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Erin + Michael buried a bottle of bourbon in the backyard before the wedding in order to bring good weather. It worked! The couple was greeted with temperatures in the mid 70s and sunny skies — the perfect setting for their designed and delightful reception. A game of cornhole and a koozie-wrapped beverage are infinitely better when the sun shines, in my opinion. Of course, after partying away at Erin’s parents’ home, the newlyweds dug up the bottle and brought it with them to the after party!

We are thankful for Melissa Schollaert for sharing this wedding this us and capturing the many happy part of the big day. I won’t spoil it all for you — scroll down and fall in love!

We held the reception under a tent on the property and carried over the concepts we established at the cocktail hour and ceremony with more natural and personal details. Each dining table had its own identity with centerpieces consisting of quirky thrift store and “attic” finds like candleholders, lanterns, old tins, bottles and other chotchkies. As a nod to my interior design background, guests found their table by fabric swatches which were used in the laser-cut table numbers and custom runners under each place setting that were made of the same fabric pattern. To tie in the outdoor setting, we used burlap potato and coffee sacks as chair covers and created a lighting installation with paper lanterns and tree limbs we found in the surrounding woods. Michael and I also have a huge connection through music. We spend so much time together enjoying live shows, so we knew that we had to have a live band — they had to ROCK and that they did! Nationwide Coverage kept the party going and people on the dance floor. Of course, it wouldn’t be a rocking party without a full bar and beer boat. Guests were able to self-serve beer and wine, and hi note created custom bottle openers and koozies as grab-and-go favors. With the help of our friend and officiant, Adam, we were able to have our very own bottled brew at the wedding. I absolutely loved custom the branding and label Michael created for it – it was a huge hit!

Briefly describe your wedding flowers: I wanted really bold, graphic florals for my wedding, but I also wanted them to feel very wild, like you picked them out of your backyard and stuck them in an old coffee tin. Angie from Birch Blooms overwhelmed me with her stunning work! Not only is she the cutest, sweetest and most excited florist I know, but she even surprised me by draping florals from the ceiling — I still tear up when I think about it. The flowers were the icing on the cake. They made all of our hard work designing and planning come to life!

What was Southern about your wedding? For starters, it was in Alabama! Alabama is a really beautiful, lush state, so having it outdoors overlooking Lake Logan Martin really capitalized on the Southern charm of our venue. The South is known for its hospitality, and our wedding was no exception. We were really fortunate to have family members and friends who contributed time, money and a whole lot of elbow-grease to our wedding day.

What was the biggest challenge you faced when planning your wedding? The VENUE! It is not easy planning a wedding at a private home. There are so many things you have to think about in addition to all the other details a wedding would have at a traditional venue — power circuits, garbage, restrooms and cleaning up the next day! It was a great accomplishment to pull it all off!

Tell us a bit about your first dance. (From the groom) Our song was ‘Harvest Moon’ by Neil Young. We both love his music and definitely have a musical connection with this tune.

We paid homage to our love for food with a custom menu from Alan Singleton that consisted of our favorite family recipes. In lieu of a traditional wedding cake, we asked our talented friend, Betsy Distler to create a small personal cake for us. Then, guests were able to enjoy bite-sized versions of our cake flavor and other delicious pastries, as well as our favorite childhood candies.

Bride’s favorite detail of the wedding: I was really proud of how the laser-cut doilies turned out. They made such an impact underneath each guest’s plate.
Who was one of the most special guests at your wedding? My Aunt Beth. She lives in Australia and was unable to attend, so several of my friends who helped with the wedding Skyped her in so she could be a part of our special day.
What range did your budget fall into? $25,000
Did you have a cocktail hour? (From the groom) Because the sun sets so late in May, we opted to have our cocktail hour prior to the ceremony, so folks could have a snack and cold beverage before the festivities began. Our good friend Felix created a Brat and Burrito bar to honor two of my favorite foods. We also had Erin’s mom’s famous margaritas by the pool. Guests were able to enjoy themselves lounging by the water or playing games in the yard. Our main goal was for everyone to have a blast!
What was the funniest moment? What was the scariest? (From the groom) One of the funniest and also scariest moments was when we read our vows to one another. We both couldn’t even look at them before the ceremony without getting emotional. When the time came, we were both really nervous, but after the first laugh, we were great. Our guests’ dance moves came in a close second for funniest moment.
Were there any family traditions you included in the reception? No traditions per se, but we did have an amazing caterer who took our favorite family recipes and recreated them into a fantastic spread for our buffet.
Did you try anything new or untraditional? Our whole wedding event was the epitome of untraditional, but everything we did was extremely personal and thoughtful, so with that, we created our own traditions.
Tell us about your grand exit. Having our ceremony and reception overlooking the lake, there was no better way to exit than by boat with a little fireworks show to send us off into the night.
What is the one thing that made your wedding different from anyone else’s wedding? It was at the home I grew up in. No one else has ever been married there and probably never will – that is pretty special.
Did you take a honeymoon? If so, where? (From the groom) We are saving up for a first anniversary trip to Italy and Sicily. Erin studied there for a semester in college and it is where I trace my roots back to, so it will be a special place for both of us to visit.
What advice would you give to someone planning his or her wedding? Have a plan, have a budget and STICK TO IT! You will enjoy your big day so much more if you heed this advice.
Who was your favorite vendor and why? All of my vendors are close colleagues and friends, so they are all my favorites, but the one person other than Michael that was integral to making it all happen was my mom. She worked with me every weekend for months designing and planning, tackling the biggest challenge of our lives: to pull off a wedding at her house. I also have to give kudos to Melissa, our photographer. She is one of my very best friends and she spent so much time and effort, weeks at a time, coming to help me work on the wedding.

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
14 Comments
  1. avatar Kristin reply

    I still die over those lovely personalized corn-hole boards. I love the idea of yard games at a reception! So relaxed and so fun.

  2. avatar Ashleigh from Marry Me Metro reply

    I adore all of the state pride details in this wedding! Too bad between my fiancé and I we have four awesome states that mean something significant to us lol.

  3. avatar Dee Shore reply

    Ok… this is officially my new favorite wedding. The bar. The bar pulls the strings at my heart. The potato sack chair backs, genius!

  4. avatar Sarah reply

    Beautiful! Where was the burlap table runner purchased?

    • avatar Erin reply

      Sarah: Hi Sarah! My company, hi note, specializes in custom stationery and laser cut graphics, so we made custom cut our own stencil out of plastic and painted them ourselves.

  5. avatar liz reply

    Awesome koozies! What company did you use for them? I love how your initials are on the bottom!

  6. avatar Elma Mercer reply

    I loved this spread in V5! I’m a HUGE fan of bouquets… in my mind they are the centerpiece for the wedding! Midnight in the Garden is by far my fav :) The deep red, blush & creme are so rich & warm together. I’m also a huge fan of Mint Julep!

  7. avatar Joya reply

    Where can I purchase the coozie? It is The. Perfect. One!

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We loved bringing you even more super Southern ideas in our 2011 series the “Ultimate Southern Challenge,” and we’re excited to start it up again in 2012! In case you missed the festivities last year, we focused on mason jars and escort cards. The response to both Challenges was fantastic, and the entries, even better!

This time around our starting point is the perfect blank canvas: burlap! Burlap is an inexpensive material, and though it’s most often seen in rustic settings, we’re excited to see what possibilities y’all will dream up for this humble cloth! To get your wheels turning, here are a few of the favorite burlap details we’ve featured on the blog:

A burlap bouquet cuff (photo by Pasha Belman) and a burlap bouquet wrap (photo by Brion Hopkins)

Sweet burlap ring bearer pillows (photo by Landon Jacob Productions)

A burlap-covered bar (photo by 13:13 Photography)

Vendors, feel free to team up, though your submission doesn’t have to be anything elaborate — in fact, we want these ideas to be easily executable by brides everywhere!

A few details:

– Your submission can take any form (as long as it involves burlap!), but the most important piece is that it be SOUTHERN.

– Anyone can enter as an individual or a team — vendors, brides and grooms, and wedding or Southern enthusiasts alike. And you don’t have to be Southern to enter!

– To enter, please send 5-10 professional-quality photos at 600 pixels wide and a brief description of your submission to howdy at iloveswmag dot com. Subject line: “Ultimate Southern Challenge: Burlap.”

– Include the names and websites of all your team members, and a list of materials and links to sources used. Please include directions for any DIY projects you may have done.

All submissions must be received by 11:59pm on March 8, 2012. Submissions received after the 9th will not be eligible.

– Our favorite submissions will be posted throughout the week of March 12th, and the winner, who gets ultimate Southern bragging rights, will be announced the following week.

– Submissions cannot be posted or tweeted until published on Southern Weddings.

We can’t WAIT to see what y’all come up with! Questions? Leave them below, and we’ll do our best to answer them!

P.S. Want to check out the winners of our last two Challenges? Go here + here!

Landon Jacob Productions is a fabulous member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

emily Written with love by Emily
4 Comments
  1. avatar Taryn reply

    Can you submit more than one entry into the contest?

  2. avatar Gina reply

    Hello! I love a challenge that involves creativity… I am portuguese from Portugal… can I enter the challenge?
    Love all your amazing work!

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Natalia + Levi’s wedding was a beauty despite the couple’s not-so-extravagant budget. It’s really an inspiration to many of us (myself and Emily included!) who love shopping flea markets for great surprises. Many of our favorite details were items that Natalia and her mother found while scouring flea markets and antique stores. French doors that displayed table assignments were a steal for $20! Natalia’s mother saw an old house being torn down and paid someone to have the doors delivered to her house instead of being discarded. We love how Natalia + Levi paid homage to the South with their dessert fare. A cake buffet and a “white spot,” a Krispy Kreme donut with a scoop of vanilla ice cream in the middle, paired with Coca-Cola filled tummies all night until the gorgeous sky lantern send off. It’s food that we won’t see anywhere in Paris, but honestly, who’s complaining? That’s why we love the South. Thanks again to Melissa Schollaert Photography for sharing!

Groom’s favorite detail of the wedding: (From the groom) I thought the old cotton warehouse where the reception was held was really cool. I loved seeing how all of the wedding décor complimented the original architecture. Oh, and Hairy Dawg was awesome. Like, REALLY awesome. Go Dawgs!
What was the biggest challenge you faced when planning your wedding? My mom likes to tell me that I have champagne taste and a beer budget. With our big ideas and strict budget, she and I were forced to get creative. We scoured antique markets and found beautiful things in unique places. For example, she saw a construction team tearing down an old home and offered a guy $20 to deliver the beautiful old French doors to my parents’ house. We used the doors at the wedding to display table assignments. It wasn’t always easy, but we had so much fun together on our adventures!
Did you try anything new or untraditional? My godfather, who is like my second father, walked me part way down the aisle and then handed me off to my dad. It was a surprise to me and really touched my heart. My florist and I devised a plan to surprise the mothers. She left two peonies detached from the rest of my bouquet. When I got to the end of the aisle, I was able to pause and present each mother with a peony and a hug before stepping forward into the altar area. We mixed up our bridal party and had both bridesmaids and groomsmen stand on both sides of the altar. I didn’t want it to feel like they were here for only the bride or the groom, but rather for us as a couple.
Describe your wedding cake: Classic City Confections baked the most delicious assortment of cakes! Levi and I cut into a two-tiered red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting in a rosette design. Other flavors included French vanilla with raspberry and pistachio, coconut with lemon curd, chocolate hazelnut with sea salt caramel icing, strawberries and cream, and a chocolate turtle groom’s cake baked by Levi’s sister. Guests also had the option to have Coca-Cola floats and Krispy Kreme donuts – our homage to Atlanta!
Tell us about your grand exit. Our exit was one of my absolute favorite details. Our guests gathered outside the barn and formed a circle around Levi and I and we all released sky lanterns. The view of the sky lanterns floating across the night sky was nothing short of magical!
What advice would you give to someone planning his or her wedding? Hire vendors that you trust implicitly. Working with people who you know will follow through will save you so much stress. Also, never forget that the process is supposed to be fun! If you’re not having fun, you’re not doing it right. Don’t let anyone tell you a wedding has to have or be anything. Want to wear a purple dress and serve cotton candy instead of wedding cake? Do it! A wedding, as traditional or untraditional as it may be, should always celebrate the couple.

Photographer: Melissa Schollaert Photography // Planner: bride, Epting Events // Designer: bride, Epting Events // Venue: Tucker Plantation // Florist: MG Floral // Wedding Cake Baker: Classic City Confections // Caterer: Epting Events // Bridesmaid Dresses: Paul & Joe Sister // Bride’s Dress: Casablanca // Hair Stylist: Scoobie West // Makeup Artist: Scoobie West // Bride’s Shoes: Max Studio // Bride’s Jewelry: earrings by Kenneth Jay Lane // Bride’s Veil or Hair Accessory: veil by Brenda’s Bridal Veils, hair flower by DK Designs // Bride’s Other Accessories: belt from Daniel Design // Groom’s Fashion: Indochino // Groomsmen Fashion: groomsmen’s own // Paper Goods: Red Table Stationary // Rentals: Epting Events // Linens: Epting Events and Cloth Connection // Table runners: screen printed by Satisfactory Print Shop // Reception Décor: cake mugs from Anthropologie, heart pine table tops from Epting Events // Lighting: monogrammed gobo from Epting Events and Live Event Solutions

Love this wedding? You might also like these Real Weddings:
Meredith + Blake (here and here)
Victoria + Michael (here and here)
Caroline + Tyler (here and here)


Melissa Schollaert is a member of our fabulous Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
13 Comments
  1. avatar Laura reply

    I love absolutely everything about this wedding. From the cotton bouts to the sky lanterns to Krispy Kreme! Gorgeous, and so much inspiration for planning my own wedding.

  2. avatar Amy reply

    Absolutely beautiful wedding! I’m planning a southern destination wedding in Charleston, SC and I love every single detail! I hail from Colorado but I think I’m really a southern girl at heart. I am wondering what the source is for “The South” sign? That is a detail that I would love to incorporate into my own wedding if possible!

    • avatar Natalia reply

      Hey Amy! There are several online sellers, but this was the first website that came up. Hope this helps! :)
      http://store.finishingtouchesetc.com/southsign.html

  3. avatar {chicago wedding photographer] Caroline Ghetes reply

    Wow! I love that table runner. And the bride’s hair is so beautiful! She has a stunning face!

  4. avatar Tim Duncan reply

    Beautiful wedding! The last few photos are gorgeous!

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  6. avatar Floral Cotton reply

    SOOOO CUTE! Love the cotton place markers. We have cotton!

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  8. avatar Dorijean reply

    I absolutely love the personal touches. I am doing similar things and was wondering about the lanterns. I have always wanted to do it and thought my wedding would be perfect since we aren’t really doing a send off. So I was wondering if there was any laws you had to follow. Or if there were restrictions as per say a fire hazard or something? Thanks for the info and pictures.

  9. avatar Savannah Perkins reply

    Were the table numbers purchased or DIY?

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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