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Stephanie + Erik’s color palette pulls at my heartstrings! I love the way the similar tones mix together like an eclectic Valentine’s Day in October. The confetti and the watercolor heart notes? I die! The details aren’t just cute, though, they’re also heartfelt and thoughtful. Stephanie’s aunt surprised the couple with a multi-flavored cupcake tower, each individually decorated and looking scrumptious! The sweet treats continued with favors. The newlyweds sent their guests home with local honey that was made from the nectar of flowers on the grounds of their wedding venue at Glen Ella Springs Inn. I love how connected the treats are to the couple and their big day! Thanks again to Kate Byars for sharing!

Describe your wedding cake or dessert: Terri at Watts Farmhouse made us a three-tiered traditional wedding cake, along with several tarts. She even made some gluten free (Erik and I are both gluten free) and they were absolutely delicious. Additionally, my aunt made us a gorgeous multi-tiered cupcake tower. She hand crafted each of the cupcakes and had several flavors. It was beautiful and the sweetest surprise ever when she drove five hours with the cake for us as a wedding surprise.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Erik and I are both from the Atlanta area, so it meant a lot to us to get married in Georgia. We chose The Glen Ella Springs Inn because it is absolutely beautiful and charming in a Southern kind of way. We also included some Arabic traditions into our wedding, as my father is Arabic. We had “Arabic style” food and Arabic music/dancing, which all of our guests really enjoyed.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? I think the biggest challenge was not taking on too much. There are so many wonderful ideas out there for weddings that I ended up with a very long list of things I wanted to have. It was a challenge narrowing down the list so that we could stay within budget, while still having the wedding of our dreams and incorporating meaningful details. In the end, everything was absolutely perfect and I think we made the right decisions, with some great help from Ginny and Kate.
What range did your wedding budget fall into? Our wedding cost right around $40,000.
What are the things you are most happy you splurged on? The venue and food. Food, in general, is very important to the two of us, so it was a non-negotiable for us to have the best food possible. One of the biggest reasons we chose Glen Ella as our venue is that they have an award winning chef and they were willing to work with us on a custom Arabic-style menu for our wedding. The food was fantastic, so it was definitely worth it! We loved our amazing photographer, Kate, who also did our engagement shoot. She captures moments beautifully and I am so thankful we will have the most amazing pictures to remember our day by. A good photographer will be one of the biggest wedding day expenses, but it’s absolutely worth it! The wedding only lasts one day, but these pictures are forever. We were also happy to splurge on Ginny, our wedding stylist. I travel often for work and was limited on the time I could spend making all of the hand-crafted details for our wedding. Working with Ginny, I was able to craft my vision for the wedding and work with Ginny to make sure it all looked exactly how I wanted it. She helped me narrow down the hundreds of ideas I had for the wedding into a cohesive selection that would work well together. Without Ginny, a lot of the personal touches from our wedding day wouldn’t have happened.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? There are so many, it’s hard to choose! My dad isn’t one to speak publicly very often. He is the only person we asked to speak at our reception and his words brought the house down. I will never forget his kind words to both of us and the look in his eyes as he spoke. It was truly moving. He’s the best.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Throughout your planning process, keep in mind that at the end of the day, all that matters is that you are going to be married to your soul mate. Just think about that every time you get stressed out about some tiny detail. Also, take a moment during your reception to step back, take a breath, and watch the magic around you. I am so happy we did it. It was amazing to look around the reception and see all of our nearest and dearest celebrating our special moment. Remember to appreciate all the people that love you and support you throughout the process. They are such an important part of the special day and I think you can never say “thank you” enough to those that help you through this process.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? We bought a house in Grant Park, a historic neighborhood in Atlanta. We are enjoying being married and are looking forward to continuing to travel!

Photographer: Kate Byars // Videographer: Nora Figlia // Day of coordinator: Misty Paige // Stylist: Ginny Branch Stelling // Venue: Glen Ella Springs Inn // Florist: Ginny Branch Stelling // Wedding Cake Baker: Terri Watts of Watts Farmhouse // Caterer: Glen Ella Springs Inn // Rentals and Linens: Glen Ella Springs Inn // Paper Products: Ginny Branch Stelling // Bride’s Dress: Matthew Christopher from Gabriella New York // Bride’s Hair Accessories/Veil: Gracylu Originals and // Bride’s Shoes: Butter // Bridesmaids’ Dresses: J.Crew // Accessories: vintage and Bloomingdales // Invitation Suite: Christy Thiessen // Hair & Makeup: Scoobie West // Photobooth design & props, Reception garlands, Aisle Runner, and Love Always sign: Erica Loesing // Groom’s suit: Sid Mashburn

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
  1. avatar Wedding Reception Venues reply

    All the images seem to speak about how wonderful the wedding turned out to be. Very romantic!

  2. avatar Motherly Advice: DIY Weddings « reply

    […] photo credit -Kate Byars via Pinterest via Southern Wedding Magazine […]

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You know a Southern bash is good when the cops get called for a noise complaint! Mary + Austin’s reception was full of sweet love, good food and acoustic guitar jam sessions! Now that’s a wedding I’d love to be a guest at. Aside from being a hootin’ and hollerin’ good time, the reception was full of beautiful details. The horseshoes appear again, scattered on the tables, propped up by mason jar vases and in the form of the couple’s initials on the Swiss dotted cake by Annette Marcus. Y’all know I’m string light’s biggest fan, and the chandeliers hanging from these above M + A’s celebration just knock my socks off. Kudos to Ali Harper Photography who captured this pretty wedding and my two favorite shots at the bottom of the post.

See all the photos from Mary + Austin’s wedding in their Real Wedding Gallery!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We were married in a beautiful Methodist church, the very same place where we met and attended preschool. At the reception, mason jars were filled with flowers and candles. We served shrimp and grits, Brunswick stew shooters and mac-n-cheese. My father and I danced to “Georgia on My Mind”. Plus, we had self-serve kegs and acoustic guitar jam sessions. It was so noisy the cops were called!
Describe your wedding cake: It had white pearl dots and custom fondant horseshoe initials designed by me. The inside was yellow cake with buttercream icing and fresh strawberry filling – delicious! The cake topper was actually a pair of cufflinks designed by Alexandra Fenzl, our talented fashion designer friend. Austin also wore them to the rehearsal dinner.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Planning the wedding long distance was quite a challenge, but the help and coordination of our parents was unwavering and made it all possible.
What range did your wedding budget fall into? $15,000-$20,000
What is the one thing you are most happy you splurged on? The invitations! Top-quality printing, multiple pieces and multiple colors really added up…but they truly expressed our energy as a couple and set the tone for the day. Plus, the memory of printing them will last a lifetime.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Playing music together and seeing our loved ones dance along.
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? Yes! Austin’s favorite line was, “You have always been my best friend.” Mine was, “Children adore you, which is why I know you will be a wonderful father.”
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? We can’t wait to get back to our life in NYC, where we’ll continue to build our careers and soak up all amazing energy and culture of the city. In the future we’re looking forward to tackling another city (or two!), and then settling down to raise a family.

Photographer: Ali Harper Photography // Catering & Cake: Annette Marcus // Flowers: Flowercraft and Fuji Floral Design // Paper products: Bride // Hair & Makeup: Louie Lieberman // Reception: private residence // Cake topper: Alexandra Fenzl // Bride’s dress: Lazaro // Veil: Village Bridal & Boutique // Shoes: Michael Shannon // Necklace: Groom’s family heirloom // Groom’s attire: suit by Isaia, shirt and cuff embroidery by Holland & Sherry, cufflinks by Gogo, shoes by To Boot New York // Bridesmaids’ horseshoe necklaces: Beau & Stella // Groomsmen’s ties: Supperclub // Groomsmens’ pocket squares: Jack Spade

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
  1. avatar Shelby Till reply

    Love the horseshoes and the mason jar candle holders! Looked like a great time!

  2. avatar Stefanie reply

    Love the guestbook! How was it made!?

  3. avatar published: southern weddings » ali harper photography reply

    […] Mag published dear Mary & Austin’s sweet backyard wedding yesterday (part I here, part II here). Kudos again to Mary for designing and letter-pressing such a beautiful stationery suite. Being a […]

  4. avatar Fashion Boutique reply

    That cake looks absolutely marvelous, I think a touch of pearls would fit nice on it. :)

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Hello there, readers! June’s Southern Bride of the Month has a plethora of fabulous details to share with you, so let’s get right down to it, shall we? Make sure you read Alison + Cal’s engagement story, too — it’s a long one, but super sweet!

Hi! What’s your name?
Alison Pierce

And who’s your handsome fiancé?
Cal Oxford II

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story.
Cal and I first met while working for the same company a few years ago. He and I worked in a close-knit office and were involved in a few clients together. Honestly, I thought that he was just too good to be true, so I was a bit hesitant at first! Cal has the biggest heart and completely perfect manners. He is the definition of a true Southern gentleman, which has become so rare!

Now tell us alllll about the proposal.
It was such a surprise! I knew that it was coming at some point, but I did not expect it at all when it happened! Cal’s grandmother was celebrating her birthday and wanted more than anything to travel with the family to Nashville and see a show at the Grand Ole Opry. Now, being from Tennessee and loving Nashville and the Grand Ole Opry, this was right up my alley! We had spent a weekend in Nashville a few months earlier and completely fell in love with The Patterson House, a fabulous place for cocktails, and decided that we would see a show at the Opry and afterwards go to The Patterson House for drinks as a family. It was all set and I was so happy to be a part of the birthday weekend!

Little did I know that Cal and his amazing sisters had been working overtime all week to set up the perfect proposal! Cal called The Patterson House a week earlier to tell them his plan and ask for their help. After he finished, the woman on the phone laughed at him and asked if he realized how busy the weekend is for them – he was crushed! But before he could hang up, she stopped him and said that she thought it was really sweet and that they would be on board. That started the ball rolling. During the show at the Opry, I noticed that Cal’s family was very quiet and I just assumed it was because they weren’t big fans of country music. Regardless, I was tapping my toes and having a great time! We left and I could not understand why everyone was hightailing it out of the building! They told me that we had a reservation and that we were going to be late. Little did I know that The Patterson House does not take reservations…except for this special situation.

Once we arrived, Cal’s sister nearly broke her neck trying to jump out of the car so fast, and I took off running after her. She hadn’t been there before, and I thought that she might need some help! She was actually trying to lose me so she could get inside and make sure that everything was set up correctly and that a special, select menu was handed to me. I later learned that Cal’s oldest sister worked with The Patterson House to create a special insert that would be placed in the middle of one menu…my menu. Well, of course I caught up to Cal’s sister and luckily was handed “my” menu. I start flipping through while the rest of the family was still settling in and Cal had not even sat down yet. I did not understand why he was still standing by the side of the table – I was ready to get the party started! Before I knew it, I had completely flipped right past the special insert and started talking about some drinks near the back of the menu! Unbeknownst to me, everyone was on the edge of their seats and Cal’s sister asked me to flip back to the middle of the menu. It was then that I saw it: “Featured Cocktail… Alison, Will You Marry Me?” I threw the menu down and covered my face in complete shock! I peeled my fingers away from one eye and saw Cal down on one knee with tears in his eyes and a beautiful emerald ring. Of course I said yes, and there was not a dry eye at the table! Family is so important to both of us, and having Cal’s family with us for such a special moment was just wonderful! His grandmother had a super fun birthday and we had an amazing weekend!

When’s the big day?
We are getting married on September 10th, 2011. There were a few options for catchy wedding dates this year and 09.10.11 was our choice!

Where might you two be tying the knot?
We will be having both the ceremony and reception outside at Cal’s childhood home. We wanted to be somewhere that felt real to us, and nothing feels more real than home.

Who or what has been most inspiring in the wedding planning process?
Two items have provided inspiration from the very beginning of planning the wedding: cotton bolls and the altar that Cal is building. Those two items were decided on first and have been a consistent theme throughout.

Cotton inspiration images from Jasmine Star

Who or what has been most helpful in the wedding planning process?
Our families! We are all very hands on and everyone has been so wonderful to help with ideas and projects. We absolutely could not have done this without the support of our families!

Has your vision for your wedding changed or evolved over the course of your engagement? If so, how?
The suffocating Georgia heat has changed our vision just a bit! Originally, we wanted to have an uncovered reception with lovely strung lights and hanging Mason jar lanterns, but decided very quickly that we just can’t do that to our guests in early September! A tented reception with lots of fans is what we have planned now. Although, I secretly wish every day that a cold front will come through that weekend and that we will be able to cancel the tent…shhhhh!

Which part of your wedding are you most invested in?
Definitely the food and drink! Cal and I are complete foodies and want our guests to enjoy delicious Southern staples like shrimp and grits and ham biscuits from Gayla Grubbs at Mill Towne Gourmet, classic Southern desserts with a twist like mini peach pies and red velvet cake balls from Lauren Chekanow at Sugar Style Events and creative cocktails including the “Tennessee Tickler” made from Ole Smoky Moonshine! Although the wedding will be in Georgia, there will definitely be a Tennessee presence!

Cheese straws and ham biscuits! (Biscuit photo courtesy of Southern Living)

Have you picked your dress yet? How’d that go?
I was so focused on other details that I waited until the very last minute to go dress shopping! I was so lucky to have one of my best friends with me and she ended up being more help than I ever could have imagined. I had a very good idea about the type of dress I wanted, but once I was trying them on I was completely overwhelmed. In addition, I was running a fever and didn’t even realize it! With the no-nonsense, tough decision making ability of my sweet friend, we were able to decide on the all Spanish lace La Sposa Lituania and I could not be happier!

Alison’s Lilly Pulitzer rehearsal dress and gorgeous emerald engagement ring!

Who is your favorite vendor you’ve booked so far?
I love all of my vendors! They have all truly been wonderful to work with! We are completely anchored by the expertise and guidance of our planner, Ashley Baber. That woman never sleeps! We feel so secure knowing that she is behind everything. In addition to our food and dessert gurus, Jessica with Something Borrowed Vintage Rentals is providing us with the most amazing church pews and other beautiful vintage items, Blake and Jeff with Peachtree Tents and Events are providing the tent and rentals that we need, Anna from Anna and Spencer Photography is our photographer, Tortoise and Hair are performing a few very special songs during the ceremony and family friends The Party Time Band, will be getting everyone moving on the dance floor all night long!

Vintage church pew inspiration from The Found Blog

Do you have a favorite Etsy store you’d love to tell us about?
Etsy has become a new addiction! It was such a pleasure to work with Rachel from Benign Objects on our custom wedding invitations. They turned out beautiful and Rachel was just wonderful!

Custom pieces from Benign Objects. Fun fact: Rachel’s wedding was featured in V3!

What has been the best part of wedding planning? The worst part?
The best part of planning the wedding has been the time Cal and I have spent laughing together while working on projects (although, I know that sometimes we were delirious!) and high-fiving each other when we come up with new and even better ideas. The worst part has been staying focused on completing tasks when we really just want to lie by the pool! That has been so tricky lately!

What has been the biggest challenge so far in wedding planning?
Having a full time career! Working while planning a wedding is exhausting! Time management and updated to-do lists are crucial and even then you are mentally drained. Just last night, I wasn’t sure what was fueling the words that were coming out of my mouth. Honest to goodness, what energy was left to put those sentences together that I was speaking?! Beyond working, creating our save the dates was quite a challenge. We cut wood from the yard where the ceremony and reception will be held and had to trim that wood down to equal sized rounds. Needless to say there were numerous trips to the local home improvement store and many late nights cutting and sanding the rounds and finding the perfect box for them to be mailed. We were never sure that the save the dates would work out, but we were determined!

Milk glass inspiration and Alison + Cal’s handmade save the dates!

What are you most looking forward to on your wedding day?
There is so much I am looking forward to! I am most looking forward to seeing Cal’s face when I walk down the aisle. I get chills just thinking about it! My mother is my best friend and matron of honor and Cal’s father is his best man, so having them there beside us will be a special moment that we will never forget. We are also very excited to dance the night away with our family and best friends and to send them off with homemade peach jam and beer and cider brewed by Cal and me!

Any advice you’d like to pass along to fellow brides?
Start early and plan very little the week of the wedding. Things change and your vision evolves throughout the process, therefore you are always adding more to the list. The more you get done upfront, the more time you have to lie by the pool!

Now it’s your turn to ask for advice – is there anything you’d like to poll the SW readers on?
We cannot decide on a first dance song! Are there any suggestions that would fit with a Southern, vintage wedding?

Thank you so much for playing along, Alison! Readers, if you’d like to apply to be a Southern Bride of the Month, check out this post for all the details! If you’ve already emailed me, you’re still in the running for future months!

The Southern Bride of the Month header was designed by our Assistant Art Director Sierra, with illustration by Curious & Company!

emily Written with love by Emily
  1. avatar Katie B reply

    Wow! It sounds like you two are all geared up for a beautiful fall wedding. It is going to be amazing for sure! I think you gave great advice about planning as much as you can ahead of time and doing very little the week of (let’s see if it works out for you! Much easier said than done haha).

    hmmm, first dance song, What about Under this Harvest Moon? We danced to You and Me by Dave Matthews band and absolutely loved it. First dance songs are so personal, it’s hard to give recommendations! Sweet pea by Amos Lee? Good luck choosing a song!

  2. avatar Jessica reply

    I love that Lilly dress for the rehearsal! I might just have to copy that! Mine is next Friday evening and I think that would be perfect!!

    • avatar Lara reply

      Jessica! You are getting married next week! SO excited for you!!!

  3. avatar Caitlin reply

    What a gorgeous couple! It seems as though you will pull together a gorgeous Southern wedding! Some cute, Southern song choices that I think could work are Thompson Square’s “Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not,” Little Big Town’s “Bring It On Home To Me,” Garth Brooks’ “To Make You Feel My Love,” and The Band Perry’s “All Your Life.” Super cute, super sweet songs! Hope this helps a little bit!

  4. avatar Emily reply

    Your wedding sounds absolutely gorgeous! Great advice on planning too! My fiance and I are dancing to Percy Sledge’s “I’ll Be Your Everything,” which fits with the Motown music that we grew up listening to in the South. My fiance’s sister and her husband recently tied the knot and danced to Ray Lamontagne’s “You are the Best Thing.” It was so sweet. Good luck and best wishes!

  5. avatar Natalia reply

    Wow! This is one wedding I am dying to see come to fruition. Can’t wait to see the outcome!

  6. avatar Emily reply

    I love that someone already suggested Amos Lee. What about “Southern Girl” by Amos Lee?

  7. avatar Lindsey Skye reply

    First Dance Songs:

    Until You by Dave Barnes

    Nothing Fancy by Dave Barnes

    I Have and Always Will by Dave Barnes


    • avatar Emily reply

      Love Dave Barnes, Lindsey! Great suggestion :) This is random, but have you heard his Christmas CD? I’m kind of obsessed with it…

    • avatar Lara reply

      Ditto to that! Love Dave and the Christmas album is the BEST!

    • avatar Lindsey Skye reply

      Emily: I start listening to Dave Barnes Christmas in JULY! :)

    • avatar AshleyHH reply

      Emily: Dave Barnes is AMAZING!! I love him so much. God Gave Me You is another great one for a wedding song.

    • avatar Lindsey Skye reply

      Lindsey Skye: Until You (You, The Night & Candlelight) Version. :)

  8. avatar Kelly reply

    LOVE the church pew ideas and the backyard wedding. Can’t wait to see this all come together! I’m getting married in October and we are still trying to figure out our first dance song as we don’t have “a song”…here are a few ideas… Clink Black – When I said I do, Zac Brown Band – Whatever It Is, Rascal Flatts – I Won’t Let Go, George Strait – I Cross My Heart, Michael Buble – Everything, Jason Mraz – I’m Yours…Good luck!

  9. avatar Alison Pierce reply

    These suggestions are WONDERFUL!! Thank you all!!

  10. avatar Sierra reply

    I wonder if anyone with a wedding recently has played Scotty McCreery’s I Love You This Big. I’m really feeling it right now. And George Strait’s Carrying Your Love With Me is my all time favorite.

  11. avatar Kelli Taylor/Daniel Taylor Photography reply

    The cotton strands–I’m dying. Love them.

  12. avatar Megan reply

    To me, Elvis is the epitome of “southern vintage” in terms of music. I had a friend who danced with her husband to his “Can’t Help Falling in Love” and it was beautiful.

  13. avatar Kelly reply

    I am obsessed with the vintage furniture rental company! I’ve seen a few on blogs around the country-but there are none where I live! I just got married last weekend. My (now) Husband and I danced to “Ain’t no Mountain High Enough” by Marvin Gaye and Tammy Terrell. No one expected something so ‘upbeat’ and everyone had a great time! However, I am currently obsessed with Blake Shelton’s, “Honeybee”. We gave jars of honey as our favors from a honey bee that my fiance bought me a long time ago-she lives on a bee farm in Georgia-so that song would have been perfect! We played it at the end of the night instead! :)

  14. avatar The Menu « Ashley Morgan Arts reply

    […] Image from Southern Weddings […]

  15. avatar Floral Cotton reply

    We have seen cotton used in such awesome ways, but this might be the BEST!

    We provide cotton to wedding planners/florists and other customers! Check us out if you don’t have a supplier!

  16. avatar Inspiration Board: Cotton « einhochzeitsblog reply

    […] und unten rechts: michellelindsayphotography via unitedwithlove, mitte links: Jasmine Star via southern weddings via kaitlin via pinterest, oben rechts: bold american catering via bridal banter, unten mitte: […]

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