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Each time I start working on a Real Wedding feature I am completly smitten + surprised! It’s like unwrapping an awesome Christmas present — minus the mess of paper! Kim + Mark’s celebration at the King Plow Art Center definitely fall under the smitten catagory!

I’m a traditional girl at heart, but I think I could change my ways for Kim + Mark’s modern twists on classic style! I love how they took an iconic Southern detail like mason jars, and added a fun twist by having them displayed in a hanging installation. Totally unexpected, but completly gorgeous! And don’t even get me started on those glorious dangling glass globes of light and Kim’s short frock! Lots of love to Ms. Ali Harper for doing such a fabulous job capturing this romantic soirée!

How fun is the typography in this invitation? I could see Miss Nicole sending something like this out to her future guests.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress: I was not looking forward to going wedding dress shopping. Atypical of most ladies, I don’t like to be fussed over. My best friend Robin is my go-to for an honest opinion. She is also, in my eyes, an expert, having worked at Vera Wang in New York. Kelly’s Closet was our first stop. It was great! The sales consultant asked me to go through the racks and pick what I liked. I had always dreamed of an all lace dress, but I also liked the idea of a tea-length dress. I tried on a total of eight dresses and quickly narrowed it down to an all-lace strapless dress or the tea-length dupioni silk dress, both by the same designer. They were so different and both flattering. At the end of the day, it was the tea-length dress that felt just right. I felt very free, very pretty and I loved it. The feeling of my wedding was easy and light-hearted and I felt that the tea-length dress reflected that. We left Kelly’s Closet and canceled the rest of my wedding dress appointments for that day and went out to toast success with a glass of prosecco.

My wedding flowers may have been my absolute favorite thing, including the incorporation of the balsa wood flowers and the festival lights would be my favorite detail of our wedding. There is something about festival lights that make a space feel magical. I wanted them to be creative and organic. I wanted ranunculus and peonies. I wanted spray roses and tea roses, but no standard roses. I wanted them to be wild, but polished.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? I love the idea of a beautiful outdoor ceremony and reception on a warm summer evening, but sometimes that is a little risky with the threat of rain. We opted for an outdoor ceremony and indoor reception. With all of the flowers and the lights, I hoped to transform the rustic art gallery into a warm and festive Southern night. Details like the mason jars used in the hanging installations are so iconic of the South. The delicate fans and paper parasols evoked that playfulness and whimsy that I associate with the South. My sister-in-law, who is a resident Charlestonian, said that the night reminded her of an outdoor Charleston wedding, which was my goal.

I’m dying over this gorgeous installation! Such an innovative twist on the ever-amazing string twinkle lights!

Describe your wedding cake or dessert: I love the look of beautiful sweets on display and wanted something different than a towering white cake. I fell in love with simplicity and uniqueness of a trio of freesia cakes in the Martha Stewart Wedding Cakes book. I adjusted the colors to my palette and opted for piped ribbon roses in place of fresh freesia. I subbed one of the cakes for the Robin’s Egg cake (also in Martha Stewart Wedding Cakes). The large one was almond cake with vanilla bean buttercream. One of the smaller ones was peanut butter and chocolate and the other was chocolate and mint. We added small baskets of French macarons in caramel and almond vanilla bean on the cake table, because they are some of my favorite sweet treats!

Kim is a girl after my own heart, she believes in love at first sight, even if she won’t admit it! Mark and I met at work. I liked him from the moment I saw him, and I don’t really believe in that sort of thing. He was moving on to another job and I was disappointed. I was quickly promoted to his position, though, and we were paired together for his last two weeks in order for him to train me. By the end of those two weeks we were dating and have been together ever since.

Describe the proposal. I returned to school last June for pre-dental hygiene and Mark was determined to take a vacation before I went back. He had mentioned in the past that he thought that proposing on vacation was the way to do it, so I was suspicious. I was on the lookout, but no signs were apparent. Little did I know that my mother and Mark had made multiple trips to the jeweler to have my ring made. On our second night in Mexico, Mark and I took a walk on the beach. Mark asked me to look at the sky because he bought me a star. He pointed out a star and said, “but it isn’t as sparkly as this star,” and in his hand was a diamond ring. He asked me to marry him and I was so excited, I don’t even remember saying yes. It was a perfect proposal and unexpected.
In what month did you get married? May
How many guests attended your wedding? 115
Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We did not do a first look. I wanted the sign of me in my dress to be a complete surprise to. It was the one thing that I wanted to be completely traditional.
Did you write your own vows? We did not write our own vows. I was convinced that I would get very nervous and my mind would go blank. Also, I can be shy and prefer to share my most intimate feelings in private.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Sirach 26:1-4, 13-16
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding. The processional was the instrumental version of “In My Life” by the Beatles. When I walked down the aisle, they played “Forever” by Ben Harper and the recessional was “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” by Stevie Wonder. Our first dance was “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” by Frankie Valli.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? My biggest challenge was trying to accomplish my decor vision within my budget.
What is the one thing you are most happy you splurged on? I am so happy that I splurged on my custom cake topper.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Dancing at my reception and looking around at all of my family and friends belting out Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin.'” I felt very loved and supported. It was great to see everyone having so much fun!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? I would suggest that when planning a wedding, the bride should take a lot of care in choosing her vendors. She should make sure that they share and appreciate her vision. Also, create a day that reflects you and your style. Try to relax and have fun.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? I am still working on getting into Dental Hygiene school, which may include moving. Mark and I would like to buy a house, but that most likely won’t happen anytime too soon. We rescued a wonderful dog this past week.

Ali Harper is a fabulous member of our Blue Ribbon Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
  1. avatar married: mark & kim » ali harper photography reply

    […] more images and all the details, visit Southern Weddings Blog… they did a wonderful feature story on Kim and Mark’s Day today. Posted in Film, […]

  2. avatar Melissa Vause reply

    Best cake topper every with your two pets!! Where did you find this??

    • avatar Sarah Neuburger reply

      Melissa Vause: I am so excited to have made their custom cake topper for them! My shop name is The Small Object and you can find more details on ordering your own piece here:

      Kim and Mark: It’s absolutely amazing!! I’m so excited for you both! xo

  3. avatar Gail from OliverINK Publishing reply

    What a pretty wedding! They have some very nice details from the flower girl carrying a bird’s nest to the cloche over the centerpieces.

  4. avatar Kim Chaney reply

    The cake topper is from the small object, an etsy shop! She does lovely work.

  5. avatar The Love List {29 July 2012} reply

    […] OF THE WEEK This wedding in a gallery is so clever. It manages to combine soft, countryside styling with a chic urban loft […]

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    […] by Tara McMullen via Precious Invitations   4. Milk Glass Terrarium by Ali Harper Photography via Southern Weddings   5. Bird Cage Terrarium by Erik Clausen via   6. Lantern Terrarium by The […]

  9. avatar Heidi Buller reply

    Where did you get your shoes? Those are so gorgeous! Looking for a pair like that!

  10. avatar Reception Design: Hanging installations | reply

    […] I’m loving these creative and hanging installations for reception decor, most especially the ones that function as lighting and decor at the same time. I wish I had the chance to do this for my wedding. Are you looking to add something extra for your reception? Scroll down, maybe you’ll see something you like.hanging installation […]

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Hello, sweet readers! We’ve got a real fun feature for you today – Veils 101! We’re talking all you’ve always wanted to know about veil lengths, styles and how exactly to attach these pretties without them digging into your brain! (OK, that was a bit of an exaggeration, but it’s definitely something to avoid!). There is a plethora of veil styles and lengths to choose from, and then there is always the option to nix the veil and go with a fascinator or hair bow (for my lovely non-Southern readers, a “hair bow” means any type of bow, feather, or anything fabulous that clips into your hair).

But for this post, we’re assuming you’ve chosen to wear a veil, and we’ll start by walking you through the most common lengths. First up we’ve got some adorable short styles, also known as fascinators, birdcage veils or flyaways. Traditionally, a “birdcage” veil is a short net or tulle piece that covers only the bride’s eyes. Now we see lots of twists on the traditional birdcage, with flowers and/or feathers attached to the veil, as well. These fancy add-ons, or fascinators, come in all shapes and sizes, from feathers and rhinestones on a barrette to a large pouf of tulle on a comb (seen below in our V4 Southern Exits shoot). Last of the short veils is the flyaway, which is a multi-layer veil of billowing tulle traditionally with natural cut edges and lots of body at the crown.

All images are from fabulous SW features: Kate Byars (see more of this floral stunner here), Corbin Gurkin via our Sweet Southern Exits V4 shoot, Tina Bass (see the rest of this beauty here)

Up next we have the simple, yet classically elegant elbow-length veil. Elbow-length is a great option if you want to wear a veil, but don’t want the the weight or fuss of a long veil. This style is perfect for day weddings or more casual affairs.

Image credit from left to right: Braedon Fynn (see the rest of this lovely fest here) and Paul Johnson (more here).

Next is the fingertip veil. This veil ends right at the ends of your hands when you have your arms down by your sides. It’s a perfect option for brides who are looking for an intermediate style veil. It’s fancier than its shorter counterparts, but not as dramatic as the longer options. If you’re looking to add a little oomph to this veil, opt for a lace-edged option, as seen below.

Image credit from left to right and top to bottom: Adam Barnes (see this Virginia stunner here), Ali Harper (see the rest of this lovely affair here), and Heidi from Our Labor of Love (for more of this beauty go here).

The waltz veil is up next. This sweet and stylish option falls between your knees and ankles and allows the best of both worlds – a long-ish formal veil, with the ability to have some fun dancing the night away on the dance floor.

Image credit from left to right: Veil and Bow (more of this Charleston wedding here) and Jaimie Clayton (see the rest of this farm wedding here).

Up next, the chapel length veil. (I love this look!) The chapel length veil reaches to the floor and extends up to three feet past the hem of your gown. This length is a very romantic look, and is great for formal black tie weddings.

Image credit: Studio A Photography (see the gallery for this Alabama wedding here).

Last, but certainly not least, we have the cathedral length veil. As a vintage cathedral length veil bride myself, I am quite partial to this look. Cathedral length veils are formal and oh-so-Southern. They extend way beyond the hem of your gown for a dramatic look. Cathedral length veils are most appropriate for formal church or large venue weddings. I don’t suggest wearing them for outdoor weddings, as the wind might cause you some grief! P.S. Keep in mind that a veil of this length is a bit high-maintenance, but you always have the option to remove it post-ceremony.

Image credit: A Bryan Photo (see Katharine’s Harvard soirée here).

If you’re after a traditional look, opt for an add-on blusher. A blusher is the veil that covers your face during the first part of the ceremony and is flipped back either by your father as he gives you away, or later by your beau before the oh-so-fabulous kiss-the-bride moment. Adding a blusher brings drama and romanticism to any veil. But, be sure to choose one that falls at least an inch above or below the neckline of your wedding gown.

Image credit: Heidi from Our Labor of Love (for more of this beauty go here).

So now you know exactly which veil length you love, but you’re still stumped as to how to secure it to your hair. I’ve been there. Since my veil was vintage, it actually had velcro as the attachment (originally created to attach to a pillbox hat). My crafty mama was able to remove the velcro and attach a clear comb. Clear plastic combs are my favorite way to attach a veil. They are easily hidden, and don’t press into your scalp as bobby pins have the tendency to do. Veils also come on barrettes, bobby pins or on metal combs. My suggestion? Bring your veil or headpiece to your hair trial. This is so important. Your hairstylist will be able to best advise on how to attach this beauty to your hairdo and how to hide the attachment within a bun, curls or updo. Whatever you choose, be sure that if you plan on removing your veil you have a trusty friend/maid/planner that was advised by your hairstylist how to safely remove the veil without making a your hair go a mock!

Image credit from top to bottom and left to right: 13:13 Photography (for the rest of this Florida wedding take a gander here), Belethee Photography (see the rest of this wedding here), and Abby Jiu (enjoy this wedding here).

After all these lessons in Veils 101, we thought we’d leave you with these lovely veil images! Boy, aren’t they pretty!

Image credit from left to right: Paul Johnson (see the wedding featuring my favorite bridesmaid’s dresses here) and Tanja Lippert (read why Emily chose her to photograph her own wedding).

What length veil will you or did you wear? Why did you choose that length?

Looking for more Southern Style inspiration?
Cardigan and Tights Shopping Guide
Classic White Shoe Shopping Guide
Mixed Bridesmaid Dresses Shopping Guide

marissa Written with love by Marissa
  1. avatar Emily reply

    I am not 100% sure yet, but I think I’ll be wearing a cathedral or chapel length veil, with a blusher. My future sister-in-law (my fiance’s sister, who is getting married two months before us!) and I are going to share a veil!

    • avatar Mary reply

      Emily: that is so special that you are going to share your veil! I want to wear a chapel length veil too! I think they are so exquisite!

  2. avatar Annie reply

    When I was looking for dresses, people asked if I wanted a veil and I hadn’t put much thought into it. Then I tried on a veil at a particular store (with the dress I ended up buying) and knew that’s how I wanted to look. It just felt right. The veil I chose had two layers–one elbow-length and the other waltz-length. Both parts were very simple and combined well. I think it’s something that’s such a personal choice–brides can look awesome with or without the veil, and it could just hit you at the moment you try it on. Fantastic description of all the different types, Southern Weddings!

  3. avatar uberbrides reply

    What a great post – I never knew all those veil details.

  4. avatar Lilliette reply

    I just had a few questions about cathedral style veils, I have always dreamed of getting married in one, but I don’t want to go too far overboard… How large does your church need to be if you want a full length cathedral veil? is it okay to wear a cathedral veil for the ceremony and switch to a similarly decorated chapel or waltz veil for the reception so it doesn’t get stepped on? and how late does your wedding need to be for a cathedral veil to be alright?

    • avatar Emily reply

      Hi Lilliette! To answer your questions, I don’t think there’s a hard-and-fast standard for exactly how large a church needs to be to wear a cathedral-length veil — I’d say if you want to wear one, go for it! It’s definitely okay to switch to a shorter veil – or no veil at all – for the reception. Finally, cathedral veils are appropriate for any time of day!

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High school sweethearts Katie + Charlie played up their beach wedding with white and green accents and lots of raffia! Even grandpa dressed the part in a fresh green and white seersucker suit! Katie was beautiful and refined in a Candice’s Bridal dress, Kelly & Katie shoes and La Mariee accessories. She chose to wrap her bouquet with a piece of her mother’s veil, opting for a new birdcage veil for her own wedding day , which I think is the perfect way to incorporate tradition into a wedding without sacrificing your own style. Clary Photo did a wonderful job capturing the calm and cool ceremony at Roser Memorial Community Church. Come back for Part II to see more!

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. We were high school sweethearts.
Describe the proposal. It was on a fall Saturday morning in Central Park. It included a surprise photographer who captured the proposal.
Three adjectives that describe the day are: White, green, rustic.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: We had baskets filled with flowers that were used as decorations at the reception site.
Tell us about finding your wedding dress: I was lucky enough to be able to shop along with my mom and sister for my dress. It was very special because my sister is also engaged, so we tried on dresses together!
Describe your wedding flowers: We had simple white flowers including tulips, ranunculus, lisianthus, and baby’s breath with green berry accents. My bouquet featured a piece of my mother’s veil that we wrapped around the stems. It was my “something old”. The bridesmaids’ bouquets were tied with raffia.

Photographer: Clary Photo // Planner: The Perfect Settings // Ceremony venue: Roser Memorial Community Church // Reception venue: Limefish // Florist: The Perfect Settings // Wedding Cake Baker: Thompson Cakes // Caterer: Simply Gourmet // Paper Products: With Grace // Bride’s Dress: Candice’s Bridal // Bride’s Hair Accessories/Veil: Candice’s Bridal // Bride’s Shoes: Kelly & Katie // Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Bella Bridesmaid // Accessories: La Mariee // Hair and Makeup: Ana Molinari Salon

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
  1. avatar Brit @ Landlocked Bride reply

    You girls have no idea how excited I am to see a Clary Pfeiffer wedding! Such beautiful photography!

  2. avatar Kristin Nicole reply

    Love this photo…gorgeous!

  3. avatar Melissa at MasterPiece Weddings reply

    These photographs are absolutely stunning! We especially loved the bouquets! Thank you for sharing!

  4. avatar Abby Grace Photography reply

    love that second to last shot!

  5. avatar Perryn reply

    I LOVE those bridesmaid dresses and especially the Color is so stunning! I’ve been searching and searching to find something similar….can anyone tell me the designer and color?? Please please please! Thanks! -Perryn

    • avatar Nicole reply

      Hi Perryn! I agree, hose bridesmaid dresses are beautiful! I’m not entirely sure, but the dresses look very similar to Lula Kate’s Pearl (maybe the Umber color in Silk Dupioni?). Katie went to Bella Bridesmaid for the dresses and Lula Kate is one of their collections. If anyone has a closer match, let us know!!

  6. avatar My Southern Wedding :: Sierra | Gift Registry News reply

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  7. avatar My Southern Wedding :: Sierra « Southern Weddings Magazine reply

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  8. avatar Southern Inspiration Board: Bright Winter Beach « Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] Third row: casual reception set-up photo by Steve Steinhardt, sandy shoe shot by Clary Photo via Southern Weddings, unknown P.S. A few more inspiration boards you might enjoy: Merlot + champagne vineyard Peach and […]

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