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It is sweet enough to know that Erin and Stephen are high school sweethearts, married in a small Georgia town just as spring began to turn into summer, but knowing how much love and thought they put into their wedding makes it all the better. As Erin said, “My number one goal of the wedding was to get married–-anything else would be a bonus! My second goal, however, was to make sure that each and every one of our guests felt appreciated and important.” From the personal, handwritten notes Erin and Stephen wrote to each of their guests, to the family-style meal that was served, we can only imagine how honored each guest felt to be a part of this special day. We were certainly honored to share it in V6!

Big SW hugs to Blue Ribbon Vendor Jeremy Harwell, of Harwell Photography, for sharing Erin and Stephen’s beautiful wedding with us!

We both enrolled in a program that allowed us to take college classes full-time while still in high school, and we met during the college orientation events leading up to the first week of classes. The first event was a meteor shower viewing, where we gazed at the stars until 2 a.m. and hit it off talking about everything from our favorite music and books to our life ambitions. After six years, we still haven’t run out of things to talk about.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. What was your favorite thing about it? I have always loved Grace Kelly’s wedding gown, so when I saw a similar-looking dress in the window, I had to try it on. It was perfect–it didn’t even need any alterations! I guess it was meant to be.

Tell us a bit about the wedding ceremony. What part was most special to you? We were so grateful that a longtime friend and minister was able to officiate our wedding. It made the ceremony that much more personalized and heartfelt. The most special part of our ceremony was taking communion together; it was the perfect way to begin our life as a married couple.
Were there any family traditions you included in the ceremony? My parents had displayed a hand-blown glass dove at their wedding in remembrance my dad’s deceased father. We displayed the same dove during our ceremony to remember him and other family members who have passed away.

Did you have a cocktail hour? If so, what was it like? Yes! We had a wonderful cocktail hour. Immediately after we exited the church, a bluegrass band that was waiting outside began to play. As the guests exited the church, the band strolled down the street playing music and leading our guests to the party! Once at the venue, our guests enjoyed pimento cheese and other local cheeses from Sweet Grass Dairy.

I was lucky enough to get to pick the recipes I wanted to use for the menu, which were simple and delicious! We had all the dishes in big bowls on the table so guests could serve themselves and eat in a fun and relaxed atmosphere.

Groom’s favorite detail of the wedding: From Stephen: The whiskey bar was a really cool touch. The bartender was super friendly and knowledgeable, and he served small tastings so people could try several different whiskeys. Erin’s mom also made an amazing light fixture out of vintage olive baskets that we used above the bar.

What was your reception like? Our reception was in the backyard of the Bed and Breakfast on a grassy lawn next to a beautiful red barn. Trees surrounded the eating area, but the center of the dance floor was completely open to the night sky. We wrote handwritten letters to each of our guests, which also served as escort cards for each guest to find their seat. We had a mix of round tables and long farm tables. The tables surrounded the dance floor, where Goodwin Tents and Events had draped strings of cafe lights to illuminate the reception area. To the side of the dance floor, we had two bars: a “girls” martini bar and a “guys” whiskey-tasting bar! The reception was magical to say the least. I couldn’t believe all that Amy Osaba and our other vendors had done to make the space so breathtaking!

All of the design inspiration for the reception started with my dress! I wanted our reception to have an “organic elegance” to it. Amy Osaba really helped this elegance come to life by pairing silver vases with floral arrangements that looked handpicked from the garden. In terms of color, we used a lot of whites, greens, and gray, but we also included some pops of pink– a very fun and creative touch on Amy’s part!

What was the most memorable or touching moment about your wedding day? Besides getting to marry the man of my dreams, the best part of the wedding was being completely surrounded by the people who love and support us. It was such an overwhelming feeling walking down the aisle and seeing all of the family and friends who had traveled so far to celebrate our wedding. That love and energy was truly amazing.

Tell us about a date you’ll always remember. It was our second date–I was sixteen and had never dated anyone before. He was seventeen, and I thought he was the funniest, smartest, most handsome guy I had ever met. Naturally, I was very nervous. We had a picnic by the Chattahoochee River. He couldn’t have timed the date more perfectly–the sun was setting, the water looked gorgeous, and the crisp fall air had begun to settle in. We finished our dinner, and as the conversation drew quiet, he asked me if I wanted to be his girlfriend. After I said “yes,” he went in for the much-awaited kiss. Our lips barely touched and I burst into tears out of sheer nervousness. Thankfully, he was unfazed, and after calming me down, we got to work “practicing” our kissing skills!
Describe the proposal: I knew we were going to get engaged that winter break, which made it hard for him to surprise me, but he still did! He picked a day full of family events so that I wouldn’t expect it–we had my little brother’s wrestling meet during the day and a family dinner party that night. I arrived home from the wrestling meet to find the house normal as ever, but in my room was a note to get ready for a special night for two. When I had finished getting ready, I opened my door to find the house transformed, with rose petals, candles, and hand-written notes lining the hallway and a beautifully set dinner for two in front of the fireplace. Hands shaking, he got down on one knee. Of course, I said yes!
Tell us about your beautiful engagement ring and how/why your husband (or the two of you!) chose it: My grandmother (who passed away April 2012) left me a beautiful diamond to incorporate in my engagement band. We wanted something that would accentuate the stone’s natural beauty in a classic but unique way. We chose a stunning J.B Star setting that frames the center stone with two pear diamonds.
How many guests attended your wedding? About 175
How did you spend the morning or afternoon before your ceremony? The guys spent their morning relaxing and then went to get old-fashioned, straight-razor shaves! All of the bridal party spent the night before the wedding at the Bed and Breakfast, and the morning of the wedding, we all excitedly strolled to downtown Senoia for a delicious breakfast!
Who was one of the most special guests at your wedding? Whenever I spoke with a wedding vendor, I always told them my number one goal of the wedding was to get married–anything else would be a bonus! My second goal, however, was to make sure that each and every one of our guests felt appreciated and important. In that sense, I would say that each guest was very special to us.
Tell us a bit about your first dance. We danced to “You and Me” by Dave Matthews Band. It’s a really sweet song about following each other to the end of the world and being able to do anything together.
What was the funniest moment? What was the scariest? I’d say the funniest moment would be the bouquet toss. In mid-air, the bouquet hit the lights strung over the dance floor, but that didn’t stop one bridesmaid and a good friend from literally diving onto the floor to get to the fallen flowers before anyone else. There were actually two points during the reception where the power went out completely, but that didn’t stop anyone from continuing to party.
Did you take a honeymoon? If so, where? We were very excited to have some stress-free time to ourselves after the wedding. We honeymooned on Peter Island, a small resort island in the British Virgin Islands. It was relaxing and isolated and serene.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? We are adapting to life in New York City and are enjoying its vibrancy, but we plan to eventually return to the South to settle down and start a family. In the more near future, the things we look forward to most are the simple things, like getting to have breakfast together every morning and taking long walks through Central Park.

Photographer: Harwell Photography / Floral and event design: Amy Osaba Events / Ceremony venue: Senoia United Methodist Church / Reception venue: Veranda Historic Bed and Breakfast Inn / Ceremony coordination and reception food design: Kathy Black / Bride’s dress: Sassi Holford / Bridal salon: Fabulous Frocks of Atlanta / Bride’s accessories: Haute Bride / Bridesmaid dresses: Alfred Sung / Mother of the Bride dress: Mon Cheri / Bridesmaid Dress Salon: J. Andrews Bridal / Alterations: Betty Harrah / Hair and nails: Ici Paris Day Spa and Salon / Makeup: Katie Gant / Cocktail hour band: Sourwood Honey / Cocktail hour appetizers and cheese: Sweet Grass Dairy / Invitation print consultant: The Paperie at Sam Flax / Bartender: Mobile Cocktails ATL / DJ: BeatHouse Productions / Cake: Blooming Flour Bakery / Tables, chairs, dance floor, lighting: Goodwin Rentals / Bars, highboys, serving dishes: Peachtree Tent and Events / Paper Products: Designs by Robyn Love / Calligrapher: Donna Dow / Linens: I Do Linens / Gallery artwork and map watercolor: Georgia Water Color Society / Monogrammed napkins: Mactees Inc

Harwell Photography is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
12 Comments
  1. avatar Kristin reply

    Hand-written letters to each guest? I LOVE this personal detail. And of course, I an 100% on board with Erin’s goals in planning her wedding!!

  2. avatar Nicole reply

    This was such a beautiful story! Love the photos too! Added one to my wedding board on Pinterest! xoxo

  3. avatar Kat reply

    Beautiful wedding!! Such a perfect mix of classic & playful. Love it!

  4. avatar Emily reply

    So, so many details to love in this wedding, from their beautifully-wrapped bread to their citrus cake! Love them all, and this sweet couple!

  5. avatar Dana reply

    very pretty flowers and such a silly second date story!

  6. avatar Erin & Stephen | harwell photography reply

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  7. avatar Jeremy Harwell reply

    I am so honored to have this beautiful wedding on Southern Weddings! Erin & Stephen were such an amazing couple to work with, and the vendors involved provided such beauty for me to photograph! Thanks so much for the post!

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  11. avatar Katie reply

    Such a beautiful wedding! I love the vintage get-away car. Can you please let me know that vendor?
    Thanks!!!

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Welcome back for more purple prettiness, y’all! Let’s dive right in!

Eddie said her favorite design element was either the dinner tables or candy station. While the candy station is divine, I’d have to go with the tables! Come on! Look at the ghost chairs plus that fantastic petal-adorned white linen! Major swoon! I also love how Eddie used feminine design details, like the lace runner and light lavender napkins, to compliment the industrial-ness of King Plow.

We’re so thankful Harwell Photography shared this lovely lavender day with us!

Oh my fun! What a great way to do the table numbers! Love the balloons!

That linen – oh my!

We stuck to the down home country/city feel that probably only makes sense in a place like Atlanta! It was hot, the kids were playing, guest were drinking and visiting, and overall, everyone had a great time! We followed that up with a post-wedding BBQ the next day at our house. It was the best time I’ve had spending time with friends and family.

How much fun does a post-wedding BBQ with all your friends and family sound?!

I remember Jordan being extremely nervous because he is not a dancer! I chose Freddie Jackson’s “You Are My Lady” because its one of his favorite songs and I thought it would relax him. He did well.

The cotton candy was like nothing I had ever tasted before! Coming from a town where the yearly fair was “must do,” you could probably guess that I have eaten lots of cotton candy!

Y’all may not know this, but our very own Kristin is an avid county fair fan! She hasn’t missed one in many many years!

What was your reception like?  Fun, easy, kid-friendly!
Did you have a cocktail hour?  Yes we did! The open bar kept all of our guests happy while the room was flipped.
What kind of food did you serve during the cocktail hour, dinner and dessert? Sliders, petite deserts and finger foods.
Favorite design element of your big day: I would have to say that it was probably the dinner tables and the candy “guest favors” station. The cotton candy was like nothing I had ever tasted before! Coming from a town where the yearly fair was “must do,” you could probably guess that I have eaten lots of cotton candy!
Describe your wedding cake: It was all white with white cake and had a large white garden rose that cascaded down the side.
What was the scariest? When I first walked out with my dad. I wasn’t sure if I was going to smile or cry! I made it with no tears and was surprisingly relaxed!
What was the biggest challenge you faced when planning your wedding? Trying to keep the budget down. We had to decide what was important to both of us for our special day. As a woman, you realize quickly that all of those wedding fantasies you’ve had in your head for all of these years really aren’t necessities, especially when you’re over budget!
What range did your budget fall into? $50,000-$75,000
Did you take a honeymoon? Yes! We went to the Amalfi coast of Italy!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future?   We are raising our sons, working on one more addition to our family and working hard to maintain successful businesses in our community.
What advice would you give to someone planning his or her wedding?  Relax, try not to sweat the small things, and remember that if you don’t have it done by the week of, not to stress yourself out. Just let it go. Things will still turn out perfectly!

Harwell Photography is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
7 Comments
  1. avatar Kris reply

    Holy cow, it’s all so beautiful! I’m in purple heaven! I wish I could have been a guest at this one :)

  2. avatar Tali reply

    Your cake is gorgeous and that dress on you…. stunning! Congrats!

  3. avatar Lauren reply

    Thanks for the feature! Loved being part of this amazing wedding!

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Welcome back to part two of Kalen + Parks’ fab Real Wedding from V5! Kalen described their pink + gold reception at the Old Edwards Inn as a “gigantic party with a big dancing crowd and lots of cheerful faces.” Now that sounds like the kind of wedding I’d love to attend!

Together with their designer Calder Clark, K + P mixed elegant community tables with small plates stations of yummy Southern food to create a laid-back atmosphere where guests felt at home. Along with the gorgeous blooms, I can’t help but adore their uber-Southern dance floor that Calder created using old white oak fumed gray and stencils. And you know we SW gals can’t help but love their background of gold paillettes!

Special thanks to Jeremy at Harwell Photography for making us feel like we were there celebrating right along with Kalen + Parks!

The reception was a traditional Southern station-style dinner, so there wasn’t a formal cocktail hour. After the ceremony, guests entered the pavilion through floral-lined fabric drapes and perched at the barn wood topped community table or lounged on our furniture vignettes while they listened to the cocktail pianist, enjoyed cocktails and passed hors d’oeuvres and hung gold glitter tags filled with their well-wishes on our antler sign-in wall. When we entered the pavilion after post-ceremony pictures, guests gathered around to watch our first dance, then enjoyed some traditional (with a twist) Southern food, and danced the night away…until it was time to go to the after party!

What is the one thing that made your wedding different from anyone else’s wedding? What wasn’t different?! The Robinson and Keys families both like to be different. I am so glad I went with a place that was rustic and charming. Anyone can do a ballroom wedding. Calder Clark Designs turned a rustic location into a romantic plethora of enchantment. Everything from the food, to the atmosphere, to the setting and the timeline was different — which is exactly what we wanted.
Did you include any Southern traditions in your wedding? We had a groom’s cake at the rehearsal dinner that was a replica of the Nikes Parks gave our wedding party. I did a cake pull at my bridesmaids’ luncheon. Parks’ dad was his best man.

What was your reception like? A gigantic party with a big dancing crowd and lots of cheerful faces. It was a mash-up of elegant community tables with small plates stations of exquisite food, then tons of silly touches like neon Kanye sunglasses to help everyone let their hair down (this crowd didn’t need that much help!).
Describe some of the decorations or décor elements you used: Our designer, Calder Clark dreamed up incredible raw gray barn wood bars with crusty old Victorian corbels. She had an artist hand-paint these raw linen slipcovers for our furniture vignettes and had our florist build oversized gray wood pergolas dripping with Southern blooms hanging over folks’ heads in little lounges in the corners of the room. Calder designed a dance floor that was old white oak fumed gray and appliqued with this Anthropologie-esque stencil — it was totally cool and very “us.” We even had a band backdrop made of giant gold paillettes.

What advice would you give to someone planning his or her wedding? Am I allowed to say “Hire Calder Clark Designs?” I think I was super level-headed about the reason we were there. It was about Parks and me committing ourselves to each other for the rest of our lives. Who cares about a flower or a menu or lighting? At the end of the day, the people around us were the most important part — even though our flowers, menu and lighting were all exquisite!! The memories are the most important part because nine times out of ten, you look back on even the stressful moments and just laugh. Also, when you are making decisions, make the decision and move forward. Don’t go back and change things. You can keep making decisions for months, but the bottom line is no one is going to notice if the centerpiece was perfect or not. They will remember how in love you were with your hubby on your first night of being married. Stay rational!

Our cake was a five -tiered confection with an interior of pink butter cake and mocha mousse filling. The base layer of the cake was covered in gold buttercream and the other four tiers were iced with buttercream in ombre shades of pink. The cake was garnished with a few delicate sugar flowers and simple gold bands between each of the tiers.

I found the song “Home” when the infamous father-daughter duo put it on YouTube. I loved the lyrics, so I Google searched the song. Whenever I get down, Parks will just look at me with a smile and say “Holy moly me oh my” and it never ceases to make me smile. It soon turned into that, when I was down, we ended up dancing around the house to the song. It’s a fun song but means a lot so we chose it as our first dance. We wanted to have fun with our dance and we did. During the most stressful moments of planning, it felt good to go to dance lessons and just let it go.

What were some of the highlights? Watching people have the best time ever. I kept trying so hard to soak it all in. We would be dancing and I would just look around. I remember every single moment so vividly.
Were there any family traditions you included in the reception? Parks and I used the same sterling toasting goblets that his parents used for their wedding.
Did you try anything new or untraditional? We kept it simple and had fun. I didn’t want anyone to ever feel that they were supposed to be somewhere or wonder if they were allowed to go get a drink. I wanted them to feel at home. Go get a bite to eat, go get a drink, go dance the night away. Just have fun!
Tell us about your grand exit. Guests lined up outside of the pavilion and showered us with metallic mylar pom-poms as we ran toward the vintage Rolls Royce positioned outside.
Did you include any Southern traditions in your wedding? We had a groom’s cake at the rehearsal dinner that was a replica of the Nikes Parks gave our wedding party. I did a cake pull at my bridesmaids’ luncheon. Parks’ dad was his best man.
What was Southern about your wedding? Our guests had welcome bags full of trucker hats, bourbon balls, Garden & Gun, Barker’s Mill grits, Fat Buddies BBQ sauce, and more!
Best advice or most memorable comment someone made to you during the wedding celebration. A good ol’ cowboy friend of my dad’s came up to us and said “Hey y’all! Some say marriage is hard. It ain’t hard if you don’t let it be. Just enjoy it and be happy with each other.” That advice has really stuck in my head. Don’t make it hard. Learn to communicate, give, take and just be happy. Parks’ dad also reminded us to never go to bed angry.
Who was your favorite vendor and why? Calder Clark Designs. Calder and Caitlin became so much more than a vendor. They became friends and mentors. They are family now. I remember Calder saying that to me the first day I talked to her on the phone, “My brides become my friends.” I thought it was just a selling point or something she says to all her brides. Not true. To me, they became way more than friends. I knew that through the wedding planning and on the wedding weekend, I had NOTHING to worry about because I knew that Calder and Caitlin would make it perfect. They made me a very calm and happy bride that could just focus on me and my husband and our guests all weekend. I would really like my sister or brother to get engaged so that I can spend another year with them!

Harwell Photography is a fabulous member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
15 Comments
  1. avatar invitation consultants reply

    the rose ‘curtains’ are absolutely amazing! what a fabulous fête!

  2. avatar Emily reply

    Those flower curtains must have been amazing to walk through!!

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  6. avatar στολισμός γάμου reply

    Just perfect! wish you the best

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  13. avatar Στολισμοί γάμου reply

    Great place and deco!

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