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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
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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
5 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 […]

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Friends, it is with bubbling-over delight and many happy squeals that I introduce you to… the Southern Weddings V9 cover!!!

We are so, SO, so, SO, so, SO very proud of this beauty. Not only because she is quite obviously beautiful, but because of all of the stories between the pages that she represents. Ready for a little bit of her own backstory? Here we go!

There’s a text chain for all the girls in our office, and at the end of every shoot day, Lisa and I load it up with behind-the-scenes snaps, so that the ladies back home can see how all of our dreaming and planning came together. (And yes, you can bet your bottom dollar there’s some high-voltage emoji use going on when the photos come through!)

At the end of this particular shoot day last June, along with the photos, I also commented, “I guarantee there will be a cover shot from today.” A bold statement, yes, but from the perfect weather, to the talented vendors, to the joyful models, to the gorgeous gown, to the stunning bouquet, I just knew we had created something truly special, something that would represent the heart of Southern Weddings perfectly.

And when the final images from Davy Whitener came back from the lab (thank you, Richard Photo Lab!!), it was unanimous: this was our cover. We never seriously considered anything else.

I really think this image does represent our heart, which makes it my all-time favorite cover we’ve ever produced. (There, I said it!!) Kelsie is the Southern Weddings girl, from the top of her head to the tip of her toes, from her joyful, beautiful smile to her modern lace wedding dress. As Jess in our office keeps saying, “I want to be her on my wedding day!”

Back to those sweet vendors for a moment. One of our values at Southern Weddings is working with new-to-us vendors, to introduce y’all to new talent and to champion it ourselves. We couldn’t be happier that both the stylist and photographer from our cover shoot are new to our pages, and that in addition to being two incredibly talented people, they are unbelievably kind and humble. We knew Davy would be excited about making the cover, so we filmed our call to tell him the good news :) Listen in to our convo with him and his wife Lydia below!

Aside from the couldn’t-have-happened-to-nicer-people aspect, I also love that our cover image came from this shoot because the shoot itself is inspired by one of the most beloved Southern love stories, and one that reverberates with the Southern Weddings’ mission: The Notebook. Yes, y’all!! In addition to an entire editorial inspired by Allie and Noah’s story, this issue is packed full of content that will spur you on to create your own legacy of a strong, rich, joyful marriage through 15 real weddings, six more editorials, practical planning advice, and an entire section devoted to newlywed life.

Our official release is one week and one day from today (Thursday the 10th!), but a little birdy told us copies have begun to pop up on news stands already! Be sure to snap a pic of yourself with your copy and hashtag #SouthernWeddingsV9 on Instagram — we LOVE seeing your smiling faces!! If you live outside the South or want your copy before everyone else, you can purchase it in our shop — and preorders ship TODAY!

THANK YOU, DAVY AND MOLLY!!!

In the meantime, we’re DYING to know: What do y’all think??? Are you as much in love with V9’s cover as we are? Are you as excited as we are about SW + The Notebook? :)

Photographer: Davy Whitener | Film processing: Richard Photo Lab | Planner and stylist: Molly McKinley Designs | Venue: Coastal Discovery Museum at Honey Horn Plantation | Floral design: August Event Design | Hair and makeup: Jennifer Nieman | Bride’s gown: “Lainee” by Christos | Jewelry: Gabrielle Jewelry

P.S. A walk down memory lane… the V8 cover reveal, the V7 cover reveal, and the V6 cover reveal (including one of my favorite cover stories ever!)!

emily Written with love by Emily
5 Comments
  1. avatar Davy Whitener reply

    This is so beautiful!! Lydia and I love it! Can’t wait to celebrate with y’all at the Launch Party!!

  2. avatar Kelli + Daniel Taylor Photography reply

    Stunning! This is one of my favorite covers to date.

  3. avatar Dana reply

    LOVE IT! Another perfect cover :) Cannot wait to get my hands on V9!

  4. avatar Tamara Menges reply

    Ahhh!!! My favorite cover now! I my stars! She is radiant!

  5. avatar tammy reply

    The cover is beautiful!! She is so preciously lovely. And THAT dress!!! Dreamy!!

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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