elegance. The bottom tier was light gold with textured buttercream icing and the other tiers had smoother icing with some texture and were a similar shade of ivory to my dress. Our florist incorporated fresh flowers, red berries, and blackberries around the cake. The top tier of our cake was spice cake with apple cheesecake filling–perfectly appropriate for a fall wedding! The second tier was marble cake with chocolate Godiva filling, and the third was half chocolate and half vanilla cake with cappuccino filling. The bottom tier was Jason’s favorite: vanilla rum. We tried each flavor during our tasting, and they were all slices of heaven!
    Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! Yes, to all of the above! My something old was my pearl necklace, which Jason helped me pick out when we were dating. My something new was my pearl bracelet, a wedding gift from my parents. My something borrowed was my sister’s Tory Burch perfume, which was literally and figuratively near and dear to my heart! My something blue was a sparkling blue crystal on the sole of my shoes. To complete my look, The White Magnolia sent me a sixpence for my shoe.
    If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $75,000-$100,000
    What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? When you’re planning your wedding, YOGMO–you only get married once! If you’re on a budget, but there is something that tugs at your heartstrings, do it and figure out where you can save money in other places. After the cake is cut and the last guest leaves, you’ll look back on your day without any regrets.
    What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We were so busy planning our wedding that we didn’t have time to plan our honeymoon! Waiting until after we said “I do” turned out for the best because we both had the post-wedding blues, and planning our honeymoon has filled that void. We’ll be glamping in Montana in a honeymoon tent at The Resort at Paws Up this September.
    Is there anything else you’d like to share about your wedding? A little rain became a downpour. We got wet, and so did our guests, but it didn’t put a damper on our day, and actually added a bit of romance to the air. So brides, have no fear of some rain, because there’s something about it that’ll make your day beyond magical!

    Photographer and Videographer: Flora + Fauna / Planner: Desiree Dawn Events / Ceremony Venue: St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church / Reception Venue and Caterer: The Biltmore Hotel / Personal Flowers: Julia Rohde Designs / Reception Flowers: Petal Productions / Cake Baker: Elegant Temptations / Rentals: Hitched Event Rentals / Vintage Rentals and Table Runners: Unearthed Vintage / Lighting and Band: AAMusicians / Linens & Overlays: Petal Productions / Chargers: Tastebuds Catering / Cake Stand: BHLDN / Paper Products: Make Merry! / Bride’s Gown: “Sheridan” by Hayley Paige / Veil: Cynthia Kay from The White Magnolia / Jewelry: Tiffany & Co. / Hair and Makeup: Amy Palma of South Beach Makeup Studio / Bride’s Shoes: “Conrad” by Something Bleu / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Lacey” by Joanna August / Photo Booth: Sideshow Booth Co. / Late-Night Snacks: Yardbird Southern Table & Bar / Groom’s Cake Baker: Todo Dulces / Menswear: The Black Tux / Groom’s Bow Tie & Pocket Square: Everett K Handcrafted Ties & Bow Ties / Groomsmen’s Ties: The Tie Bar / Flower Girls’ Dresses: “43312” in Oatmeal by Seahorse / Choreographer: Luis Lopez of Arthur Murray Dance Center / Vintage Car: Florian’s Classics

    Desiree Dawn Events and Make Merry! are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

    marissa Written with love by Marissa
    2 Comments
    1. avatar Mary-Grace and Jason | Biltmore Hotel | Miami Wedding Cakes | Elegant Temptations reply

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    2. avatar Friday Fresh Squeeze #185 – Floridian Social reply

      […] involved in Mary-Grace and Jason's wedding was a dream! Their entire day was filled with Southern charm at the Biltmore Hotel. Every detail […]

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    Even before I read Brittany’s words, I just knew she had been inspired by everyone’s favorite Southern classic, Steel Magnolias, while planning her wedding to Ryan. Perfectly pink flowers? Check. Cutest armadillo cake I ever did see? Major check. And sure enough, her interview confirmed my suspicions! Brittany grew up watching M’Lynn, Truvy, and Shelby with her mother and grandmother, and always dreamed of a blush and bashful big day of her own. Thankfully, Brooke Images was on hand to capture it come to life!

    Love the monogrammed handkerchiefs for each bridesmaid!

    Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! Of course! Something borrowed, blue, and old: I borrowed Ryan’s grandmother’s blue garter. Her mother made it for her wedding day and it’s been worn by all the women in his family since, including his mother and sister. Something blue and new: for my bridal shower, my mom bought me an opal bracelet to wear on my wedding day. I also made a blue monogrammed wedding dress tag for my dress. Something new: my brother’s wife, Melissa, gave me a bouquet charm with a picture of my dad, who passed away, in it. Something old: I tied my Grandma Dorothy’s and my Great Aunt Lee Lee’s rings around my bouquet. I also wore a sixpence in my shoe!

    When my mom and I walked into the dress shop, from the corner of my eye, I saw a dress that stood out. I couldn’t put my finger on what it was until I got closer and saw that the dress was blush in color. Knowing my mother was going to love this one, I wanted to surprise her. After trying on a ton of gorgeous dresses, I put on the blush ball gown. I could tell by the way my mom wouldn’t say a word that it was her favorite. It was the perfect choice. I felt like a princess all day and I’d wear it everyday if I could!

    Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? At the beginning, I was pretty adamant that we’d honor the old tradition and wait until I walked down the aisle to see each other. However, the more we thought about it, we didn’t want to miss out on valuable time with our guests at the reception while taking family pictures after the ceremony. On top of that, I have a tendency to be impatient and restless. I knew that the pictures wouldn’t turn out the same if I was in hurry to get to the reception. My big brother and lifelong best friend, Kevin, took me to the first look and I will never forget the moments he and I shared just before I saw Ryan. Despite the torrential downpour that began just as I walked outside to meet Ryan, the first look was one of my favorite moments of the day. Ryan and I got to cry, laugh, and have that “Oh my gosh…we are getting married!” moment alone together.

    What an amazing look of joy on Brittany’s face as she’s coming down the aisle!

    Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We didn’t write our own vows. Instead we chose a traditional Methodist ceremony. We both grew up Methodist and loved how the Methodist wedding ceremony represented our pasts as individuals and our future as one. One thing we really loved about the ceremony is that it included a part where the congregation was asked if they’d do everything in their power to uphold and care for us in our marriage. We loved how our friends and family had the opportunity to really take part in our covenant of marriage.
    What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? The preacher’s wife read Romans 12:9-21. Ryan and I picked it out together because we felt really described our relationship with each other, our relationship with God and our relationship with others. The passage encourages us to live out some good Southern principles–to love everybody, serve folks in need, live in peace, and be hospitable.
    Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. As two music lovers, we put a lot of thought into the music we used throughout the day. For the prelude music, Ryan and I asked our family to recall their favorite hymns. It was really fun learning about the music that spoke to our parents and grandparents in their lives. Our mothers walked down the aisle to the hymn that will always remind me of my late Grandma Dorothy, “In the Garden.” During the ceremony, I used the traditional wedding songs: Canon in D for the bridesmaids, The Bridal Chorus walking down the aisle, and The Wedding March for our walk out.
    Our favorite detail of the wedding was: My favorite detail was that our ceremony was officiated by my childhood preacher in my home church. I also loved how the very first thing we did as husband and wife was recite the Lord’s Prayer with all of our guests.

    I’ve been dreaming about my wedding day my whole life and each time I dreamed up the fabulous event from toddler to teenager, one thing was constant: pink flowers were everywhere. I’m telling you, if it comes in pink, I want it, and my wedding was no exception. When I first met with the florist, I explained that I wanted “a Steel Magnolias-inspired blush and bashful garden party.” Even though I was unable to describe exactly which flowers that meant to use, my mom and the florist were able to bring my vision to life and it was stunning. I carried a bouquet of all-white peonies and roses, my maids carried soft pink roses and white hydrangeas, and the men’s boutonnieres were blush roses. Our mothers carried a miniature version of the bouquets they carried in their weddings. The reception exterior had arrangements of white hydrangea, soft pink roses, baby’s breath, and ribbon-hung, moss-covered containers with soft pink roses mixed with white hydrangeas. During my engagement, my momma collected white milk glass to use on the reception tables. Those vases and the large centerpieces were arranged with white and pink larkspur, soft pink Gerbera daisies, white hydrangeas, blush and soft pink roses, spray garden roses, white and pink alstroemeria, wax flowers, stargazer lilies and cream roses.

    What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? When I asked Ryan to help me answer this question, he said, “What wasn’t Southern about our wedding?” and that pretty much sums it up! Let’s just say that Ryan bought me an embroidery machine for the Valentine’s Day prior to our wedding, and it was running from February to June monogramming anything that I could put a monogram on. Also, it stormed all day and cleared up for the most beautiful sunset on the water — if that’s not Southern, I don’t know what is! Our guests tossed birdseed at us as we exited down the church’s front steps after the ceremony. Our signature drink was the “Yellow Hammer” — this concoction of pineapple juice, rum, and vodka is a game day toddy created at my favorite college bar, Galletes, at the University of Alabama. We even served it in a personalized version of the iconic tumbler the drink is served in at the bar in Tuscaloosa. The groomsmen wore seersucker. Red velvet armadillo cake — enough said.

    There were desserts galore at our wedding reception. Our wedding cake was five tiers of vanilla sponge cake with strawberry filling and Swiss buttercream icing with fondant that was adorned with a lace pattern. The top tier featured, of course, was our new monogram, and the whole thing was “tied up” by a pink satin bow accented with my Grandmother Thelma’s broach. Ryan is a real Texas boy and insisted that he didn’t need a groom’s cake, just blackberry cobbler, so our caterer created mini blackberry and peach cobbler bites that were oh so yummy! We all decided that you could never have too much cake at a wedding reception, so Ryan’s groom’s cake was a chocolate with chocolate buttercream state of Texas with a Texas Tech “double T” in the middle. As a surprise, my mother had one more cake made for the reception–a red velvet armadillo, just like the one in Steel Magnolias! Throughout the planning, my whole vision for the day was to recreate a 21st century version of Shelby’s to-die-for “blush and bashful” wedding from Steel Magnolias. I can’t tell you how many times my mother, Grandma Dorothy, and I watched Steel Magnolias when I was a little girl. Each time, I dreamt of my own wedding and how it would be as Southern as sweet tea and how the colors would, of course, be blush and bashful. The armadillo cake paid a special homage to those dreams I had as a little girl and how my parents and my groom made those dreams a reality!

    How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. The stars really aligned perfectly for Ryan and I to meet and fall in love! I graduated from The University of Alabama and am one of the most passionate lifelong ‘Bama fans out there. After working for 18 months as a financial analyst after graduation, I decided that I needed a career change. Ryan graduated from Texas Tech University and worked for his dad’s construction company after graduation. When the economy turned sour, Ryan also decided to change his course. Despite my lifelong allegiance to The University of Alabama, Auburn University made me an offer I couldn’t turn down. Ryan, a lifelong Texan, also found himself accepting an offer from Auburn he couldn’t refuse. Both offers placed Ryan and me in Auburn, Alabama, pursing graduate degrees in Higher Education Administration. Ryan and I first crossed paths while volunteering at a weekend leadership conference for college students at Auburn. Ryan sneakily obtained my phone number that weekend and asked me out to dinner the following Monday. I was “flattered,” but declined the invitation. Despite the rejection, Ryan and I developed an immediate friendship and bonded over a love of Pat Green, college football, and the occasional bourbon and Coke. On a spontaneous trip to Santa Rosa Beach, Florida with friends to celebrate the end of the school year and our friends’ graduation, we first thought that we might become more than friends. The next weekend, Ryan and I both had plans to attend The Hangout Music Festival in Gulf Shores, Alabama. While I had plans to go to the festival with two of my best friends, Heather and Julia, and Ryan had plans to go with his buddies, Will and Mike, we decided to carpool together down to the beach from Auburn. When we arrived, we found out that our condos for the weekend were right next door to each other! Ryan and I were inseparable that weekend and have been ever since!
    Tell us all about the proposal! Ryan proposed on Thanksgiving morning at his parents’ home in Georgetown, Texas. Ryan had brought the ring home to show his mother and sister over the Thanksgiving holiday, but wasn’t planning on proposing until over the Christmas holidays. However, I guess that ring was burning a hole in his pocket and on Thanksgiving morning, Ryan woke up and decided that he couldn’t wait any longer. For me, the proposal was perfect! We spent all day celebrating with Ryan’s family and flew to Alabama the next day and celebrated with mine.
    When did y’all get married? June 22, 2013
    How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 250
    What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? I moved from Alabama to Texas shortly after my engagement to start a new job, so my mom and I planned the whole wedding separated by almost 1,400 miles in less than seven months!
    If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
    What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Our caterer was amazing! She handled everything and was so helpful in planning the menu, arranging the room, thinking about the day-of timeline, everything! She coordinated all of our vendors, made sure we stuck to the plan the day of, and helped with last minute decorations. Most importantly, she successfully re-created our signature drink, the “Yellow Hammer,” a feat I have never been able to accomplish.
    What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Ryan and I both loved our first dance at the reception. It was a really special moment and was so surreal. We walked into a room that we had only seen empty before and it was filled with all of the things we had spent months planning for–food, flowers, photos, decorations, and favors. We were surrounded by those we loved most and were dancing to a song we chose being played by someone we care so much about. On top of that, we were married! In that moment, I remember the two of us talking about how we had never been so happy as we were in that moment and reminding each other to soak it in, that we would remember this moment for the rest of our lives.
    What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Think about your guests. You and your families are hosting an event. While this particular event is celebrating your marriage, hosting any event is about making your guests feel welcomed and comfortable. Just because it’s “your day,” that’s no excuse for ignoring the rules of good ole’ Southern hospitality! Make sure your guests have somewhere comfortable to sit, something cold to drink if it’s hot and something hot to drink if it’s cold, a roof over their head if it’s raining, and a darn good meal that has enough variety so everyone can find something they like.
    What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? Football season! We have been so busy since getting married in June. In July, we got a Labradoodle puppy and named him Gunnar and in August, we bought a house. Ryan and I are very excited about hosting family and friends for football game weekends in our new home. To be honest, though, we are most looking forward to football season in general.

    Photographer: Brooke Images | Videographer: Jax Video | Planner: Mother of the Bride | Ceremony Venue: Memorial United Methodist Church | Reception Venue: Walker’s Landing Omni Amelia Island Plantation | Florist: Dottie ‘B’ Florist | Wedding Cake: Nana Teresa’s Bake Shop | Caterer: Courtney Thompson of Horizon’s | Band: The Flip Flop Boys | Special Details: Lesley Bolden | Bride’s Gown: “D1368” Essence of Australia at LOVE Bridal Boutique | Paper Products: Calligraphy, etc. | Bride’s Hair Accessories/Veil/Jewelry: Erica Koesler at Love Bridal Boutique | Hair Stylist: Mandi Hadsock and Miranda Oglesby | Makeup Artist: Shae Gildberg | Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Bill Levkoff at Bella Bridesmaid Jacksonville | Men’s Attire: Jos. A. Bank | Men’s Ties: Bows and Ties | Wedding Monogram: Jen Andrew Design | Transportation: Amelia Island Trolleys

    Brooke Images is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

    emily Written with love by Emily
    6 Comments
    1. avatar Emily reply

      I LOVE this wedding! Maybe because it reminds me so much of my own. From the colors to some of the photos, I can see how the bride and I would have a lot to talk about! I loved Steel Magnolias, and the armadillo cake is such a cute touch!

      Cheers to you!

    2. avatar Caitlyn | The Aerialist Press reply

      LOVE the monogrammed invites!

    3. avatar Best of 2013: Cakes and Sweets – Southern Weddings Magazine reply

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      […] Allison Photography via Glamour and Grace, baby’s breath wreath initials by Brooke Images via Southern Weddings, classic glamour bride and groom by Elisa B Photography via Snippet and […]

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