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Today we’re thrilled to share our tenth anniversary cover editorial, Azalea Romance!

Let me tell you a secret… when it comes to our editorials, we all have favorites! And if you know me at all, you know that this one was destined to always and forever be mine. From the memories we made at the shoot to how stunning it turned out to the way the story intersects with my own, I can’t help it: I’m smitten.

Growing up in Mobile, Alabama I always dreamed I’d be an Azalea Trail Maid — I even dressed up as one for Halloween one year! When Emily shared in one of our early editorial meetings that we were staging an editorial in my hometown AND that it would be inspired by this historic institution, I was thrilled. Throughout the months of planning, we worked to create a modern representation of the colorful dresses and antebellum style the Maids are known for, and I have to say that our bride’s look — the skirt of an Amsale gown combined with a Heidi Elnora lace crop top — was just one of the places where all the pieces came together perfectly.

Shot at the historic Fort Conde Inn, we had so much fun working with fellow Alabama gals Invision Events to bring this sweet story to life!

Thank you so much to our dear friend Anna Shackleford for capturing these joyful photos! See the whole feature in Southern Weddings 10, on newsstands now and in the Southern Weddings Shop!

Happy launch day, y’all!!

My talented friend Brittany Massey made all my Southern girl hair and makeup dreams come true with our model’s fresh and feminine makeup, and our bride’s voluminous waves!

Y’all, when I say these bridesmaids’ dresses were a labor of love, I am not kidding. Emily and I worked for months to find just the perfect combination of color and style to represent the Trail Maids. We even had the darling Mary Kendall from Bella Bridesmaids Mobile bring two of these gowns just a few short hours before we started shooting!

We even had my own mama create a dress patch to honor the sisterhood of the Azalea Trail Maids. It might be one of my personal favorite details!

Y’all, it is legitimately not possible for our real-life husband and wife models to be any cuter! They were so much fun to work with and their love for each other is such a great addition to this feature.

I think bright and poppy florals that Laura from Marked created are such a happy addition to the neutral linens and gold detailing!

Y’all! These two. That dress. I can’t.

Want to see more of this beauty in print? You’re in luck! Our Tenth Anniversary issue is officially on newsstands today! We’ve packed this issue with real weddings from every corner of the South, beautiful love stories, Southern editorials, your favorite wedding vendors, practical wedding planning tips, and insightful marriage advice, and we hope you love her as much as we do! Head to your local bookstore or Target to find her on newsstands, or purchase your copy from the shop so you don’t have to hunt her down! We hope you love her as much as we do!

Planner and Stylist: Invision Events | Photographer: Anna Shackleford | Film Processing: Richard Photo Lab | Venue: The Fort Conde Inn | Portrait Location: Bellingrath Gardens | Florals: Marked | Hair and Makeup: Hair and Makeup by BBM | Desserts: Elisabeth and Butter | Cake: Lush Cakery | Vintage Rentals: Southern Vintage | Chair Rentals: Crush Event Design | Table Linen: Party Tables Linen and Drapery | Custom Napkins and Wine Bag: The French Table | Paper Goods: Holly Hollon for Dixie Design | Croquet Set: Blue Eyed Yonder | Bride’s Gown: “Saylor” by Amsale | Bride’s Topper: “Chloe Crop Top Extended” by Heidi Elnora | Bridesmaid Dresses: “Maggie” in Scarlet Begonias and Summertime by Joanna August and “The Off the Shoulder Gown” in Fuchsia and Azalea by Natalie Deayala from Bella Bridesmaids Mobile | Gloves: David’s Bridal | Parasols: Luna Bazaar | Custom Parasol Painting: Momental Designs | Pearl Bracelets and Necklace: Kiel James Patrick | Pearl Earrings: BHLDN | Hat: ASOS | Ring Box: The Mrs. Box | Groom’s Attire: The Black Tux | Pocket Square: Kaye Hannabuss Textiles

marissa Written with love by Marissa
3 Comments
  1. avatar Shelby S. reply

    I love it! Can’t wait to pick up my copy of V10 this evening after work!!

  2. avatar Courtney reply

    It’s beyond magical! <3

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Friends, it is with great joy and only a few butterflies that I introduce you to… the Southern Weddings Tenth Anniversary cover!!!

It was no small task choosing an image that sums up not only this beautiful issue but ten whole years of our work and our heart, but friends… I think we did it :)

Because you know what? In the end, it comes down to love. Real love — not airbrushed love, not perfect love, but love that grows with you, love that sustains you for a lifetime, love that adds beauty and dimension to every facet of your life.

After ten years, if you’ve learned nothing else from us, we hope that you’ve joined us in this: the belief that cultivating what matters, right where you are — as a Southerner, as an engaged gal, as a bride, as a wife — it matters. It can change the world, starting with the world of your union, and then rippling out from there.

Ashley and David are a real, dear couple to us, with a real marriage, a real love, and real joy. We’re thrilled to have them on our cover, standing in for every perfectly imperfect story we’ve had the honor of touching over the last decade.

Our tenth anniversary cover doesn’t look like every other one you’ll see on newsstands, and we love that. We believe weddings should be filled with joy (heyyyy, Joyful Wedding Planner!), and so we chose the most joyful image we could to represent Volume 10. We knew it was the one as soon as we saw Anna Shackleford’s final images come back from the lab (thank you, Richard Photo Lab!!).

The sweetest part? This wasn’t even a planned “pose,” or one we had on our shot list. It was taken at the end of the day, after we had wrapped up shooting and were walking back to our supplies. David scooped up his bride to carry her over the grass, and Anna snapped a few last shots.

And y’all? This cover is important, but it’s just the beginning. Our tenth anniversary issue is packed full of content that will spur you on to create your own legacy of a strong, rich, joyful marriage through 12 real weddings, seven editorials, practical planning advice, and an entire section devoted to newlywed life.

Our official release is three weeks from today (Thursday the 9th!), but preorders are open now! They’ll ship a few days before our newsstand launch date, and include a bundle of extra goodies we think you’ll love!

THANK YOU, ANNA AND THE INVISION EVENTS TEAM!!!

In the meantime, we’re DYING to know: What do y’all think??? Are you as excited about our tenth anniversary issue as we are? :)

Planner and Stylist: Invision Events | Photographer: Anna Shackleford | Film Processing: Richard Photo Lab | Venue: The Fort Conde Inn | Portrait Location: Bellingrath Gardens | Florals: Marked | Hair and Makeup: Hair and Makeup by BBM | Bride’s Gown: “Saylor” by Amsale | Bride’s Topper: “Chloe Crop Top Extended” by Heidi Elnora | Pearl Earrings: BHLDN | Groom’s Attire: The Black Tux | Pocket Square: Kaye Hannabuss Textiles

P.S. A walk down memory lane… the V9 cover reveal (plus a fun video!), the V8 cover reveal, the V7 cover reveal, and the V6 cover reveal (including one of my favorite cover stories ever!)!

Anna Shackleford, Invision Events, Marked, the Heidi Elnora Atelier, and Hair and Makeup by BBM are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

emily Written with love by Emily
9 Comments
  1. avatar Morgan Cox reply

    Love it!!! The joy on their faces captures what a wedding day is all about. I married my husband four months ago, and was surprised when my favorite images weren’t the careful planned design images, but the ones that captured our true emotions of the day. Can’t wait to get this issue in my hands!

  2. avatar Kyla Shattuck reply

    LOVE IT! And eagerly counting down the days until the launch!

  3. avatar Stephanie Shaul reply

    AHH!!! Ladies, it is BEAUTIFUL!!!!! So, so radiantly joyful and euphoric. And I can just feel their love!

    Stunning work, as always! I can’t wait to get it in my hands!!

  4. avatar Madeline reply

    Oh my lanta!! This cover radiates joy and embodies everything I feel SW stands for. A heartfelt congratulations to y’all, from a HUGE fan and Charleston reader.

  5. avatar Christina Frederick reply

    You all have done it again! As an avid SW fan from issue one I can honestly say that your heart for true love and what matters most has evolved in to an amazing collection of goodness! Each issue is always better than the last, yet they all hold tight to truth and beautiful stories of love. Bravo for coming so far, yet staying so true! Congratulations to the cover team, the issue is beautiful and I can’t wait to see what’s inside!
    xo Christina

  6. avatar Amy reply

    This cover is so beautiful!! What a sweet moment! Congrats on 10 years!!! Can’t wait to celebrate with you!

  7. avatar Janna Toruno reply

    Ohmigoodness! It’s gorgeous! Also her red nails are making me consider a not so usual bridal color on mine for my October 2018 wedding! :)

  8. avatar Dana reply

    Love it! Y’all have chosen yet another BEAUTIFUL and PERFECT cover!!! Counting down the days to read V10!

  9. avatar Kristin reply

    I love the cover! I feel like I got engaged at the right time to get to have so many great resources and gorgeous ideas from y’all! I love being able to incorporate all of the great ideas from real brides into my special day!

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As I read through Emily and Matthew’s interview, “relationships” was the word that kept coming to my mind. Along with making sure their wedding was a great opportunity for their loved ones to connect (“there were plenty of places for the guests to dance, eat, or catch up with friends and family, whether that was on the dance floor, in the barn, in rocking chairs by the outdoor fireplace, or while playing cornhole in the grass”), Emily and Matthew also carved out time during the day for just the two of them. Their first look and private dinner, both right by the river, look like such special moments that I know they’ll cherish forever!

Thanks so much to Clark Brewer and Invision Events for sharing this beautiful day with us!

Laura McCarty did an AMAZING job on all of the florals. The inspiration for my bouquet was white-toned garden flowers, including white cloud, majolica roses, peonies, Juliet roses, and pops of blush peonies and dahlias. We also loved the greenery she used around the chandelier in the barn and on the wedding party table.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Yes! We wanted to do a first look for two reasons. One, it was more practical to see each other before the ceremony so we could get the majority of our pictures taken. We wanted to enjoy the reception and time with our family and friends without having to worry about formal photos right after the ceremony. Second, Matt and I wanted to have as many shared memories of the day as we could. Getting to do a first look allowed us to spend some sweet time together before the ceremony, and since we did it down by the river with just Clark and Chris (the photographers), we got to get away from the hustle and bustle of venue prep for a few quiet moments.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? No, we went with the classic vows. Matt’s co-best man and one of our dear friends, Alex, performed our ceremony, and he did a fantastic job. For the message, Alex focused on the story of Hosea, which is one of our favorite images of the Lord’s love for us. We knew we wanted that to be the main focus of the ceremony.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Most of the readings came from the biblical book of Hosea, but we also included Isaiah 43:4–7, Romans 3:10-18, Romans 5:6-11, and a few others in the ceremony.

What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Clark Brewer did a fantastic job photographing the day. Two of our favorite parts of the day were our first look and the private dinner we enjoyed down by the river. Clark documented both of those occasions so well, and they truly captured how beautiful the entire day was!

Picking the venue wasn’t as hard as picking the city. Matt and I went through many destination options before settling on my hometown of Birmingham. Once we knew we wanted to have it in Alabama, I was immediately drawn to Swann Lake Stables. It had the look and feel of being somewhere in the East Tennessee mountains (one of the destinations we considered), and we knew that in late October, it would be beautiful. It was laid-back, comfortable and naturally gorgeous, which was what we were going for in terms of style.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? The food was deliciously Southern. Shindigs did a fantastic job serving up delicious dishes including everything from miniature quail and waffles, to shrimp and grits, to cornmeal-crusted okra. Everything about our venue also made the wedding quintessentially Southern. We enjoyed that there were plenty of places for the guests to dance, eat, or catch up with friends and family, whether that was on the dance floor, in the barn, in rocking chairs by the outdoor fireplace, or while playing cornhole in the grass.

When we first started the wedding planning process, I knew I wanted to have a “naked” cake. I don’t care much for heavy icing, and I like the rustic look of naked cakes. Kim did an awesome job turning that inspiration into a reality, and since it was simple and clean, Laura was able to add some flowers to make it a focal point of the reception.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Matt and I met in Austin in 2011. I had just graduated from college and moved to Austin, barely knowing anyone. A few weeks after I moved there, I ran into a guy I had gone to college with, who invited me to his bible study–that’s where I first met Matt. We were casual friends for a year or two, but as we got to know each other better through Friendsgivings, birthday parties, church activities, weekend trips, and TV nights, we developed (major) secret crushes. It took a night of karaoke and dancing out with friends in early 2014 for us to finally realize the major crushing was mutual. Timing was not on our side (Matt was moving to Dallas for a job at the end of the summer), but we decided to take a chance on our friendship and start dating anyway. It worked out in our favor!
Tell us all about the proposal! It was the Saturday before Easter 2015. Matt was living in Dallas and I was living in Austin. He was coming down for the weekend, and our plan was to go to the Texas Capitol building on Saturday morning for a tour and then meet up with his parents afterward for lunch. This wasn’t an unusual weekend plan because I was planning on moving to Dallas sometime in the coming months, and visiting the Capitol was on our Austin bucket list. His parents being in town wasn’t unusual either because they had come to spend Easter with his grandparents, who lived close by. Matt was able to hook us up with a private tour with Rod, the Sergeant-at-Arms for the House, through a mutual friend. Rod showed us around the Capitol, and as we were wrapping up, he asked if we wanted to make the trek up to the dome, where other tourists didn’t have access. Matt and I weighed whether we should do it or not since we were running late for our lunch, but Rod convinced us to make the climb, since this was a one-time chance sort of thing. When we got to the tip top of the dome, we were able to exit outside onto a small wraparound patio. When Rod said he had to “take a call” and stepped back in, I knew something was up. A few seconds later, Matt grabbed my hand, said my name, and I knew this was it! He got down on one knee and proposed right there. Rod was in on the whole thing, so after his “call,” he came back out and took a few pictures for us. Afterward, we did in fact meet up with Matt’s parents for lunch, but both of our families were there to celebrate with us, as well!
When did y’all get married? October 24, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 165
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. The week after we got engaged, I was visiting one of my bridesmaids in New York City, so we decided to do a brief shopping trip. It was unsuccessful, but I was able to get my feet wet and start to feel more like a bride. A few weeks later, I planned a dress shopping trip with three of my close girlfriends in Austin. I tried on probably 10-15 dresses and honestly loved most of them. We eventually narrowed it down to two favorites and took pictures to share with my mom and sister, since they lived too far to see them in person. My mom, my sister, and my dad all picked the same dress as their favorite, so I went with that one! It was exactly the dress I had had in mind: simple, classic, and not too glam for an outdoor wedding.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Our favorite detail was the wedding party table. It was forty feet of farm table that sat our closest friends. It was a joyful picture to see everyone from every phase of our lives in one place!
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We went through premarital counseling with a couple at our church. It was important to us to learn from people who had gone through this season and could guide us through conversation and conflict in preparation for marriage.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We didn’t have to hire an officiant or ceremony musicians since we had our friends play those parts!
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Enjoying dinner by the river immediately after the ceremony was a sweet and memorable moment. Having a few minutes alone to relax, eat good food, and revel in our new marriage was a special time for us.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Knock all of the big stuff out first! We jumped into wedding planning the week after we got engaged, and that allowed us to book most of our vendors in the first month of our engagement. The last two to three months before the wedding, we were able to take our time preparing for our marriage, not just finishing up last minute wedding details.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Matt and I reside in Dallas, where he’s an attorney and I’m working for a healthcare startup. The big challenge we’re tackling as a couple right now is keeping our new fiddle leaf fig tree alive.

Photographer: Clark Brewer | Planner: Invision Events | Venue: Swann Lake Stables | Florist: Laura McCarty | Cake Baker: Kimberly Wiggins | Caterer: Shindigs | Rentals and Lighting: Event Rentals Unlimited | Band: The Neons | Special Details: Prophouse | Paper Products: Katie Roden | Bride’s Gown: “Cassidy” by Amy Kuschel | Bride’s Jewelry: Kendra Scott | Hair Stylist: Joanna Ballentine | Makeup Artist: Molly Stilley | Bride’s Shoes: Tory Burch | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Nouvelle Amsale | Groom’s Attire: Sid Mashburn | Ice Cream Sandwich Cart: Big Spoon Creamery

lisa Written with love by Lisa
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