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Brides aren’t the only ones looking for guidance and inspiration before the big day! I’m willing to bet that many of y’all are (or have been, or will be!) the best gal beside the bride, trying to do everything you can to make sure her engagement is sweet and her wedding day smooth. We teamed up with our friends at Weddington Way and a few of our favorite Nashville ladies, including former Bachelorette Kacie Gaston, YouTube star Julia Sheer, country artist Katie Armiger, and lifestyle blogger Caroline Acree, to offer some advice for those of y’all walking down the aisle just before the bride!

Southern Weddings: What’s your best tip for fulfilling the role of bridesmaid?
Kacie Gaston: Let the bride know you are available to help with anything during the wedding planning process. The day of, give her a token of your friendship to let her know how excited you are for her special day!
Katie Armiger: Just have fun and enjoy it! Do all that you can to ensure that the bride is taken care of. It’s her special day, and you want to make sure that it goes as smoothly as possible.
Julia Sheer: Go with the flow, no complaining, and always have some tissues on hand for the criers.
Caroline Acree: This day is about celebrating the happy couple. The bride and groom should feel support and love from everyone around them. A bridesmaid should not only add to the happiness of this exciting day, but make herself useful whenever possible. Attend to the couple, the wedding party, and the guests in the most genuine and courteous way possible. Go the extra mile and offer to handle planning details for the bride. Let her enjoy her happy day to the fullest.

SW: If you were getting married tomorrow, what would you have your bridesmaids wear?
Kacie: I would have Weddington Way send me a mixture of the gold dresses and lace in styles that complement the bridesmaids’ body types. I love mixing textures and colors!!
Katie: I would choose either a deep navy or a black dress. I love the classic darker colors.
Julia: I would have them wear a mixture of different dresses in the same color range.
Caroline: I’ve always loved the idea of an all-white wedding, but I’ve never liked bridesmaids wearing the same dress. I’d let them choose their own shape, neckline, length… even fabric! Just as long as each bridesmaid felt beautiful in her dress, I’d be happy!

SW: Do you have a favorite memory from your time as a bridesmaid, or with the bridesmaids at your wedding?
Kacie: Really, my favorite part of being a bridesmaid and on my own wedding day is the quality time you get to spend with those who are closest to you. It means so much to share such a precious time with all of those who have built and shaped you into who you are!
Katie: Just hanging out with best friends at their wedding, laughing and reveling in the happy day. It is a day of celebrating life and love, after all.
Julia: My favorite time as a bridesmaid was when I got to be in my older sister’s wedding about 6 or 7 years ago. It was so fun to get to be a part of all the bridal showers and celebrations even though I was much younger than most of the people in the bridal party. It was a great way for all of my sisters and I to bond more.
Caroline: I’ve actually never been a bridesmaid, and I’m not married! :)

Big hugs to all of these fabulous Nashville gals for sharing! You can follow along with them here: Kacie | Katie | Julia | Caroline

Friends, be sure to check out Weddington Way to get a closer look at the bridesmaid dresses these gals are sporting! Their current collection includes more than one thousand beautiful options from leading designers.

Photographer: Tec Petaja | Set + Floral Stylist: Jessica Sloane | Calligrapher/Menu: Chelsea Petaja | Beauty and Hair: Babe Beauty Bar | Model Agency: Amax (Danielle Maltby, Mary Elizabeth Clark, Sydney Chiyoko)

emily Written with love by Emily
4 Comments
  1. avatar Nichole reply

    I’m using weddington way for my bridesmaid dresses! I’ve loved working with them so far & can’t wait to see the dresses all together.

  2. avatar Christopher Clare reply

    Superb images. Loving every bit of them. Thanks for the opportunity to view them.

  3. avatar Andreina | Fly Away Bride reply

    Love the navy dresses.

  4. avatar Michael and Carina reply

    This is just perfect! Thank you for sharing!!!

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This fall, we have had the pleasure of having Christina, a senior at UNC, as our editorial intern! Her sweet disposition, positive attitude, and love for weddings have made her a delight to have in the SW office, and we will certainly miss her. We couldn’t let her leave without introducing y’all to a beautiful wedding, so we invited her to write today’s post! – Lisa

Recognize these college sweethearts? Y’all just might have seen them on the last page of V7! Cody’s surprise proposal to Meredith at a photo shoot is one of the sweetest moments I’ve ever seen, and when the proposal is that special, you just know the wedding will be even more meaningful. So many elements of this Nashville wedding, from the family barn venue to the original songs performed by dear friends, were so true to their home state, and we can’t think of anything more Southern and meaningful than wearing your momma’s veil! This couple’s love makes our hearts so full, and we are so delighted to share their special day, photographed by The Image is Found!

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I did, and my favorite was my old and borrowed! I was able to wear my mother’s veil that she made herself years ago. She grew up in Brussels, Belgium and used actual Belgian lace from my great-grandmother to hand sew the cathedral veil, almost 35 years ago. It felt like wearing a piece of family history.

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We did a first look, and it was perfect. We wanted to have time to take a breath, slow down, and enjoy each other on our wedding day. Having no one else around made the first time we saw each other really special, and it helped us feel like we hit pause for just a second when there was a lot going on.

We got married just outside of Nashville in Leiper’s Fork, Tennessee. Our ceremony was in an open field next to my uncle’s house, and we had the reception at his barn. We love the small town feel of Leiper’s Fork, and we have spent a lot of time out there. We even have family holidays in the same barn.

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Lucky for us, several of our friends are amazing musicians. Jillian Edwards and Parke Avery played cover songs at our ceremony, and I walked down the aisle to one of Parke’s original songs. Living in Nashville lends itself to having incredibly talented friends! During communion, Parke played “Your Love is Strong” by Jon Foreman. Standing out in the field, listening to those words of truth was such a grounding moment and a reminder of why marriage was designed by the Creator–to show His unconditional love and commitment to us.

Our flowers were literally exactly what I had envisioned. Lauren Ledbetter and I searched for flowers that I loved and incorporated greenery as well. She arranged the bouquets with peach garden roses, pink spray roses, white anemones, dusty miller leaves, seeded eucalyptus, willow eucalyptus, and peach ranunculus. However, what I think tied it all together (literally as well) was the handmade silk ribbon from FrouFrou Chic.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Most weddings in Tennessee are naturally pretty Southern, but Leiper’s Fork is about as Southern as it gets! Having our ceremony in the land trust and reception next door at our family’s barn was pretty special. It meant a lot to us, and it’s a place that we can always visit and relive our wedding day. We used a tractor’s trough to hold cold beer, hay bales were covered in quilts for extra seating, and we drove away in a 70’s Chevy K-5 Blazer.

Since our venues were an open field and the family barn next door, the biggest challenge was being the first wedding held there. There were no blueprints to follow or anyone saying “We often do it like this.” My mom and I spent a lot of time planning out the logistics… and the lack of a rain plan! We were so blessed, as it turned out to be such a beautiful day in October.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Cody and I met during our freshman year in college. We had the same math teacher, and our classes were back to back, so we would pass each other every day and catch each other’s eye from time to time. Cody and I fit into the “opposites attract” category. I came from a small school in Nashville, am a perfectionist, and I was social, but an introvert at heart. Cody, on the other hand, was always the life of the party, smart without even trying, never forgot a name, and was incredibly charming. I went to Knoxville devastatingly homesick for Nashville, catching rides home every weekend. Finally, a few weeks into the semester, I had to face my biggest fear: staying the weekend on campus. Somehow, I ended up hanging out with Cody, and it changed everything. For the first time, I got to see Cody in his element: his city, his family, and his abundant excitement for life. After that, I never could quite shake him. I learned that grades didn’t have to come at the expense of my college memories, and I learned that getting an A+ is not always worth the adventures missed out on. The next seven years have been nothing but incredible adventures with a man who quickly became my best friend. I assure him it’s okay to simply stay in alone and watch Crazy, Stupid, Love, and he convinces me to stay out until 3 a.m. to sing karaoke. Regardless of being so different, there is something to say for being “known” so deeply in all of your quirky ways. After five years of dating and two years of long-distance (and me making the mistake of casually saying “I don’t want to be engaged during school”), I graduated from Vanderbilt on a Thursday, and less than 24 hours later, he asked me the question that he without a doubt knew the answer to.
Tell us all about the proposal! From Cody: Well, I can tell you right now that I’ve always known I was going to marry Meredith. Like Mere said earlier, she once made the comment, “I don’t think I want to be engaged during school,” so naturally, I proposed the day after she graduated. We were at a wedding in December when Rachel Moore unknowingly kicked my plan to propose in high gear. She asked Meredith’s friend Tori (the bride) who we were and if we would be models for a styled shoot. Before the shoot, I called Rachel, and she LOVED the idea of a proposal during the shoot. I talked to Mere’s parents, got the ring, and coordinated with Rachel (all under Meredith’s nose), and the big day finally arrived. I hid the ring all day, we had so much fun, and Meredith still had no idea what was about to happen. At the end of the day, Mere had changed into her “getaway” dress, and Rachel set up the shot for us to be “leaving the reception” so I could pop the question. We waited till the end of the shoot was so that if Meredith cried, her makeup wouldn’t be messed up for the entire shoot! Sure enough, before I could get all of my words out, the waterworks were in full effect. Mere still didn’t believe it was happening (as her face shows in the pictures) until I pulled out the ring, but she said yes!
When did y’all get married? October 12, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 250
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: In honor of both of our grandparents who had passed away, we had each of our brothers carry a flower down the aisle during the seating of the grandparents and set the flowers in their chairs. It was a way for us to remember them on our wedding day and remind us that they were cheering us on from even better seats.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Pick three things that are most important to you, and budget around those three. If you have a certain photographer, dress, or band that you absolutely have to have… go for it! Budgeting can be so difficult, but we would say invest in what you care about and find a way to cut costs and make sacrifices in areas that do not matter to you as much. For us, we were fully invested in photography and band, but the cake was not so important. Every couple is different, and when you look back, you just want it to feel like “you.”
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? The next big thing on our list is buying a house! We know the house hunting process might take a while, but we’re excited to plant some roots in Nashville and have a place to call home.

Photographer: The Image Is Found / Planner and Florist: Lauren Ledbetter / Venue: Private residence / Cake Baker: The Painted Cupcake / Catering: Temple Catering / Rentals: Music City Tents & Events / Band: Groove Addiction / Paper Products: Hardink Calligraphy / Bride’s Gown: Allure / Hair and Makeup: Amanda Gros / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Amsale / Menswear: Express / Silk Ribbon: Frou Frou Chic

The Image is Found is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

Written with love by Southern Weddings
2 Comments
  1. avatar Claire Cowman reply

    Wow! Her smile is so contagious! You can just tell when brides are radiating a pure joy on their wedding day!!

  2. avatar Heather reply

    Beautiful wedding. I love that the groom was willing to follow the brides wishes of not wanting to be engaged in college but knew how much he loved her and asked within 24 hours of graduating. Beautiful story!

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One of my favorite parts about sharing the behind the scenes details of our editorial shoots is remembering all the work that went into creating the “effortless” beauty that ends up in the pages of the magazine. For example, on this particular hot day in July, I served as a movie narrator, kid wrangler, dog walker, and blanket fluffer, among other things:

Of course, I was far from the only person working hard! Some folks were busy looking pretty, thanks to Opulent Couturier and Studio BBC:

There were shots to be puzzled over and details toted, things to hang and things to straighten.

If you’re wondering if it’s a coincidence that we all appear to have dressed to match the color scheme… it’s not :)

Of course, most importantly, things had to be photographed! Sometimes multiple times, for good measure (or instagram).

Speaking of photography, Nancy Ray knocked it out of the park with one of our longest shot lists of the year on one of our hottest shoot days of the year. I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone sweat so much in my life, but of course, she still managed to look perfectly chic! (How??)

Even Nancy’s composure, however, was tried once we started wrangling our six pint-size participants. Truthfully, they were all very well-behaved, even if one did run for the hills at one point (yes, literally – see below!)

At the end of a long, hot shoot day like this one, the only thing most of us want to do is jump in a cool body of water. This doesn’t usually happen, but in Nashville, it did! At least for our two brave groomsmen. Major kudos to them for braving the algae and snapping turtles to get this shot!

Between the lake jump, sprinklers, kids, ice cream cones, turtles, food trucks, and sparklers, we knew this was one shoot we had to be able to relive in moving picture. Big hugs to Nicholas & Keaton for producing our behind the scenes film!

Don’t miss the final images and all of the talented vendors from this shoot, which you can see right here! And a huge hug to Callie of Nancy Ray Photography for all of these lovely behind the scenes images!

P.S. Cover shoot behind the scenes!

emily Written with love by Emily
5 Comments
  1. avatar Lisa reply

    The behind the scenes looks just as fun as the “wedding!” Love the video, too!

  2. avatar Ashlee Little reply

    This is my favorite editorial in V7!! The behind the scenes video was great. Well done, ladies!

  3. avatar Anastasia Kristina reply

    I love this post so much! Mostly because my wonderful wedding planners, Amber and Jessica are featured here and so is my fiance! Best post ever!

  4. avatar Kyla Fetzner reply

    I absolutely love getting to see and read about the behind-the-scenes work that goes into a lovely editorial shoot such as this one! Thank you for sharing this and the video :)

  5. avatar Haley Faye Malone reply

    I could watch these behind the scenes videos all day! Absolutely loved this one! Y’all are precious and doing wonderful things!

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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