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When it comes to the many things that make a wedding Southern, the most obvious one is the geographical location, of course! Kara and Philip had that in the bag when they chose to tie the knot at Colleton River Plantation on Hilton Head Island. Though a Pennsylvania native, Kara grew up traveling to her family’s vacation home on the island, so to her, it is a place “that signifies family, joy, memories, and endless beauty.” Kara and Philip worked with their planner, Embellished Events, to create an open-air party where no walls could block the beautiful views. I’m sure this day began a whole new chapter of joyful memories on Hilton Head for this sweet couple!

We’re sure happy Tim Will was there to capture this lovely day!

Describe your wedding flowers. My flowers were untamed and gorgeous! They had an English garden feel, and were full of peaches, sages, and pinks, grounded in soft whites and finished with ribbon I found during my travels to India. The ribbons were used in all the bouquets, garlands, and table arrangements. Branches on Hilton Head Island captured my vision so beautifully.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did not; we chose to say the traditional vows instead. We felt these timeless words captured all we wanted to say.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We had beautiful readings from the Bible. I particularly loved the Gospel reading from Mark, that included the verse, “They are no longer two but one flesh, therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate.” Wow, those words have gravity!

On our wedding day, we surprised our guests with the sounds of local Gullah singers harmonizing with joy to “Oh Happy Day” as we departed the church. We also hand-dipped oyster shells in gold and embellished each with a pearl for our escort cards. Guests could take these home as a way to remember the place and the day.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? I grew up traveling to my family’s vacation home on Hilton Head Island, so it has always been a place that signifies family, joy, memories, and endless beauty to me.

We chose to avoid the cost of a tent, and with the suggestion of my planner, Jennifer Leiti, we chose to have an open-air party under café lighting. We were so happy we did because the environment was the reason I picked this location. There were no walls to block the beautiful, expansive views of the sunset over the river. Thankfully, despite some early morning rain, we were blessed with good weather that day.

My wedding cake was a simple, white, tiered cake with ruffled fondant and some pretty flowers in the colors of my bouquet placed up each tier. The best part was really what was inside–it was decadent! Each layer had a different filling. Minette Rushing from Savannah Custom Cakes is a baking genius!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met in college. We lived in the same dorm, and then in the same apartment building. Two years after college, only after a big separation, did we realize our friendship was actually love. This has been true ever since and will be for the rest of our lives!
Tell us all about the proposal! We first talked about getting married around a year or so ago while on a trip to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. It was the first time Phil had ever been there, and I was overjoyed to be talking about our future marriage in this very special place. However, it was not until a very cold visit to Cape May, New Jersey that Phil decided to sneak a ring into my purse to be found at any time. We were sitting in a crowded bar and I was fishing around in my bag for something or other when I felt a little box…I think I knew what it was right away, and quickly looked up at Phil’s smiling face. I told him I wanted to move to our room for some privacy, where, conveniently, there was a bottle of champagne awaiting our arrival. Phil got down on one knee as I had always envisioned and the rest is history.
When did y’all get married? May 30, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 125
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I found my dress in a shop called Elizabeth Johns Ardmore, Pennsylvania, right outside of my home city of Philadelphia. The dress was designed by Lela Rose and I felt it reflected me and my style, and it would complement the beautiful surroundings and climate of my Southern wedding.
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We did not. Seeing my soon-to-be spouse for the first time at the end of the aisle is a beautiful tradition we wanted to experience.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My shoes had blue soles, I wore a delicate strand of pearls that were given to me as a baby, I borrowed my sister’s wedding garter, and everything else was new.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Communicate with each other early and often, and don’t lose sight of what is important.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We would love to move to a new home, plant some deeper roots there, and start a family.

Photographer: Tim Willoughby | Videographer: Hart to Heart | Planner: Embellished Events | Ceremony Venue: St. Gregory the Great | Reception Venue and Catering: Colleton River Plantation | Florist: Branches | Cake Baker: Savannah Custom Cakes | Rentals: Event Haus | Band: Fantastic Voyage Band | Gospel Choir: Voices of El Shaddai Ensemble | Bride’s Gown: Lela Rose | Hair and Makeup: Christine Stephens | Bride’s Shoes: Betsey Johnson | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: J. Crew

marissa Written with love by Marissa
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    It’s always so inspiring to hear from a bride and groom who were deeply purposeful and thoughtful through every step of their wedding planning. Anna and Matt are that couple in spades–after deciding to fulfill Anna’s dream of tying the knot in her home state of Georgia, they set out to plan a “peachy affair” that fit their personalities to a tee and graciously welcomed their guests to Atlanta. I loved reading the story of how Anna chose her stunner of a gown (“finding your wedding dress is like finding yourself”), the heart behind the readings and songs they selected, and the fun ways they tied Anna’s Georgia roots into their reception in particular. While they may live on the West Coast now, there was no denying the fact this was a Southern celebration through and through, and I can’t think of a sweeter start to Anna and Matt’s marriage than their Georgian Terrace wedding!

    Thank you so much to our talented Blue Ribbon Vendor Amy Arrington Photography for sharing this gorgeous day with us!

    Since Matt and I live on the West Coast, we knew we’d have many guests from different parts of the country attend our wedding in Atlanta. It was important to us that we incorporated the richness of the South in our wedding for our guests to experience and enjoy. We welcomed guests with baskets of treats produced by local Atlanta vendors: boiled peanuts, grits bits, pecan bars, chocolate peaches, and Coca Cola, to name a few. We also served Atlanta favorites as late night treats at the reception, including King of Pops and Krispy Kreme donuts.

    At the risk of sounding completely cliché, I now tell my newly engaged girlfriends that finding your wedding dress is like finding yourself. One weekend last October, my mom flew to Los Angeles to help me find my dress. We literally went everywhere, from Pasadena to Orange County to Beverly Hills. Nothing I tried on felt right, or made me feel like myself. There’s something about living in Los Angeles that I’ve found more so than in other cities: the city sort of frees you up to be yourself. You are fearfully and wonderfully made, and, in my opinion, this city reminds you of that more often than not. I had all but given up when my mom and I made one final stop at Panache Bridal Beverly Hills. I looked at a dress on the rack and knew it was my dress. It was enchanting and unique, and best of all, I felt like myself when I put it on.

    Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! Yes! I borrowed my best friend’s veil that she wore at her wedding. My something blue was my shoes. For my something old, I wore my mom’s antique ring on my right hand, and my something new was my dress and earrings.

    What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Just being in Los Angeles while the wedding and the majority of the preparation was taking place in Atlanta. My mom, our wedding planner Kathleen, and several of my mom’s friends really made the wedding happen. They’re the ones who went to tastings and put together wedding baskets, favors, etc. I guess in retrospect, Matt and I had the easiest job of all–we got to enjoy the wedding day without having to do all of the heavy lifting preparation work.

    Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? No, we wanted to savor the moment of seeing one another for the first time when I walked down the aisle.

    Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We went the traditional route and used classic vows that our pastor helped us find.
    What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Matt and I each selected a reading. For mine, I chose Psalm 103; a wedding is such a praise-worthy event and I deeply wanted Christ to be glorified in every aspect of the day. Matt selected Colossians 3:12-17, as he felt these were great words of instruction and grace for us as we entered into marriage together.

    I had always known I wanted to get married back home in Atlanta. With so many of our friends and family making the trek from the West Coast and around the globe, we wanted to provide them with a truly Southern, Atlanta experience. The Georgian Terrace was just the place–it was where “Gone with the Wind” held their world premiere. Other than that, we knew we wanted to be married in a church, so we decided to have our ceremony just down the road from the reception at Peachtree Christian Church.

    Out of the entire wedding process, one of my favorite things to think about during the planning was the flowers. Katie McDaniel at Cloth of Gold creates the most ethereal arrangements that are so unique and customized to each bride. Our arrangements featured some of my favorite flowers: peonies, ranunculus, and Juliet roses. The bouquets were loose and whimsical and the arrangements at each table were soft and sprawling. Katie also incorporated The Peach Truck’s delicious peaches into the decor at each table–at each place setting, each guest had their name card attached to a peach. Matt even came up with a list of different peach varietals that are produced in Georgia as the names of the tables. As wedding favors, we asked guests to “Be a Peach and Spread the Love” with peach jam jars. All in all, it was a peachy affair!

    Describe your wedding cake or dessert. I’m convinced Atlanta has the best sweets–it is the Peach State, after all! With that in mind, we offered guests a selection of desserts, from an assortment of flavors of King of Pops popsicles, to Krispy Kreme donuts, mini strawberry milkshakes, and a traditional wedding cake.

    What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? It can be challenging at times, but try to enjoy every moment! Getting married and planning a wedding is such a gift and a blessing. It goes by so quickly, so treasure that time and try to experience as much of it as possible. Find joy in even the difficult things, like managing RSVPs and seating arrangements–there’s beauty and fun in even those things!

    How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Matt and I are from opposite ends of the country. He was raised in Rhode Island and I was born and raised in Marietta, Georgia. After college, we both moved to Los Angeles. Matt attended grad school at UCLA and I got a job in the entertainment industry. We met and fell in love in what we consider the greatest city on earth. We attended the same church and met there through mutual friends. At the time, Matt was working as a recruiter and sent me a Snapchat video where he typed out the words “Will you go to Korean BBQ with me on Friday?” We share a love for Korean food and had talked about it the week prior. I responded in Google-translated Korean (I don’t speak Korean, y’all), “Sure, that sounds great!” We went out for Korean BBQ that Friday. On our date, I told him that I actually had to cut out early to pick up some girlfriends at Disneyland. It wasn’t that I was wanting to cut the date short–I’m just a terrible procrastinator and told him at the last minute that I had plans later that night too. Matt was so sweet and offered to drive me out to Anaheim (an hour-long drive!) to pick up my friends. We had a blast with my friends on the drive back and it was then that I knew I liked him and could see a future with him.
    Tell us all about the proposal! Matt is full of surprises. On Labor Day 2014, I flew home to Atlanta to spend the weekend with my family, while Matt had told me he was going camping with some friends in Northern California. When I arrived home, my mom kept asking me questions about Matt-–how we were doing, when we’d be getting engaged, where we’d want to get married, etc. I was starting to get a little annoyed by all the questions, and texted Matt Saturday morning and told him I was feeling sad that we weren’t engaged yet. Matt told me not to worry, but that he was losing cell service (being on a camping trip and all) and that we’d talk about it more later. That day, my mom and I went shopping in Atlanta. On the way home, she “took a wrong turn” and pulled into the parking lot at the Atlanta Historical Center. I looked over and my sweet mom had started crying, which immediately led to me tear up as well. She said to me, “I want you to get out of the car and walk down that hill; there’s the most incredible future waiting for you.” She was in on it the whole time! Out popped Matt, who walked up to the car and escorted me to the garden and said a million wonderful things that I can’t remember now, and asked me to spend forever with him. I said yes. We walked over to the Swan Coach House, my favorite place in the city, took pictures, and met up with my best friend and her husband. After the proposal, we returned to my parents’ house, where all of my neighbors and many of my friends from childhood were waiting for an engagement party. We both felt so loved and excited for the future together!
    When did y’all get married? June 13, 2015
    How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 200
    Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Peachtree Christian Church has one of the largest organs in the Southeast. It really is stunning and sounds so beautiful, so we wanted music that was both Christ-centered and allowed the organ to do what it was created to do. I walked down the aisle to “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty.” At the reception, Matt and I danced to Frank Sinatra’s “The Way You Look Tonight.” Continuing with our Georgia theme, my dad and I danced to “Georgia on My Mind.” Matt and his mom danced to “That’s Amore!”
    How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Our Christian faith is central to who we are and is one of the reasons we were initially even interested in one another. Throughout our engagement, we met with our pastor and his wife and regularly discussed Christian marriage. We also read a few books together and began praying with one another.
    What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? There are endless options and ways to spend money when planning a wedding. From the type of wine you serve to the type of linens used, you can really spend as much or as little as you want. When we started planning, we quickly realized our budget could get out of control if we didn’t prioritize. We often asked ourselves, what are the “must haves” and what are the “nice to haves?” Often, the “nice to haves” got left on the cutting room floor to make room for the “must haves.”
    What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We’re just settling into our new apartment together in Los Angeles, enjoying our community and our friends, and taking life one day at a time.

    Photographer: Amy Arrington Photography / Videographer: Artworks Wedding Cinema / Planner: Kathleen Benedict / Ceremony Venue: Peachtree Christian Church / Reception Venue and Caterer: The Georgian Terrace Hotel / Florist: Cloth of Gold / Cake Baker: Frosted Pumpkin / Rentals: Cover Ups Linens / Band: Momentum Party Band / Invitations: Aerialist Letterpress / Day-of Paper Products: Paper Daisies Stationery / Bride’s Gown: St. Pucchi / Bridal Salon: Panache Bridal / Bride’s Hair Accessories: BHLDN / Hair and Makeup: Logan Baker / Bride’s Shoes: Manolo Blahnik / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Juliette” in Cameo Pink by Jenny Yoo / Menswear: Calvin Klein Tuxedo / Event Signage: Stitch & Petal / Calligraphy: Everthine Designs / Peaches: The Peach Truck / Trolley: The Historic Marietta Trolley Company

    Amy Arrington is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

    lisa Written with love by Lisa
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    1. avatar Georgian Terrace Wedding : Anna + Matt reply

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    I’m sure that none of our love stories happened exactly the way we may have grown up expecting them to, and in Elisa and Craig’s cases, Instagram certainly wasn’t where they imagined they’d someday meet their future spouse! When they finally met face to face, however, their connection was undeniable–Craig knew as soon as he asked Elisa to be his girlfriend that he’d someday ask her to be his wife. While these two are no stranger to the challenges of a long distance relationship, it made their Gatsby-inspired Chapel Hill wedding day all the more special and sweet…though their chocolate wedding cake, passed cupcakes, and milkshake shooters certainly contributed to the sweetness factor, too!

    P.S. If Elisa and Craig look familiar, it may be because they’re gracing the back cover of V8! So fun!

    Thank you so much to Grain & Compass for sharing this gorgeous day with us!

    How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. I don’t think either one of us expected to meet in such a unique way. In 2013, my husband, Craig, and I met on Instagram, as crazy as that sounds. He was living in Los Angeles at the time and I was interning in New York City. We had one mutual acquaintance on Instagram, and from the follow, to likes, to comments, our interest grew. In fact, we still have the screenshot of our first exchange. After texting turned into phone calls and phone calls turned into “FaceTime dates”, Craig flew from Los Angeles to NYC to meet me in person and take me on our first real date. That weekend was its own fairy tale. Without a dull moment, we spent our days exploring museums, going to a Mets baseball game, kayaking on the Hudson River, and eating our way through the Big Apple. Craig asked me that weekend to be his girlfriend. I would later find out that in that moment, he knew he was going to marry me. After a year of dating 3000 miles apart, I finished school and moved to Los Angeles to be with him. Our long distance journey to marriage has given us such beautiful perspective, because we now know that simply being in each other’s company is a blessing to treasure each day we are together.

    Tell us about finding your wedding dress. Finding my wedding dress was something I had always imagined doing with my mom. However, my living across the country from her in Los Angeles did not make this easy, as traveling back and forth was not very ideal or cost-effective. Since we got engaged right before Thanksgiving, Craig and I spent the holiday in North Carolina and my mom was able to reserve just one bridal appointment at Tre Bella in Durham, an hour before our engagement session was to begin. At one point, I tried on the dress I had not pulled and was weary about, stepped out, and saw my mom’s face. This dress was so classic, elegant, and simple in comparison to what I has walked in thinking I would want. But from the classic silhouette, to the soft, flowing fabric, to the Gatsby-esque beading up the back and on the shoulders, I realized this was it. I never expected to find my wedding dress after only 45 minutes of looking!

    Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We chose to do a first look and we wouldn’t have had it any other way! To be able to share an intimate moment before the wedding just talking, laughing, and treasuring the time leading up to becoming husband and wife allowed us to share the whole day together. It also allowed us to take most of our formal pictures before the ceremony, which gave us more time to sneak away after and share a quiet moment eating some small appetizers and sharing our first drink as a married couple together. It was perfect.

    Our favorite detail of the wedding was: My mom handmade two amazing wreaths for the doors we stood in front of for the ceremony out of gold-painted magnolia leaves she collected from the yard. She put so much love and time into them and they were stunning!

    Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. I knew that I wanted to walk down the aisle to a song that pointed to the reason for our marriage and the importance of the covenant we were about to make. Craig’s talented groomsmen, Justin Gaston and Ben Schofield, performed the song “I am Set Free” by All Sons and Daughters. After the unity candle lighting, we had both families, as well as the bridal party, surround us in prayer. During this moment, Craig’s brother and sister-in-law performed Craig’s favorite hymn, “Great is Thy Faithfulness,” reminding us and everyone that our faithfulness to each other is based on how ever faithful God is to us. We were so thankful to have so many friends share their amazing musical talents with us to make our day so special.

    Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? Using my parents’ vows as a guide, we wrote our own version of their wedding vows. We really value those vows because we admire both sets of our parents’ commitment and love for each other, and also how their marriage points to their individual relationships with God. A line from our vows that I love is, “to give my life to you by listening and empathizing with you, encouraging and enabling you, believing in you and in what Christ is doing through you.”

    What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We were both raised in the South–Craig in New Orleans and me in North Carolina. We really wanted a venue with rich Southern history and beautiful grounds for our guests to enjoy! With guests traveling from all over, many from LA, we also wanted to minimize any travel between hotels and venues. We decided on the most amazing place that has it all: The Carolina Inn. As soon as we stepped into the Old Well Room (after we booked it from LA, I might add–another win for pictures and my amazing mom!), we knew it really was perfect for our elegant, Gatsby affair!

    How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Craig has an amazing friend and pastor from college who really walked us through the goal and meaning of marriage leading up to our wedding. We were challenged to identify how our parents influenced us, as well as our own experiences, habits, and expectations. The greatest thing we focused on was preparing to become a unified team founded on love and respect–when a wife is loved, she feels respected, and when a husband is respected, he feels loved.

    Tell us all about the proposal! From Craig: I knew I wanted to create a really special moment for the proposal. We had been planning on going to a Christmas tree lighting at the Grove here in LA with a few friends when one of them mentioned that they do an epic fireworks show there, too. If anyone knows my wife, they know she LOVES fireworks. Since there was a group of us going, I told a few of our friends my plan: distract her for long enough to get in position, pull out the ring, and drop on one knee in front of everyone as soon as the fireworks started to go off. I knew this was going to be really tough because we would be hanging out for a while and I didn’t want anyone to break down and give it away–not to mention, being a wreck trying to keep the secret myself. The night came and went like a flash. Before I knew it, the tree was lit and it was time for the fireworks show. There I was, in the center of a sea of thousands with booming lights all around, asking the girl of my dreams to marry me. Several stutters later and not without plenty of iPhone photos and videos from both strangers and friends, I was an engaged man.
    When did y’all get married? April 17, 2015
    How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? Just under 200
    Describe your wedding flowers. My vision for the day was a classic, elegant, Gatsby affair. We chose black, gold, and white as our colors–this made my husband and in-laws, who are from New Orleans, very happy, because they just so happen to match the New Orleans Saints colors. It was a win-win for everyone in my book! I knew I wanted to keep the florals elegant and simple, with light yellow and white bouquets and a touch of greenery.
    Describe your wedding cake or dessert. I wanted our wedding cake to be classic and match our aesthetic, but most importantly, I wanted the inside to be chocolate! We designed a two-tiered cake with a hand-painted gold base and a white top, joined by a fondant black stripe and white geometric piping. In addition, we passed out plates and plates of chocolate and yellow cake cupcakes with white frosting and gold dust sprinkled on top, letting everyone know it was party time! Our love of desserts did not stop there–milkshake shooters and hot cookies were enjoyed by all to keep the sugar rush high and the feet on the dance floor!
    Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I borrowed my sister-in-law’s veil, as well as my bridesmaid’s earrings. I also had my grandmother’s diamonds with me. We had always talked about my wedding when I was growing up, and she passed away the day after my wedding.
    If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
    What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Our greatest advice would be to trust the experience of the vendors you have chosen and give them freedom to shine in their skills. Our vision was clear for each selection that was made, but the results of our planning, decoration, hair, makeup, photography, florals, stationery, etc. was because we let our vendors run with our ideas instead of keeping them bound by only are ideas or concepts.
    What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? For us right now, it’s building our life together in Los Angeles. We are both pursuing our passions and there’s no telling what the future holds. I’m sure there will be many trips back to our Southern roots in Louisiana and North Carolina, as well as abroad–we are excited for our 2016 trip to Europe!

    Photographer and Videographer: Grain and Compass / Planner: Erin McLean Events / Venue and Caterer: The Carolina Inn / Florist: Barbara Long / Cake Baker: Once in a Blue Moon / Rentals: CE Rental / DJ: The Local DJ / Paper Products: Alissa Bell Press / Bride’s Gown: “Selia” by St. Patrick / Bride’s Hair Accessories: Yes Dear & Co. / Hair and Makeup: Lula Hair and Makeup / Bride’s Shoes: Nina / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Sleeveless Lace Cocktail Dress” by Aidan Mattox / Menswear: “Slim Fit Tuxedo” in Black by Calvin Klein

    Erin McLean Events and Lula Hair and Makeup are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

    lisa Written with love by Lisa
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    1. avatar Dana reply

      The Carolina Inn looks like the perfect venue for a Gatsby inspired wedding!

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