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Talented, professional, compassionate vendors are the backbone of every smoothly running wedding day. When you hire people who are great at what they do AND good people to boot, your only job on your wedding day will be to act as a gracious hostess, love your family and friends well, and say “I do.” What a blessing! That’s why we’re passionate about our Blue Ribbon Vendors – because we want y’all to be worrying about those three things, and nothing else. Here are a few we’d love to introduce you to!

Name: Bows & Arrows
Where you call home: Dallas, Texas
How I got into weddings: Everything started out as a love of art and studying painting. Before I knew it, that passion fused with a desire to paint with different medium. Thus, floral and event design emerged.

Name: Divine Light Photography
Where you call home: New York City
Things you’d write home to your Momma about: We have been in business for over eight years, traveled all over the world with our clients, and been featured in many amazing publications and blogs, but our greatest achievement by far is being married for almost eleven years. We have had our struggles and adventures, but still call each other soul mates and lovers.

Name: Emerald Coast Convention Center
Where you call home: Okaloosa Island, Florida
Best piece of advice you can give to brides and grooms? Try to savor every minute. It goes by so fast!

Name: EraGem
Where you call home: Bellevue, WA
Favorite part of a wedding day? Exchanging of the rings!

Name(s): Good Earth Films
Where you call home: Reidsville, NC (it’s a little town close to Greensboro)
Things you’d write home to your Momma about: We feel blessed that we are able to work together. Starting Monday mornings with a warm cup of coffee, editing side-by-side, is something we never want to take for granted. We receive joy from the precious moments of ordinary life. We believe we create wedding films that encourage couples and their families to reflect on the joy in their own uniquely precious moments. And we hope that each film inspires folks to remember that this earth is a good place to be!

Name: Ritani Jewelers
Where you call home: New York and Seattle
Things you’d write home to your Momma about: Ritani was listed by Forbes Magazine as one of America’s Most Promising Companies in 2014. We’ve also been featured in Brides magazine, Bridal Guide, Glamour, Fox Business, CNN Money, and more!

Name: Sugar Bee Sweets
Where you call home: Arlington, TX
How I got into weddings: I’ve always loved weddings – even in college I worked at an event venue space as well as a bridal boutique. My passion for decorating cakes took it to the next level as I mustered up the courage to open my own bakery boutique seven years ago.

Name: A&P Designs
Where you call home: St. Petersburg, Florida
How I got into weddings: I have always loved paper. I designed my own invitations but didn’t know where to print them. I went to a stationer and after going through the design process, and it opened my eyes to the realization that this is my dream job. I just love designing and playing with paper all day long!

Name: Fritz Farm
Where you call home: Cordele, Georgia
How I got into weddings: In 2010, I started renovating the farm that my Uncle Fritz left in an estate upon his death in 1976. The locals started noticing, and a bride and her mom stopped by one day and asked if she could get married in our pecan orchard. Her wedding photos on Facebook and other social media outlets led to more inquiries and more weddings… thus the birth of The Fritz Farm Venue.

Name: Kelsey Barnard Catering
Where you call home: Dothan, Alabama
Favorite part of a wedding day? I love being able to witness the giddy excitement of a bride and groom’s new marriage as we escort them to their private meal. It’s even better when we can hear the “yums and mmmmms” from the other room.

Check out all of our favorite vendors in the Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory! I also wanted to mention that we’re working particularly hard to expand some of our areas of slim pickings – namely, Kentucky, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and West Virginia. If you would like to recommend someone (or nominate yourself!) for any of these states, please email emily at!

emily Written with love by Emily
1 Comment
  1. avatar Alicia Rohan reply

    Yay!! Thank you for the introductions!! We are so happy to be a part of the SW family!! :)

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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I think some of the loveliest weddings are those that effortlessly combine multiple sources of inspiration, and Kristen and Kevin’s celebration is a perfect example. With the help of their florist, Botanica, they married their love for the old Florida feel of The Gasparilla Inn with their memories of Monet’s country gardens, which they had visited during their travels to France. The result was absolutely stunning, as well as so sentimental to this sweet couple. The heirlooms they incorporated into the decor added even more meaning to this special day–Kristen’s parents’ cake topper and her great-grandfather’s moonshine bottles are a few not to be missed!

Thank you so much to Divine Light Photography for sharing this lovely wedding with us!

Kevin and I first met through a mutual friend during a visit to New York City. At the time, I was working in Atlanta for the Atlanta Braves baseball team and had no plans of ever moving to the city. Five years and a career change later, New York became my new home. Kevin soon reached out on Facebook, asking to meet up. Since a girl’s gotta eat (and New York ain’t cheap, y’all), I said yes and he took me to a Yankees game. We sat first row, third baseline–he was trying to show off, and I guess it worked, because we’ve been together ever since.

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My something borrowed, blue, and old was my great grandmother’s cocktail ring, which is a blue sapphire with diamonds set in platinum. It’s one of my momma’s prized pieces of jewelry, so it was awesome that she chose it for me to borrow. My something new was a gift from my maid of honor, Lori. We lost one of our Tri Delta sorority sisters and best friends in February, so she gave me an embroidered pansy handkerchief with my and her initials. It made me feel like I had a part of Tiff with me as I walked down the aisle.

We wanted a destination-style wedding where both local and out-of-town guests could enjoy the weekend festivities. We chose the Gasparilla Inn and Club for its old world charm and sense of Southern hospitality. The town of Boca Grande (where The Gasparilla Inn is located) sits on an island off the Gulf of Mexico, giving us the seclusion we were looking for, but it also had the amenities to host an awesome party!

Describe your wedding flowers. They were AMAZING!! We wanted the flowers to look wild and as if they had been picked from a garden. The year before we got married, we visited Monet’s country cottage in Giverny, France, and were able to see his beautiful gardens and water lilies, which inspired our wedding and the flowers.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was the moonshine bar. Our florist was able to incorporate my great-grandfather’s moonshine bottles and crocks my parents had collected from Tennessee into the decor. Ole Smoky Tennessee Moonshine provided the libations and gave the party an extra kick!

Describe your wedding cake. Our wedding cake was very simple. We chose traditional buttercream icing and three different layers of cake: red velvet, strawberry cream, and chocolate. The cake topper was the same one my parents had used when they got married.

Tell us all about the proposal! Kevin and I had just purchased our first apartment together in the city and were making a few updates before moving in. He told me to meet him at the apartment, because a contractor had a few questions for us. I showed up, and there was no contractor in sight. Kevin called me into the guest room, where I found rose petals all over the floor and him on one knee. I freaked out and started crying, and of course, said yes. After the proposal, he surprised me with a weekend getaway to The Breakers in West Palm Beach, Florida.
When did y’all get married? June 29, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 150
Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We did decide to do a first look because we did not want to miss our cocktail hour to do pictures after the ceremony. We wanted to enjoy the bluegrass band and play yard games with our friends and family.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? A bluegrass band, a moonshine bar, and some Hank Williams Jr. and Garth Brooks out on the dance floor!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Hire a day-of coordinator. There is so much vendor coordination and so many little details that you can’t possibly remember all of them. The best money we spent on the whole wedding was Lindsay, our day of coordinator. She kept things on time, she dealt with last minute crisis and coordinated all of the vendors helping ensure things turned out the way we envisioned. Worth every penny!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? Soon after our wedding, we were blessed with the news of a baby. Kevin and I welcomed a boy, Wyatt Drummond Wenk, on April 29, 2014. It was exactly 10 months after we were married. Marriage has been full of beautiful surprises and wonderful gifts of love!

Photographer: Divine Light Photography / Day-of Coordinator: Lindsay Jimison / Ceremony Venue: Boca Grande United Methodist Church / Reception Venue, Catering, and Cake: The Gasparilla Inn and Club / Florals, Decor, and Lighting: Botanica Florist / Tent: TentLogix / Band: Bluegrass Band Highway 41 South / DJ: DJ Inpulse Entertainment / Paper Products: Sophie Askew / Bride’s Gown: “Mia” by Mira Zwillinger / Bride’s Earrings: BHLDN / Bridal Salon and Veil: Mark Ingram Atelier / Makeup Artist: Carrie LaMarca / Bride’s Shoes: “N°Prive 120 mm” by Christian Louboutin / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Amsale / Bridesmaid Dress Salon: Bella Bridesmaids / Menswear: Joseph A. Bank

lisa Written with love by Lisa
  1. avatar Emily reply

    Kristen, I adore your gown! So fresh and spring-y :)

  2. avatar Kyla Fetzner reply

    A cocktail hour with a bluegrass band and yard games sounds divine!

  3. avatar Gasparilla Inn wedding Featured on Southern Weddings Blog reply

    […] style and we knew right away the SW Mag would be a perfect fit for Kristen & Kevin’s Gasparilla Inn wedding in Boca Grande, Florida. Everything about Boca Grande emanates the Old Florida style that is shared […]

  4. avatar 15 Awesome Ideas To Make Your Wedding Tent Shine! reply

    […] photo: Divine Light Photography // florals & decor: Botanica Florist // tent: Tent Logix // via: Southern Weddings […]

  5. avatar 11 Fancy Tented Wedding Decoration Ideas to Stun Your Guests – Blog reply

    […] via Southern Weddings […]

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Have you taken our 2012 survey yet? Thanks, y’all!

Quick update: There’s a bulletin board above my desk now!! Okay, back to regularly scheduled awesome wedding time. Darcy + John’s Florida nuptials were, like most of the wedding we fall for, full of family-crafted details. In fact, Darcy said that old family photos uncovered during their engagement provided the inspiration for many of the personal touches included in the wedding. I am in awe of the couple’s gorgeous vine and baby’s breath-covered chuppah — it was built by both D + J’s fathers using wood from Darcy’s family backyard! And y’all know good and well that I can’t let those sweet hankies and monogrammed ties pass without comment! Who else is pinning those today? I’ll leave you to take in these gorgeous photos from Divine Light Photography, but not without mentioning that Darcy + John’s shiny green getaway car is rad. Plus, how perfect for Fat Tuesday!

We don’t often see day-after shoots, so we love getting a glimpse into the first days of Darcy + John’s married life with help from Divine Light Photography. Isn’t it just lovely? I can’t help but fall for that last shot. I can just image the couple lounging in their wedding finery and reliving all those blissful moments from the day before.

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. (From the groom) In September 2008, on one lovely fall weekend in New York City, a little reunion was planned for our group of friends who had all become close while attending college at Florida State. This was the first meeting between us, and it was quite bizarre to our group of mutual friends that we had never met one another in all our years at FSU. I decided to go for it and introduced myself to Darcy, only to find the night was ending soon and I’d have to wait until the next day at the FSU alumni bar to have another chance to get to know her. As we all watched and cheered on our Seminoles the next day, the group saw an instant and steady connection between me and Darcy. I returned to Dallas where I had just moved two months prior to start a new job. It was only about a week later that I found myself buying a flight back to New York to visit Darcy for an extended “first date weekend”. After many long months of back and forth and meeting in distant places from Santa Monica to Calgary, I decided to leave Texas behind and was headed for the big city. The rest, as they say, is history!
Describe the proposal. It was a regular Friday night the week before Christmas in New York City. John asked me to meet him in front of the Plaza Hotel an hour or so before the dinner reservations. Once we met at said fountain, he asked me what I wanted to do to “kill some time” until the 11pm seating at the restaurant. We headed to see the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center and it was there that he proposed and I happily accepted! He had in his possession a family heirloom – the engagement ring that belonged to my late grandmother, Helen. He secretly collected the ring from my father in anticipation of popping the question. All seemed quite spontaneous; he got me good!
Three adjectives that describe the day are: Personal, comfortable, and charming.
In what month did you get married? December
How many guests attended your wedding? 160 guests
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We wanted to spread around the Southern hospitality we loved about our childhoods. That meant lining the ceremony aisle with grandma’s mason jars filled of baby’s breath; a dinner station devoted to fried pickles, corn pudding, and BBQ sliders; and a scotch n’ bourbon specialty bar built of family antiques. Then, there was the collection of “Della’s Doilies.” John’s late grandmother, Della, was a meticulous crafter of the most beautiful crochets one has ever seen. When I saw them, I knew it was perfect for our table décor, and was the way we’d pay tribute to John’s “GranDella.”
Tell us about finding your wedding dress: The weekend of our engagement party in Ft. Worth, the guys of the two families played golf and ate BBQ, while the ladies went dress shopping. I did some solo snooping in the salon and saw a dress I wanted to see off the hanger. Lo and behold, she was the one. Romona Keveza is known to create elegant, romantic, and glamorous dresses; I found one that had an old-timey Hollywood feel but was also modern and edgy at the same time. It was different than any dress I had seen before, which made it the right gown for me.
Describe your wedding flowers: I carried my favorites, white peonies. For the bridesmaids, we did fun, wild, red anemones. We kept it feminine for the mothers with a simple hand-tied bunch of baby’s breath all wrapped in white lace. My bouquet of peonies was the perfect place to tie a locket that belonged to my mother that I have held onto since she passed away. Inside the locket were two school portraits she’d cut out of me and my brother. It was really special to know she was right there with us. We hung a garland of baby’s breath around the frame of the chuppah and on the tables at the reception were bold bunches of all red gerberas with black centers, either tucked inside a birdcage or low arrangements placed on the tree stumps, which John’s uncle cut down for us on his Mississippi farm. Placed around each center arrangement were a trio of milk glass vases, each containing a single wild flower bunch – baby’s breath, Queen Anne’s lace, and hypericum berry.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert: Red velvet! Some tiers were yellow and chocolate marble. The s’mores bar was a big hit over at the wood-burning fire pit. Lastly, a cool Florida night makes for a great time to enjoy a Serendipity frozen hot chocolate.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Making sure we had a great time planning the event, but not getting overwhelmed with the process. It’s a great time in your life and is like no other in time you’ll spend together, so make sure you take a step back and realize what a special day it’s going to be for you and your soon-to-be spouse.
What is the one thing you are most happy you splurged on? Our band! Tom Sartori was a band we both enjoyed in college in Tallahassee at Bullwinkle’s Saloon. He doesn’t “do weddings” but we wrote to him with our special request and he delivered an exceptional show. We can’t thank him enough for making it a party we truly will always remember.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? John loves to play his guitar. He got up on stage to thank our friends and family for attending. Then, Tom handed him a guitar, and John soon started strumming John Mayer’s “Daughters.” This was the father-daughter dance. It was a really touching and sweet moment; I was just trying to take it all in and was feeling more blessed than ever.
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? One of my favorite moments in the ceremony was when my dad handed me over to John, and said, “She’s all yours.” We all chuckled.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? We love to travel and plan to expand on our list of places we’ve been together and the places we will live. The world is ours for the taking. Up next: we’re planning our extended honeymoon to somewhere exotic and relaxing.

Photographer: Divine Light Wedding Photography // Videographer: Bill Wagy Productions // Florist: Bee Ridge Florist // Wedding Cake Baker: Matt and Dom’s // Caterer: Fete Catering // Rentals: US Tent Rental // Linens: Tan linen toppers made by groom’s mother. // Paper Products: Askew Design // Bride’s Dress: Romona Keveza // Bride’s Hair Accessories/Veil: Veil from Etsy // Bride’s Shoes: flats by Christian Louboutin, heels by Badgley Mischka // Bridesmaids’ Dresses: TART Infinity Dress

If you’re loving this wedding, check these out:
Our Green Wedding Details Pinterest board
Our Southern Ceremonies Pinterest board

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
  1. avatar The Friday Fresh Squeeze | Floridian Weddings reply

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  2. avatar Weekly Wedding Favorites | Going to the Chapel reply

    […] to fathers and their daughters (obviously!), but I love how Mayer mentions mothers too. This bride’s story about how her husband performed “Daughters” while she danced with her dad at her […]

  3. avatar Florida on site hair and makeup artist reply

    Fantastic looking wedding! Everyone looks like they were having so much fun!! Hair and makeup, and dresses were gorgeous too!

  4. avatar Lauren Hall reply

    Just wondering the venue of this wedding? Its so beautiful; I live in Florida, this looks like some where in Palm Beach.
    Thank you

  5. avatar Lauren Hall reply

    Wondering if this venue is in Palm Beach? I live in Fl, and its just so beautiful!

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  7. avatar Meagan reply

    Where did they get those great monogrammed ties?!

    • avatar Emily reply

      Hi Meagan! I just got in touch with Darcy, the bride, and here’s what she said: “We got creative and went on a hunt to find the ties first, then took them to get them monogrammed after the fact. So they weren’t all made and stitched by the same company. The ties were Neiman Marcus, and I got the embroidery done in Sarasota at V&J Embroidery (who usually offers a printable online coupon!). The font I used was MACHINE. She also monogrammed all of my bridesmaids’ vintage hankies.” Hope that helps!

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  10. avatar Heather reply

    Beautiful wedding! Anyone know where the bridesmaid dresses are from? They are stunning!

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  15. avatar Lisa reply

    Love those hankies! Where are they from???

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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