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I think I hold my breath for the full week leading up to each photo shoot day, hoping and praying that we’ll be blessed with beautiful weather. Thankfully, because of our sunny Southern clime, we usually get our wish. But sometimes we don’t — and the result can still be beautiful! Even though the day of our Berry Bliss shoot was gray and chilly, we were still able to make some Southern Weddings magic happen. Big thanks to Graham Terhune for capturing the work that went into making the final images oh-so-lovely!

Most photo shoot days start with many deliveries — flowers and chocolate and paper, oh my!

There’s usually lots of ironing and sorting and unpacking, too. We were thankful to have our spring intern, Jessica, on hand to help with this one! We even did a little repotting of geraniums for our table centerpiece!

My go-to plan is to shoot any still elements (paper suites, bouquets, boutonnieres) inside in the morning while we set larger elements up and models get prepped. That way, we save the best light (afternoon!) for the people and table! And oh yes — you know who’s setting up the table. And hauling the table. And loading and unloading the table (and everything else).

Though we have a general idea of how everything’s going to look, I like to wait until the actual day to make final decisions and consider a few options for things like linens and table settings. Things can definitely look different when they’re next to each other and not just photos or ideas on paper! Happily, we had Whitney’s sweet puppy to distract us from our careful consideration!

We had some pretty cute human models, too, including Mr. Pax and his mama MacKenzie. It was all hands on deck for redheads at this shoot!

Even Miss Grace came to observe!

Did I mention that we do a lot of carrying and holding on shoot days? These next few photos should illustrate that pretty well. Let’s just say my back was a little sore the next day from all that crouching! But we do it all with a smile, because it really is fun :)

Up next: The finished photos, and a SUPER awesome giveaway you won’t want to miss!

Graham Terhune is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

emily Written with love by Emily
  1. avatar Emily Lawrence reply

    Cate you look beautiful!!! Miss my Southern Weddings gals :)

  2. avatar Jennifer Buenviaje reply

    We love this! Graham, we’ll have to get some copies of all that gorgeous hair and makeup for our ports. :)

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Hi, y’all! Squeaking in right at the end of the month is May’s Southern Bride of the Month, Mignon! She is getting married to her love, Thomas, in Alabama this August. I can’t wait for you to learn more about her and the wedding she’s planning through her interview and photos!

Hi! What’s your name?
Mignon Arrington

What’s your fiancé’s name?
Thomas Lunsford

Graham Terhune

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story.
Thomas and I both went to college at UNC, and while we had a lot of mutual friends and lived in the same apartment complex, our paths never crossed until the spring of our junior year. I was out with some friends one night and got separated from the group. Luckily, I ran into another friend (now bridesmaid!) who was headed over to a party at Thomas’s apartment and offered to walk me home since we were headed in the same direction. Instead of going home, though, I went to Thomas’s party, where we met for the first time. A few nights later, Thomas very chivalrously saved me from the advances of some less than desirable gentlemen, and won my heart in the process. We’ve been inseparable ever since!

Now tell us alllll about the proposal.
We got engaged on June 19, 2011. I had moved home for the summer for work and went back up to Chapel Hill for our friends’ wedding (the bride was the same friend who had introduced Thomas and me 4 years earlier!). That Saturday morning, while I was getting ready for the wedding, Thomas snuck back to his house in Durham where he decorated his entire place in orange flowers – my favorite color! The morning after the wedding, we stopped by his house before he took me to the airport. When I opened the door, I saw all the beautiful flowers, but I still wasn’t sure what was going on. He had made a trail of love notes and rose petals leading from the living room to the bedroom, with the final note lying on the bed in the middle of a heart made out of roses. I read each note along the trail—tearing up more with each one and beginning to understand what was about to happen! When I turned around after reading the last note, Thomas was down on one knee! It was beautiful – I’m actually not sure I ever said yes because I was crying so hard!

Graham Terhune

When’s the big day?
August 4, 2012

Where might you two be tying the knot?
We are getting married in Birmingham at my childhood church, the Cathedral Church of the Advent, and having the reception at the Birmingham Museum of Art.

How did you pick your ceremony and reception venues? What do you love most about each space?
There was never a doubt in my mind that I wanted to have the ceremony at The Advent. I have been going there since I was born and think is it such a stunning and majestic church. It has the most beautiful stained glass windows and a nice, long aisle so I can fully take in the excitement of the ceremony as I walk to meet Thomas at the altar! The museum was an easy choice too – I love how open and clean the space is. There is a beautiful staircase that descends in front of a large, floor-to-ceiling window overlooking the museum garden where Thomas and I will make our grand entrance into the reception as husband and wife – I think I am most excited about that tableau! It is also just across the street from The Advent, separated only by a park. I love the idea of our guests not having to travel much to get to the reception – no time for the celebration or excitement to dwindle!

The Birmingham Museum of Art, where Mignon and Thomas’s reception will be!

Who or what has been most inspiring in the wedding planning process?
Thomas has been my biggest source of inspiration. He has been so unbelievably patient and understanding throughout the entire planning process and really helps me remember what our wedding is all about – getting to spend the rest our lives together! Getting to talk to him and discuss our relationship and future together helps remind me of what we as a couple are truly about, and it is that expression of love and individualism that I really want our wedding to convey. He keeps me grounded and excited which is the best inspiration a girl could ask for!

Who or what has been most helpful in the wedding planning process?
My mother has been amazing throughout the entire wedding planning process! I honestly don’t think I could have done any of the planning or coordinating without her! Because I was in school in North Carolina while trying to plan a wedding in Alabama, she had to take on a lot of the responsibility of contacting and meeting with vendors. She has done an incredible job and has been completely gracious every step of the way – we have somewhat different tastes and ideas about how things should look, and she has always deferred to my choices in making decisions to ensure the wedding is everything I envision. She’s been incredible!

Pretty hairstyles that are inspiring Mignon! The photo on the left is by Ai-ling Chang via Whimsical Wonderland Weddings (updo by Tiffony Simpson of Ony Salon) and the one on the right is by Christina Watkins.

Which part of your wedding are you most invested in?
The pictures. I want to make sure that I remember every last detail of the day, and I think pictures are the best way to do that. I also think that pictures allow a couple to convey the wedding’s uniqueness and personality that they’ve worked so hard to create. I have spent countless hours thinking about the timeline of when various pictures need to be taken, where certain shots should be, and who needs to be included in each photo. It’s exhausting, but I want to make sure that each moment is captured! Of course, having an amazing photographer definitely helps, and I have complete faith that our photographer will get plenty of priceless shots that will make it all worth it!

Have you picked your dress yet? How’d that go? What will you be wearing on the big day?
My dress was one of the first decisions I made! My mother and I found it last summer, maybe just two weeks after I got engaged. It was one of the first dresses I tried on and even though I tried on a lot of other dresses, I kept going back to that one. When I tried it on, Mama and I both got teary eyed – it’s just perfect! It’s from the Grace Kelly collection and is everything I wanted in a dress – elegant, (hopefully) timeless, and not overly flashy. I don’t want to reveal too much, because I want it to be a complete surprise to the groom.

Floral inspiration that’s inspiring Mignon! The photo on the left is by Jennifer Lindberg (bouquet by Stems Custom Floral) and the photo on the left is by Aaron Delesie (arrangement by Flower Wild).

Who is your favorite vendor you’ve booked so far?
My photographer, Graham Terhune. Graham is a close friend of ours, and I am so excited for him to capture our wedding day. He is great behind the camera, but more than that, he is one of the kindest and most down-to-earth people I know, which makes everyone he shoots comfortable and at ease in front of the camera.

What do you love most about Southern weddings?
The tradition. I love that there are certain elements of the big day that Southern brides have been doing for centuries! For my wedding, I am wearing my grandmother’s garter that all the other women in my family have worn – it’s tradition!

Do you have a favorite Etsy store you’d love to tell us about?
I love LovliDay Wedding Designs and Family Trees. Jessica Steury, the shop owner, was so easy to work with and made an amazing vintage movie-style poster for us to use at the entrances to the reception. It is the perfect touch to tie together the Old Hollywood feel of the reception that we are going for!

Another pretty bouquet favorite of Mignon’s, this photo by Bonnie Berry via Elizabeth Anne Designs

What has been the biggest challenge so far in wedding planning?
Managing the stress! You don’t realize until you are planning your own wedding just how many things there are to coordinate and consider. It is definitely overwhelming at times and managing that stress has been a huge challenge for me – especially since it came during my last year of law school!

What do you wish you would have known at the beginning of your engagement?
The longer the engagement, the more time you have to change your mind and obsess over things. A short engagement not only means that you get to be married sooner (!) but also that you have less time to stress and fret over the details.

What are you most looking forward to on your wedding day?
There are two moments in particular that I can’t wait for: (1) Our first look when I get to see Thomas for the first time in our wedding attire and (2) Our first dance – sharing that moment as husband and wife with all our friends and family looking on – I get butterflies in my stomach just thinking about it

Beautiful first dance captured by Jonathan Canlas via Southern Weddings

Any plans for a honeymoon? Where do you want to go and what will you do?
We are going to Northern California for our honeymoon – neither of us has ever been to that part of the country before. We are spending three nights in Sonoma, then driving down the coast to Monterrey for a few nights and then finishing up the trip in San Francisco. Thomas and I love nature and food, so hopefully the trip will be filled with both of those things!

Question for y’all: What would you like to see us ask our Southern Brides of the Month? Is there a particular question we’re not asking that you’d find interesting or helpful? Please comment and let us know!!

Thank you so much for playing along, Mignon! 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!

P.S. Ready for more? Check out these posts:
Another Birmingham Southern Bride of the Month
Another Birmingham wedding in an art gallery
Graham Terhune’s wedding!

Graham Terhune is a fabulous member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

emily Written with love by Emily
1 Comment
  1. avatar Graham reply

    YAY Mignon and Thomas!!! So happy to see Mignon as a Southern Weddings Bride of the Month! I cannot WAIT for August 4th!!! :)

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!

Reply to: