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Our Southern Weddings’ Editor Jess shares her North Georgia wedding!

I’ll admit I’ve thought about writing this post since my very first day on the Southern Weddings’ team (and long before a sparkly ring was ever on my finger!). I was certain that the hundreds of real weddings interviews I’ve read and helped write for the blog over the past two and half years would leave me prepared to pen this one.

And yet here I sit, scrolling through photos and unable to come up with words to express the overwhelming joy and emotion I shared with friends and family on April 14, 2018.

As a guest, it’s easy to notice the grand moments on a wedding day. The groom’s face when he sees his bride walking down the aisle. The couple’s first dance as husband and wife. The sparkler-lined exit from the reception.

And yet, as a bride, everything changes. While wonderfully memorable, the most vivid and sacred moments from our wedding day are not the grandiose moments. Instead, they are the smaller ones tucked in among the bigger ones. The feeling of calm that rushed over me as I looked out over the ceremony as people gathered. The wink our venue owner gave me before I walked down the aisle. The words Logan whispered in my ear during our first dance.

Those are the moments I will treasure for decades to come. These moments required no preparation. Yet, they felt beautiful enough that they dipped into a sacred space, one reserved for the two of us but occurring alongside those whom we have to thank for where we are today.

During a sermon at our church a few months, our pastor said, “We gather together to remember that which we’d so easily forget if apart.” Our wedding will forever be a moment we look back on to remember the things that matter most to us–our unwavering commitment to one another and the immense love and support from our dearest friends and loved ones.

Plans make a ceremony, but friends make a wedding and love makes a marriage. We will cherish all three for years to come.

On that note, we couldn’t be more grateful for Blue Ribbon Vendor Davy Whitener who captured the images below. Looking through them brings me back to our wedding day, and we will tell others of his generosity and gift for his craft for years to come!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Logan and I took a last-minute trip to Glen-Ella Springs Inn in Clarkesville, GA over New Year’s two years ago. We were both in the middle of heavy work seasons and we needed a place to recharge. Google and a co-worker recommended Glen-Ella, and just 12 hours later we were on the road. We arrived later than we initially planned due to work and we missed our dinner reservation at the restaurant. Luci, the innkeeper, was extraordinarily accommodating and we spent a few hours the first night talking to her and learning more about her and her husband Ed’s history with and vision for the Inn. We left well-rested and (very) well-fed a few days later and always knew we had found somewhere special. After getting engaged, we emailed Luci and didn’t hesitate to say yes to their one remaining date for 2018!

Tell us the highlights of finding your wedding dress. A shorter engagement meant traditional bridal salons would have limited options for dresses, so I started to think of alternative solutions! A friend of mine is a bridal consultant at BHLDN, and she assured me I would be able to find the dress of my dreams, so I booked an appointment there. My mother, mother-in-law, sister, and sister-in-law made a day trip from NC, and I was able to have the traditional bridal salon experience of trying on dresses, but I received my dress four (!!!) days after I ordered it!

“I was thrilled for each of the ladies standing next to me, and I wanted each of them to feel comfortable in what they were wearing. Instead of choosing a single gown, I gave them a color and requested long dresses, and I loved how the mismatched bridesmaids’ gowns turned out!”

What were some of the most meaningful or special parts of your ceremony? Logan’s father is a Methodist minister, and we were thrilled when he agreed to officiate our ceremony (luckily we knew he didn’t have any conflicts with the date!). We can think of fewer marriages stronger than his parents’, and it meant so much to have him lead us into this new chapter together. In addition to Logan’s father, we asked two couples who are significant to us share a few words of wisdom during the ceremony. Both of those couples have generously shared their wisdom, homes, and lives with us. They have walked with us through difficult seasons and they daily live out their values in a way we want to emulate.

Towards the end of our ceremony, after Logan’s father (our officiant) pronounced us husband and wife, Logan looked at him and asked, “Can I kiss her now?” His dad sweetly responded, “not yet, son,” which resulted in lots of laughter at the altar! After we recessed, we headed out to the meadow with our bridal party and family, and having those moments together proved to be one of the sweetest and most joy-filled moments of the day.”

“Throughout the wedding planning process, Logan had very few non-negotiables, but he insisted the first moment we saw each other be as I walked down the aisle. With 2.5 years at Southern Weddings under my belt, I knew the advantages of doing a first look (ease nerves, get all the photos on the shot list before the ceremony), but I couldn’t convince Logan. While it would have certainly been more convenient, I’m grateful Logan didn’t cave. I have vivid memories of the moment our eyes locked for the first time, and our portraits during the cocktail hour immediately bring back the same giddiness I felt on that day!”

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“My mother-in-law offered her beautiful lace wedding veil for me to wear, which Logan’s grandparents, mother, and aunt found decades ago on a trip to Brussels. In the decades since then, Logan’s mom, aunt, his two sisters, and now myself have worn it on their wedding days. We’re looking forward to passing it down for generations to come!”

“Logan and I took the advice of many friends to prevent a hungry bride and groom, and we chose to have a private dinner in the garden before heading to the reception. Not only did we get to have 20 minutes of uninterrupted alone time, but we ate every bite of delicious food on our plates!”

What was your favorite detail from your wedding? When we thought about our wedding, Logan and I had one goal: to use it as an opportunity to say thank you to the people who have walked alongside us–individually and together as a couple. Logan and I have written many letters to each other throughout our relationship, and we loved the idea of leaving a handwritten note at each guest’s place setting to personally thank them for the impact they’ve had on our lives. It meant writing quite a few notes, but we were grateful for the chance to express our gratitude.

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We love music! Each month we curate monthly playlists that have become popular in our circle of friends, so we had a lot of fun choosing songs. For our processional songs, Logan’s brother-in-law, Matt, played the guitar, and his cousin, Megan, sang. Our mothers were seated to “Come Thou Fount” and our bridesmaids walked down the aisle to one of my favorite hymns, “Thy Mercy.” My father and I walked down the aisle to a song Logan and I love, called “Oh, Sing” by The Native Sibling. It was inspired by an old hymnal that the singer spent time looking through and studying. I can’t listen to the song without tears coming to my eyes. Our first dance was “My Whole Life Long” by Delta Rae. Delta Rae is one of our favorite bands, and we love their NC roots!

What did you serve for your wedding cake or dessert? Logan and I aren’t big cake people, but we’ve had many nights where we pull frozen cookie dough out of the freezer and grab a glass of milk! We opted for cookies and milk instead of the traditional cake, and a local bakery made mini chocolate chip, peanut butter, and snickerdoodle cookies. They even uncooked them at our request to make them a little gooey! A dear friend and college roommate made ginger snaps from her family’s secret recipe. Our only regret was ordering too few; they were all gone by the end of the night!

Tell us your love story in one sentence. Sometimes love surprises, sometimes love delights, and sometimes, it does both.
Tell us all about the proposal! October 21, 2017 proved to be a day worthy of celebrating! Logan pulled off the biggest surprise of my life by insisting we take a “last-minute” trip to go apple picking in the NC mountains. He had friends cancel some plans on us, pretended to book an Airbnb at the last minute (it was already booked), and an hour after his initial idea, we were in the car on the way to Hendersonville, NC. The next morning, he insisted we get up early to beat the crowds. A few cups of coffee and a basket of Pink lady apples later, we were engaged! With the help of our families and without telling our mothers he was proposing, he sneakily arranged for our families to meet us for dinner, and we were able to share the news with both of our mothers in person!
When did y’all get married? April 14, 2018
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 145
What was the hardest part about planning your wedding? The hardest part of wedding planning was the financial piece. We had to prioritize our wedding budget, which meant making a lot of hard decisions, particularly when it came to the guest list. We learned how to better communicate with one another, best manage the expectations of others, and make wise financial decisions that would set us up for a healthy marriage–not just a beautiful wedding day.
What was your favorite thing about wedding planning? My favorite part of wedding planning was working alongside all of our amazing vendors. It meant so much to know not only could I hand off pieces of our big day to people we trust, but in turn, we had the opportunity to support their hard work and businesses.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $10,000-$25,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? Logan and I paid for the majority of our wedding ourselves, and we graciously accepted the generosity of our friends. A dear friend and bridesmaid, Laura, designed all our paper products as a gift, and Emily Thomas (a familiar name to you all!) used all her Southern Weddings experience to serve as our day-of coordinator. Not only were we able to save money, but it brought me so much peace of mind to know people I respect and trust were in charge of key moments of our day. We also used candles in our centerpieces to maximize our floral budget. We skipped wedding programs altogether, choosing to put those funds to things that touched all our guests–like the delicious food!
What advice would you give to someone currently planning a wedding? Take it one step at a time. Over the course of our six-month engagement, Logan and I were in our busiest work seasons, my grandfather passed away, we bought a condo, and I traveled for four weeks for work. When I thought about my to-do list as a whole, I immediately got overwhelmed. However, when I broke down what needed to happen by weeks (and days), it felt much more manageable. I’d encourage every bride to take it one step at a time and think about the tasks that need to happen next. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or defer to the experts when decision fatigue sets in. Our vendor team was phenomenal. Bella Flora did an amazing job with our wedding flowers with very little guidance from me, and it was a sweet surprise to see my bouquet for the first time. And check out the tuxes from Tom! Trust the people you’ve surrounded yourself with, and prepare to fully soak up the sweetest memories.

Photographer: Davy Whitener | Planner: Emily Thomas | Venue, rentals, and caterer: Glen-Ella Springs Inn | Florist: Bella Flora Designs | Cookies: Sugartopia Sweets | DJ: Family friend | Paper Products: Laura Bennett Paper | Bride’s gown: “Rosalind” by BHLDN | Veil: Family heirloom | Earrings: Goldenstrand Jewelry | Hair stylist: Melanie Sorrow | Makeup artist: Margaret Snider | Bride’s shoes: GAP | Bridesmaid dresses: BHLDN, Tulle & Chantilly, and Tobi | Groom and groomsmen attire: Tom Dixon via Executive’s Cutting Edge | Bouquet ribbon: Frou Frou Chic

Davy Whitener is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

Written with love by Jess Metcalf
6 Comments
  1. avatar Stephanie Shaul reply

    Endless congratulations, Jess!!! I loved reading your wedding story, and the images from your day are truly remarkable, emotion-filled, and gorgeous! I can feel the incredible joy and love (and laughter!) that you two and your family and friends shared, for sure. Savor every moment of newlywed life! xoxox

    • avatar Jess Metcalf reply

      Steph! As always, I’m grateful for your genuine encouragement and excitement! Thanks for celebrating alongside us! Xx!

  2. avatar Kirsti reply

    Jess, I am very certain that your veil is the most beautiful veil I have ever seen!!! Congrats to you and Logan!!!

    • avatar Jess Metcalf reply

      A high compliment, Kirsti! I’m grateful it was loaned to me for our big day! Xx!

  3. avatar Francie reply

    Jess, I loved reading about your wedding and seeing all of the photos. Everything was absolutely gorgeous! As someone who loves writing and receiving letters, I was so touched by all of your letters to your guests. What a thoughtful and meaningful thing to do. Congratulations and best wishes to you and Logan! Francie (we met at MTH in March)

    • avatar Jess Metcalf reply

      Francie! It’s so good to hear from you! I’m so grateful for your kind words and for the chance to share our big day with so many friends near and far through SW! Sending you a big hug!

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Sharing our Home Town Celebration editorial from our tenth anniversary issue, inspired by Laurel, Mississippi!

We have the privilege of traveling all across the Southeast while making Southern Weddings, exploring pockets of the Southeast and dreaming up beautiful love stories along the way! It’s no secret that this particular story is inspired by our own hometown heroes, Erin and Ben Napier. After featuring their home tour back in 2014, it’s been our joy to see their love story and small town make it big on HGTV. Their love for each other and their passion for Laurel’s revitalization was a huge inspiration for this editorial, and we’re grateful for all the ways they made it possible for us to shoot in their sweet Mississippi town!

When we thought about the heart of hospitality behind this shoot, we knew there would be no better photographer than our dear friend and Blue Ribbon Vendor Davy Whitener. This editorial holds a special place in my heart, because Davy is shooting my wedding this April! After our V9 Cover Editorial, one of our former editors came back to the office and said to me, “I know you’re not getting married right now, but I’m pretty positive Davy Whitener is the perfect person to shoot your wedding when it comes time.” And she was right!

After working with Davy on this shoot, and getting engaged a few months later, he was one of the first people I emailed. His heart for hospitality, love for people, and ability to capture the often-unseen moments gave us the beautiful images you see here!

After arriving in Laurel, Emily and I headed straight to Laurel Mercantile Co. to pick up some of the goodies you see above in the welcome crates, including the darling City Beautiful Pennant you see tucked above!

While we ran errands, Lauren Soley of Lovegood Wedding & Event Rentals and her team were unloading and prepping the Rogers-Green House for the shoot. We couldn’t have pulled off our Home Town Celebration editorial without her!

I’m not at all embarrassed to tell you how often I think about the flowers Josie and Christine of The Petaler Co. created for us! The sunny pop of yellow in the Sally Homes roses, peonies, and white lilacs mixed with the sprigs of mint and oregano were such a unique combination that I still ooh and ahh over!

There are few things more Southern than a porch swing for bridal portraits! Our HGTV Home Town fans might recognize Bill and Jody’s porch swing from an episode in Season One. Not only did they open their home to us for shooting, but they graciously gave us a tour that evening and joined us for dinner. Trust me when I tell you there is no shortage of Southern hospitality in Laurel, MS!

Gingham dresses that can be worn again paired with embroidered monogram hankies are a sweet way to honor your special ladies!

Isn’t this the most darling lemonade stand you’ve ever seen? Our flower girls and ring bearers were the perfect lemonade hosts, making sure our entire team stayed refreshed all day long.

Keeping with the heart of the shoot and home town feel, two of Davy’s children suited up for the big day and Lauren’s cousins sported their biggest bows as flower girls.

Can you imagine the emotions going through our bride’s head as the doors to her childhood church are about to open? Knowing she’ll see her groom for the very first time in the same church she grew up in admittedly gives me some watery eyes!

Ask your caterer to prepare a private picnic basket or meal for you and your groom to enjoy together post-ceremony before heading into your reception. Bonus points if you’re able to cozy up in the back of a pick-up truck!

Is there anything more Southern than fried chicken, tomato pies, and pancakes? I think not! Lola Fleur outdid themselves with all the delicious food! I can say that because I was able to sneak a few bites in :)

These were genuine smiles from our tiniest models when we told them they could snack on our strawberry shortcake desserts.

Finally, a special treat for you: the crew from Bride Film was on-hand to capture a behind-the-scenes glimpse of this special day! Here’s a look, in two parts:

BTS Part 1: Southern Weddings Home Town Celebration from BRIDE FILM on Vimeo.

BTS Part 2: Southern Weddings Home Town Celebration from BRIDE FILM on Vimeo.

Laurel, you were a gem! Thank you for inviting us into your community with open arms!

See more of this feature in our tenth anniversary issue, on newsstands now and in our shop!

Planner and Vintage Rentals: Lovegood Wedding & Event Rentals | Photographer: Davy Whitener | Film Processing: Richard Photo Lab | Videography: Bride Film | Ceremony Venue: Laurel First United Methodist Church | Reception Venue: The Rogers-Green House | Florals: The Petaler Co. | Hair and Makeup: Blush Salon | Catering: Lola Fleur | Lighting: Celebrations | Paper Goods and “Just Married” Banner: Southern Fried Paper | Strawberry Shortcake Boats: Shop Sweet Lulu | Escort Card Board: Minted | Linens: La Tavola Linen | Hanky Embroidery: Needleworks | Bride’s Gown: “Heloise” by Leanne Marshall via The Sentimentalist | Veil: “Phoenix” by Sara Gabriel | Jewelry: ExVoto Vintage | Ring: Trumpet & Horn | Ring Box: The Mrs. Box | Bridesmaid Dresses: Anthropologie | Groom’s Blue Blazer: Bonobos | Ties: Macy’s | Flower Girl Dresses: Rachel Riley | Hair Bows: Wee Ones | Welcome Box and Napkins: Laurel Mercantile

Lovegood Wedding & Event Rentals and Southern Fried Paper are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

Written with love by Jess Metcalf
1 Comment
  1. avatar Lauren at Lovegood Wedding & Event Rentals reply

    This was such a fun day in Laurel, Mississippi with so many talented vendors from around MS and the Southeast. Thank you for including us!

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Today is the day, friends!! Southern Weddings Volume 9 is available on newsstands around the South, and we are giddy thinking of y’all flipping through our pages — our heart on paper. Whether you’re curled up on your sofa or cozied in at a coffee shop to ooh and ahh, dog-ear and drink in, know that we are as excited for you as we are for this debut! We hope the practical and pretty we packed into this issue will encourage and equip you to live out your very own love story.

And speaking of love stories: we couldn’t have picked a better one to inspire our cover than Allie and Noah’s. The illustrated manor house on the invitation, the Spanish moss setting, the jewelry made from family heirlooms, the slightly-vintage bridesmaid dresses, the nod to Allie’s love of painting… it all combines for a joyful ode to Lowcountry style and lifelong commitment. We hope you love it.

Thank you so much to Blue Ribbon Vendor Davy Whitener for capturing these dreamy photos!

Lydia found the perfect shade of haint blue for our invitation suite – a nod to Lowcountry porch ceilings like the one on Allie’s dream house.

I mean, y’all. Dying over that dress, that bouquet (!!!), her radiant smile!

Isn’t our bride’s silver bracelet gorgeous? Gabrielle Jewelry creates their designs with a lost wax casting process, which incorporates textile patterns (like, for example, the lace from your Mama’s wedding dress) into metal. So cool!

Burying the bourbon worked like a charm for us – we had a cool 80 degree day in Hilton Head in June, which was more than we were hoping for!

Elaine worked throughout our shoot day to create the most beautiful painting of our ceremony spot. It was so neat to watch it come together!

Thrive Catering designed an innovative, beautiful, and delicious menu of updated Southern favorites, like two-tone pimiento cheese, fried deviled eggs, and deconstructed shrimp and grits. Yum!

One of my personal favorite details from this editorial is the signage at our sweet tea station – Lydia penned it on a vintage serving tray!

Such a sweet way to honor the marriages that have come before yours: assemble a board of your parents and grandparents advice beforehand, then, if you like, ask guests to add their own two cents during cocktail hour!

For a refreshing nod to the ’50s, Thrive Catering suggested vintage rootbeer floats as our “groom’s cake.” Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and choose a sweet you know your beau will love!

Order your copy now of Southern Weddings Volume 9 in the Southern Weddings Shop!

Photographer: Davy Whitener | Planner and stylist: Molly McKinley Designs | Film processing: Richard Photo Lab | Venue: Coastal Discovery Museum at Honey Horn Plantation | Floral design: August Event Design | Hair and makeup: Jennifer C. Nieman | Cake: Minette Rushing | Caterer: Thrive Catering | Paper goods: Lydia Whitener | Furniture rentals: Savannah Vintage Rentals | Lounge area: Ooh! Events | Tabletop rentals: Southern Vintage | Live painting: Elaine Burge of Gregg Irby Gallery | Taper candles: Creative Candles | China: Peacock Alley | Sweet tea spoons: Milk & Honey | Table runner and ribbon: Nettle Textiles | Linens: I Do Linens | Bride’s gown: “Lainee” by Christos | Bride’s veil: Tessa Kim | Jewelry: Gabrielle Jewelry | Bridesmaid dresses: Paper Crown | Seersucker pants: Bonobos | Bow ties: Southern Weddings for High Cotton Ties

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

    I LOVE IT!!! I see a familiar face in there too I know around the group table. Cannot wait to get my copy!!!!

  2. avatar Rhiannon reply

    So so beautiful! Well done, SW and team!

  3. avatar Amy reply

    Beautiful bride, totally radiant, I can feel the love. Best wishes to all from Amy of https://poemstogo.tv!

  4. avatar Hilton Head Wedding Photographer | Davy Whitener Photography reply

    […] We were honored to photograph this editorial with Southern Weddings for their Volume 9 magazine.  It was a humbling and amazing feeling that they pulled one of images for the cover!  The great team that contributed are listed below.  See more on their website here – A Storied Love […]

  5. avatar A Storied Love | Part 2 – Davy Whitener Destination Wedding Photography reply

    […] cover!  The great team that contributed are listed below.  See more on their website here – A Storied Love. Also, see the cover reveal here – V9 Cover […]

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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