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Alex may not be a born and raised Southerner, but if she isn’t a Southern belle at heart, then I don’t know who is! As she and Andrew planned their Louisiana wedding, their minds were never far from their goal of making their guests feel cared for and part of the celebration. As a result, everything about this chic day, from Alex’s gorgeous Amsale dress, to the late-night passed doughnuts, to the bridesmaid cake pull, helped guests get to know their love story and personalities even more. We were overjoyed to learn that Alex and Andrew found their talented photographer, Kelly of Spindle Photography, through our very own Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory, and we think she did a fabulous job of capturing every sweet moment and gorgeous black and white detail!

My something new was my dress, veil, and Kate Spade shoes! Originally, my something old, borrowed, and blue was going to be my mother’s garter, but 30 years did not yield a usable option. She had one made with the same silks and a blue pearl that had our initials and wedding date, which was even more perfect. I also had the sixpence in my shoe that all the women in my family since my great-grandmother have worn.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. Believe it or not, this was probably the easiest part of my wedding planning journey! My mother, grandmother, and matron of honor accompanied me to Mia Bridal Couture in Houston days before Christmas. I told our wonderful consultant, Tina, about my traditional-with-a twist-style, love of horsehair-trimmed veils, and that I wanted a full skirt with “twirlability”–a very important dressing term I coined in my toddler years. I put on her first selection (an Amsale dress I had pined over–and pinned!) and instantly knew it was the one. I was hesitant to say “Let’s pop the champagne!” after only one gown, so I asked to try on everything I said I did not envision: fitted skirts, strapless, lace, beading… just to make sure that I was positive. Finally, I put on the first gown with a double horsehair-trimmed veil and triumphantly announced that we were done! The stars truly aligned when we found out the name of the dress: “Newport”–the name of my mother’s hometown in Rhode Island, where my parents were married almost 30 years ago. The whole experience felt surreal!

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? Yes! While Andrew was a little hesitant in the beginning, we eventually decided it was the best way to try to prolong a day that everyone had told us would end in a flash. We are forever grateful we made this decision. We were able to savor the day together, and the photos are just divine. One of our favorite memories of the day was when Alex’s father accidentally crashed our first look. We forgave him since he was looking so dashing in his uniform!

We said traditional Catholic vows used during the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony. It was such a powerful moment to repeat the words that entered us into the same covenant as so many couples before us. During our vows, we experienced what a sacrament truly is–a physical sign of God’s grace. It was the most impactful feeling we have ever experienced.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Choosing one favorite detail is simply too hard! All of the details that reflected us as a couple were our favorites because our guests saw our personalities throughout the day. Andrew wanted me to point out the “snack tables,” meaning the oyster bar, antipasti bar, Meche’s donut display, and the Maryland favor table of Berger cookies, Fischer’s Popcorn, and Utz Crab Chips. We loved watching our guests enjoy all of our favorite treats!

During our first meeting with our florist, Mia from Root Floral Design, we told her we wanted an effortless garden look without too much symmetry. She used a neutral color palette of garden roses, jasmine, anemones, scabiosa, ranunculus, lisianthus, and astilbe to bring the vision to life. My mother and I used our silver collections for all the flowers (an idea that came from SW’s own Emily Thomas’ wedding!). The entire wedding’s inspiration started with an image I found of a boxwood garland draping a cocktail bar. Mia recreated the bar swag, miniature boxwood wreaths were used at the church as pew markers, and large wreaths were placed on the historic home’s doors. The boxwood garland now sits on our fireplace mantel, and we have a wreath hung in our home as well.

“Southern” in our eyes is a mindset that embodies hospitality, love, and celebration. I did not grow up surrounded by magnolias or eating grits, but I’ve always identified with Southern values and charm. The entire day was designed to feel like the perfect Southern fête, honoring us, family, and the friends that feel like family. A large clear-top tent with bistro lighting was pitched in front of one of A. Hays Town’s historic, Southern homes (the architect is one of the area’s most famous). Bridesmaids received well wishes through cake pulls. A soul band with an excellent horn section resulted in a packed dance floor the entire evening.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? At one point, Andrew led me off the dance floor to the lawn space in front of our tent, and we stood hand in hand, watching our reception. He said, “You’re my wife! This is our wedding!” The twinkling bistro lights, clinking of glasses, laughter of family, and seeing dance moves galore is a sight we will never forget.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. From Alex: I moved a lot as a military child, but our adventure to the Gulf Coast would eventually lead me to Andrew. After moving back to Annapolis, Maryland, I knew I would return to Louisiana for college. I received my LSU acceptance letter not only on my birthday, but also on the night that the Tigers won the 2007 National Championship. It was fate! From Andrew: I was born and raised in South Louisiana, but I grew up in a wonderful combination of Polish (my mother is a Polish immigrant), German, and Cajun cultures. This diverse (and entertaining) upbringing is probably the reason I was rather accepting of Alex’s northeastern roots when we first met. We formally met when a group of fraternity and sorority presidents came together to design and facilitate leadership development programming for the Greek community. We became fast friends–the type of friends that suddenly shared everything with each other very easily. We laugh now because this was in large part due to us thinking we would NEVER become more than friends. Within months, that friendship took us both by surprise and evolved into a great love of true understanding, compassion, and FUN.
Tell us all about the proposal! I am very much hoping that my little sister will follow in my footsteps and attend LSU, so a college visit was planned for the whole family during Homecoming Weekend. Andrew thought that weekend was the perfect time to propose, but if we’re being honest, so did I! I was slightly perturbed when I arrived at Andrew’s house to discover he was not yet ready to leave for the trip, making us late for our dinner reservations with my family. After storming up the stairs, I found Andrew standing in his living room holding a very small box. After tears and laughter and the slowest proposal ever (I made him pause and repeat everything so I wouldn’t forget any of his words), we heard knocking on the door. It was our dearest friends, who sent us off to Baton Rouge with cupcakes and wedding magazines! Those few hours were so special. We took time to soak in the moment and call some of our loved ones. We were supposed to pick up my best friend in Lafayette on the way, and when we exited, Andrew took the scenic route and drove by the historic home (now a museum) that I had always said would be the perfect wedding reception site. He wanted to get out of the car so we could have a moment, and when we walked up to the museum, he handed me an envelope with the date “October 17, 2014” inside. He had already secured the museum and the church! When I turned around, both of our immediate families were there. I was told that we were not actually going to Baton Rouge that night, but would be having dinner with our families in Lafayette instead. When we walked into Andrew’s family’s house, a beautiful engagement party was in full swing!
When did y’all get married? October 17, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 275
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Our biggest challenge was learning to understand and compromise on our own list of wedding “normalcies.” With a born and raised Southern gent and a military child raised on the East Coast planning a wedding, we quickly realized we had grown up with different experiences regarding everything from the size of the guest list to the reception dinner service. We exercised more patience, listened more intently, and sought clearer understanding. In the end, compromises were made, and new traditions were embraced.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? Our biggest cost savings was having the talented people in our lives share their talents with us rather than ordering items from a rental company or the endless possibilities of Etsy. All of our table runners were sewn by a family friend, others were always on the lookout for extra pieces of silver to use, and our signage was crafted by one of our supper club ladies. This made the day increasingly more special.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Our remarkable photographer, Kelly! I looked at Southern Weddings’ Blue Ribbon Vendors in Texas, Mississippi, and Alabama for options that were still relatively close. Within seconds of being on the Spindle Photography website, we knew the creative genius behind these photographs was it. I am also grateful for finding someone who loves dresses that twirl as much as I do.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? This was a big year for us! After getting engaged, I finished graduate school and started work, Andrew began a new work assignment that takes him away from home half of each month, we built a house, and we got married! We are now welcoming the holiday season with rest and enjoying waking up on Saturday mornings with nowhere to be. I also hope we will have a dog by the time you read our story!

Photographer: Spindle Photography / Planner: Southern Fete / Ceremony Venue: St. Genevieve Catholic Church / Reception Venue: Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum / Florist: Root Floral Design / Cake Baker: Crystal Weddings / Catering: Sam Trahan / Rentals and Lighting: Event Rental, Lafayette / Band: Phat Hat / Chalkboard Signage: Amber Hicks / Donut Table Signage: Anna Broussard / Paper Products: Val Marie Paper / Bride’s Gown: “Newport” by Amsale / Bridal Salon and Veil: Mia Bridal Couture / Bouquet Ribbon: Hyman Hendler & Sons / Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist: Heather Veillon of Bleu Coiffure / Bride’s Shoes: Kate Spade / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “G837U” in black by Amsale / Menswear: Mary Ellen’s Tux Shop / Bow Ties and Cummerbund: High Cotton Ties / Cups, Koozies, and Coffee Cups: Inkling Design Studio / Calligrapher: Patricia Leith

lisa Written with love by Lisa
9 Comments
  1. avatar Robyn Van Dyke reply

    LOVE this wedding! Especially all the striped accents, and polka-dotted bow tie and cummerbund!!! :D

  2. avatar Kelly Cummings (Spindle Photography) reply

    Thank you so much for sharing Alex and Andrew’s gorgeous wedding! Since Alex found me through Southern Weddings I am thrilled to see their beautiful love story shared here! Hooray for kindred spirits!

  3. avatar lena reply

    L O V E this gorgeous celebration!

  4. avatar Amy reply

    It’s an absolutely gorgeous wedding to behold!

  5. avatar Kyla Fetzner reply

    Such a beautiful wedding and a radiant bride! I especially love the striped ribbon bouquet wrap and the personal touches that were put on the foods served.

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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!

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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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