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It has been such a delight having Meg, our spring intern, with us this semester! Since her time in our office is wrapping up, we couldn’t resist asking her to introduce y’all to one of our beautiful real wedding features! – Lisa

You know a couple is a special when an entire street shuts down to celebrate their big day! McKara and Brandon paid homage to their beloved downtown Lakeland in the best way possible–by using its streets as the venue for their reception! Ashton Events, one of our super talented Blue Ribbon Vendors, transformed N. Kentucky Avenue and Pine Street using the most darling and whimsical vintage details (I’m still swooning over those antique floral teacups), while still keeping in mind McKara and Brandon’s main desire: to highlight the strong sense of community that Lakeland has to offer. Guests enjoyed a yummy meal seated at gorgeous, community-style farmhouse tables, and the night ended with the couple inviting folks walking by to join in on the fun. How beautiful is that? McKara and Brandon really captured the sweet essence of community while fusing it with their own quirky and vintage taste. I’m completely tickled with this fun couple and their big day…and I think y’all will be, too!

Thank you, Esther Louise Photography, for sharing this wonderful day with us!

I had my heart set on a peach-hued gown. After looking in boutiques in Florida, I found that none of the bridal shops stocked dresses in the peachy/pink hues I had in mind. I wanted to try on the dress in the color I would be wearing, so a trip to New York City was set up. My mom and my best friend/maid of honor flew up to Manhattan with appointments set at several boutiques who had confirmed they had peach dresses in stock for me to try on. Our first stop was Kleinfeld’s. I really did not have high hopes for finding my dress at Kleinfeld’s because I had my eye on a Carol Hannah dress that I was sure was the one. But, I figured since Kleinfeld’s had the largest selection of peach dresses in stock, it would be worthwhile. Upon arriving, we were extremely impressed with the customer service. Our consultant, Judy, was helpful and attentive. She brought me a brand new style from Lazaro in a peony color–it was just in and had not even been tried on by anyone before. Judy pulled me into the dress and it was beautiful. The peony color was made from alternating layers of ivory, pale yellow, and pale pink tulle created a variation of peach hues within the skirt. The strapless sweetheart neckline was wrapped in delicate peach Chantilly lace with a little peplum over the mountain of tulle. I felt like a cupcake in the best possible way–the softest, peachiest, prettiest cupcake. But, that Carol Hannah dress was still in my mind, which Judy knew. My mom, MOH, and I toured a few more boutiques–Lovely, Reem Acra, and then finally, Carol Hannah. As I slipped into “the dress” I had been dreaming of, I waited for the feeling to know this is the one. Carol was on-site and came out to talk with me as I tried it on. As I evaluated the dress and discussed tweaks with Carol, my mom pointed out that all the changes I was asking for were to make the dress look like the Lazaro dress. She was right. I wanted the Carol Hannah gown to be the one so badly, but I had left my dress at Kleinfeld’s with Judy. The next morning, we returned to Kleinfeld’s. The sales manager saw us in the waiting area and said, “I was just talking about you during the sales meeting this meeting. I told the consultants that not every bride comes in here with red hair, wants a peach dress, and finds the perfect gown. I knew you would come back.”

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? Brandon and I wrote our ceremony together, with input from our officiant–a local community member/friend we admire. We opted to write vows we would both say together versus separate vows we would make to each other. Our completed vows are a very accurate description of the nature of our relationship. This line, in particular, really speaks to our relationship: “I vow to take on anything this world sends our way, standing back to back with you, the one I love most.” I’ve always felt a good visual of our relationship is similar to a movie where two superhero partners are standing back-to-back, with threats coming at them from every direction. We’re not focused on the same thing all of the time, and we may not see what the other sees, but at the end of the day, I feel Brandon behind me and he’s got my back. I can count on that every minute, which allows me to trust him, tackle whatever is thrown at me, jump at opportunities that arise, and always know he will be there if I turn around.

How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We really credit the time we spent while creating my engagement ring before we were engaged as the most concentrated time we spent focusing on the idea of marriage. We discussed a lot about what we wanted from the relationship, what a successful marriage looked like to each of us, and made the choice together to move forward. Although Brandon traditionally “asked” me to marry him during the proposal, it was really a joint decision we made prior to that day.

The ceremony venue, The Loggia at Lake Mirror, is one of our favorite places in Lakeland. The 1920’s architecture overlooking the beautiful lake are right in line with our style. When discussing a ceremony venue, Brandon and I both instantly agreed about The Loggia. We wanted to be outdoors and this was the ideal venue. For the reception, we went a little outside of the box. We knew our guest list could be a little on the heavy side, eliminating most venues of our taste in the Lakeland area. We didn’t want to have to cut guests to accommodate the venue restrictions. One Saturday, while walking through the Farmer’s Market, I asked Brandon, “Why can’t we just have our reception here?” in a wishful thinking kind of way. Brandon thought about it and said, “I bet we could get the city to close the streets for us if they do for the Farmer’s Market.” From there, the ball began to roll. Our hearts were set on the streets of downtown as our reception venue. We approached the City of Lakeland for a road closure request. They had never been asked to hold a private party in the streets and were a little on the unsure side at first. From there, our wedding coordinator, Laura with Ashton Events, worked through all the red tape and permits. The finished reception result was completely worth it. For a fee at a fraction of the cost of a ballroom at a hotel, we were able to close three blocks of downtown Lakeland for our cocktail hour and reception. Cafe lights were strung between the buildings lining the street, feasting tables were brought in for a family-style BBQ dinner on vintage china, the coffee shop we frequent most mornings stayed open late to provide coffee and tea, we created a dance floor in the middle of an intersection, and our favorite wine bar around the corner hosted the after party. Ashton Events was instrumental in coordinating all the moving pieces of the party. It would have never been possible without Laura and her team.

With the venues that we chose, we had a lot of design elements to pull in to fill the space. We essentially started with a blank canvas. For the ceremony, we used a greenery garland at the top of the aisle and vintage wood crates and boxes filled with airy baby’s breath, which I loved as a fun, ethereal filler. Both components were repurposed at the reception in the lounge area. For my bouquet, I carried a hand-tied bouquet with a variety of peach, ivory, and pale pink blooms, lots of greenery, and a few scabiosa pods. Each of the bridesmaid’s bouquets was comprised entirely of one kind of bloom that was represented in my bouquet. This, to me, represented how each of the ‘maids was a different part and sector of my life, but how they all helped make it beautiful. On each of the bouquets, I selected a variety of textiles like velvet ribbon, silk strips, and fuzzy yarns to create a streamer/tassel look hanging from the blooms. For the centerpieces, we used a variety of vintage vases and vessels with springs and sprays of various peach, cream, and pale pink blossoms with lots of greenery and some scabiosa pods.

Our date has special significance because both Brandon’s parents and my parents were married on the same date. We incorporated this into our save the dates by having both sets of parents in the photo. We stood in front of our ceremony location at The Loggia and each couple held a sign with their wedding date, mine and Brandon’s reading October 10, 2014. We wanted guests to know the significance from the get-go, and this was a fun, visual way to share that. At the wedding, we surprised our parents with a little tribute to their anniversaries. Our cake table showcased five smaller cakes rather than one large cake. When it was time to cut the cake, we had displayed both sets of parents’ cake toppers on two of the cakes on the table, in addition to our cake with our own topper. We asked our parents to join us and we all took turns cutting our cakes. They were surprised and touched by the sentiment.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. We elected for five smaller cakes instead of one large cake. This allowed us to select a few different flavors and create a display that included our parent’s wedding cake toppers for their anniversaries. We (and I really mean Brandon, because this was his favorite meeting of the whole wedding planning process) chose a pink champagne cake with a whipped icing as our center cake, which was layered with fresh strawberries. Strawberries are heavily grown in the local area, so this was a nice way to incorporate a little bit more of our city into the wedding. Two of the smaller cakes were orange citrus cake with cream cheese icing–again, a nod to the large citrus industry of our city. The final two small cakes were chocolate with vanilla icing (my personal favorite when it comes to classic flavors). We used five different vintage cake plates to create a display for the beautiful cakes. Each cake was decorated differently, utilizing watercolor painting on a very thin outer layer of fondant, a rustic icing with a sugar bloom, or an application of gold foil. Our main cake that Brandon and I cut featured adorable little ivory china swans with gold foil details from BHLDN. Swans are a big part of the Lakeland community, serving as the symbol of the city, so this was one more tie in to our community.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? That Brandon and I were able to enjoy every single moment. I’ve always heard that your wedding day flies by–you blink and it’s over. I’m not a relaxed personality type, but the day of our wedding, we both were so laid back. We were able to savor every moment and every memory. That is my favorite part–that I am able to relive the whole day in my head and remember being 100% present for those moments, not only through the beautiful photos and video. I credit this to having such a solid conductor of events at the helm with Laura from Ashton Events. We could relax because we knew it was all taken care of and every piece was being executed as planned.

Don’t miss McKara and Brandon’s wedding film by White in Revery!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met our freshman year at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville. We were both involved in sorority/fraternity life and were serving on Greek Council together. Brandon hardly spoke–he’s the quiet, shy type. I eventually transferred to finish my degree at the University of South Florida in Tampa. Our senior year of college, we reconnected through a Facebook status I commented on. We started private messaging and the conversation continued for three months while I finished an internship in England. Brandon had promised to cook me dinner and show me all these great new places in Jacksonville that had popped up since I left–so when I returned stateside, I made a visit to Jacksonville to “visit friends,” testing if Brandon would follow through. He did. He nervously cooked me dinner with the scarce ingredients in his downtown loft and we watched SNL skits all night. The next day, we went to the beach and he pulled me into the ocean…fully dressed. From there, we took visits back and forth between Jacksonville and Tampa until our graduation the following semester.
Tell us all about the proposal! Being that I’m in the design industry (and a Class A control freak), I’m extremely particular about, well, just about everything. When Brandon brought up the idea of marriage, the conversation naturally led to him asking about the type of ring I would like. Together, we spent about seven months sourcing the center stone (a peach seven-karat Morganite) and locating a local jeweler willing to create a custom ring. This was a very enjoyable time in our relationship–it eased us into the concept of marriage and moved us towards the future together. Finally, on August 11, 2012, I stated to Brandon that “I wasn’t going to spend the next however long on pins and needles, trying to look my cutest all the time just waiting for him to propose.” With his sheepish smile, Brandon told me “Well, just look cute today.” I didn’t get the hint and continued to playfully badger him. We went down to the Farmer’s Market, like we do every Saturday, but then Brandon split off, saying he had to drop something off and he’d catch up with me–knowing I’d head to one of our favorite vintage treasure haunts, The Black Swan Bazaar. After browsing, I was ready to move to the next shop, but one of the owners kept pulling me around the store to show me new inventory. Finally, Brandon showed at the entrance of the store. As I turned to head out, I was pulled one more time by the shop keeper who said, “Oh, have you seen one of these before?” as she touched the top of a cut-glass candy dish. I was thinking “Duh, lady, it’s a candy dish…” as she lifted the lid. Mid-thought, I saw a glimpse of the ring Brandon and I had been working on, inside the candy dish in a little box. I turned to look at Brandon and found him on one knee. Brandon muttered somethings which I don’t think my brain even heard because I was completely caught off-guard. We celebrated for a few minutes with the owners and shoppers at The Black Swan before Brandon informed me that his parents were at my parents’ house for a little celebration brunch.
When did y’all get married? October 10, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? About 200
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $50,000-$75,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? The rental fees for the venues were very low. The Loggia was about $750 for the ceremony and closing the streets cost about $250. The streets were a blank canvas, so we had to bring in all the tables, linens, chairs, etc., but we had carte blanche on which vendors to use. We created custom packages with our photographers and videographers to met our needs. The packages they had were either a little under what we were wanting or a little over, so we asked for a personalized package. Typically we would have had to pay extra for things we didn’t want/need, but our vendors were super great and worked with us to meet our needs, which saved us money. For the centerpieces, my mom and I hunted and collected vintage vessels for the two years Brandon and I were engaged. We were able to find most pieces for $1-3 at thrift stores, garage sales, or antique shops. This saved on the cost of the rental, and we were also able to resell the items after the wedding to recoup the cost.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Hire a wedding coordinator! Hands down, it will be the best money you spend on the wedding. Don’t skimp on the hands to do the work that you plan! A lot of time, coordinators can help save you money through vendor relationships they’ve built.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Well, we found out a month after the wedding that we were expecting a baby. So we’re now enjoying the whirlwind experience of becoming parents to a baby boy! We’re looking forward to seeing where the next couple of years take us with my business, Brandon’s career, and watching our son, Rex, grow up in a city we love.

Photographer: Esther Louise Photography | Videographer: White in Revery | Planner: Ashton Events | Ceremony Venue: City of Lakeland’s Loggia | Reception Venue: Downtown Lakeland, N. Kentucky Ave & Pine Street | Florist: FH Weddings | Cake Baker: Hands On Sweets | Caterer: Hickory Hollow BBQ | Rentals: Wish Vintage Rentals | Lighting: Tampa Lights | Band: Brian Sutherland Band | DJ: Cory Baron | China: Dishie Rentals | Paper Products: Boutique Greek | Bride’s Gown: “Style 3300” in Peony by Lazaro | Bride’s Accessories: Lazaro, Carolee, and Kate Spade | Hair and Makeup: Michelle Renee The Studio | Bride’s Shoes: Cynthia Rowley | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Fifth Avenue Showstopper Dress” by Badgley Mischka | Menswear: Men’s Wearhouse, JoS. A. Bank, The Tie Bar, and Johnston Murphy | Linens: Kate Ryan Linens | Chairs: Signature Event Rentals | Bartenders: Tucker’s Southside Liquor & Package | Coffee and Tea: Mitchell’s Coffee House | Vintage Cars: MJC Classic Cars | After-Party Location: Tony’s Studio B | Photo Booth: Bash Booth

Ashton Events is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

Written with love by admin
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    Peaches are such a beloved staple in Southern agriculture and cuisine, and for couples like Ashlee and Tom, who live right in the heart of Georgia’s peach country, they take on an extra special meaning. From bridesmaids outfitted in mismatched peachy hues to the flavor of the ice cream Ashlee and Tom enjoyed during their first look, peaches played an important role in inspiring the look and feel of every detail of this sweet celebration. Ashlee said it best when she said, “Our goal was for our guests to be able to take a bite of a peach and to taste the peach ice cream, and, if just for a moment, be taken back to a time when life was much more simple than it is now.”

    We’re so grateful to Haley Sheffield for sharing Ashlee and Tom’s beautiful wedding with us!

    My first memory of Tom is from an Easter party in second grade; I’d found the “prize egg” during the hunt, and Tom came up behind me and stole the egg from my basket. Thankfully, one of the other guys in our grade wrestled it back from him. Tom swears he stole it because he had a crush on me, but I’m not quite sure if I believe that. We still laugh about it! Years later, when I told my parents that I was going on a date with Tom, my mom’s first reaction was, “the punk that stole your Easter egg?!” My parents adore Tom now, but he did have a reputation to overcome. Tom and I dated for eight years before we got engaged in June 2013.

    Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? Yes, Tom and I did a first look and I’m so happy that we did. Our ceremony was at 7:30 P.M., so we wanted to do our photos before the official festivities began. I also wanted the first glimpse to be private and secluded, instead of in front of a large crowd. We saw each other on the front porch of the Lee Pope House and spent an hour walking through the peach orchard and venturing over to Pearson Farm to get peach ice cream, which is one of our favorite things to do together.

    Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We wrote our vows together and repeated them after our officiant and close friend, Zack. My favorite phrase from our vows would have to be, “I vow to reach for your hand through any crisis and to turn to Christ through any trials.” I love how that phrase unites us with the Lord and is a gentle reminder that although we may lean upon each other, we ultimately look to Christ above all.
    Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. The music at the ceremony was one of my priorities. I chose to walk in to “Baleen Morning” by Balmorhea, which moved me to tears the first time I heard it a few years before our wedding. We also asked our guests to sing along with us to Steve Moakler’s song, “Holiday at Sea.” The lyrics to that song hold a deep meaning to us and remind us that this earth is only our temporary home.

    Three days before our wedding, my lab, Odie, suddenly passed away. I was devastated and worried that I wouldn’t be able to put on a happy face through all the festivities that were about to take place. On our wedding day, I found comfort in the ordinary. Instead of anxiety, I looked at the crowd spread across the lawn at Lee Pope and I saw love. Instead of imperfect details, I saw the countless hours that everyone had pitched in to make that day perfect. I felt calm in the gentle breeze that day. I took deep breaths for the first time in months and felt thankful for the unseasonably cool temperature. As Tom and I slipped away, hand in hand, to share some peach ice cream, I found contentment in the simplicity of it all. For the first time of our 14-month engagement, I was able to see what that day was truly about. Although it was by far the most challenging part of our wedding and something most brides hopefully won’t have to face, I am grateful that it gave me the vulnerability to realize what a sacred day our wedding day was. I’d become so wrapped up in every detail being perfect that I’d neglected to focus on the real meaning behind the day.

    What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? Our ceremony venue and reception venue both hold a very special place in our hearts. Our ceremony venue is a house near our family’s farm that holds so much farming history. I have a special connection with the Lee Pope House, and I knew immediately that there was no place I’d rather join our lives at than there. Tom and our families spent over a year fixing up our barn for the reception.

    Tom is a farmer and I wanted our entire wedding to represent that tradition. Our wedding was centered around peaches–what this small county in Middle Georgia is famous for. Our goal was for our guests to be able to take a bite of a peach and to taste the peach ice cream, and, if just for a moment, be taken back to a time when life was much more simple than it is now.

    Don’t miss Ashlee + Tom’s video from Hampton Road Studios!

    Tell us all about the proposal! I was in North Carolina photographing a wedding and Tom decided to come with me. He mentioned that he’d like to stay an extra day, which I found odd, because Tom is usually itching to get back to work on the farm. We went to visit Tom’s brother-in-law, Stephen, who is also a photographer. Stephen told me that he was “rebranding” and that he needed a new headshot for his website. The three of us went to a mountainside park close to Stephen’s house and I began taking photos. After we were done, Stephen somehow convinced me to let him take a few photos of Tom and me. He positioned Tom a few feet behind me in the background and then told me to look towards Tom. Tom was down on one knee holding the most beautiful ring, and all I remember was telling him he was “making a scene.” Those pictures are so special to us.
    When did y’all get married? August 2, 2014
    How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 250
    Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I wanted my dress hunt to be very simple and relaxed. I took only my mom with me and we made a fun girls’ day out of it. We found my dress at the first shop we visited, The Sentimentalist in Atlanta. I loved how light and breathable it was. I’m a very low key person, so I wanted simplicity as well as comfort, and the Elizabeth Dye gown provided both. I selected a gold scalloped belt to accent the waistline.
    If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $50,000-$75,000
    What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Directly after the ceremony, Tom, Haley (our photographer), Aphid (our dog), and I snuck away for about 20 minutes. Tom took us to the edge of a field that overlooked the entire county–a gorgeous view. We caught the tail end of the sunset and it was the first time we’d gotten to be alone that entire month, really. It was so quiet and I felt so at peace at that moment.
    What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We purchased a 100-year-old farmhouse and are knee-deep in renovations. Married life is so fun. I love not having to say goodbye at night. When he leaves for work in the morning, he kisses me on the forehead–he thinks I’m still asleep, but I’m not. I love that. I just love sharing this life with him.

    Photographer: Haley Sheffield / Videographer: Hampton Road Studios / Planner: Molly McKinley Designs / Venue: Private residence / Florist: Lindsay Coletta Designs / Cake Baker: Jan McCord Catering / Caterer: Leon Holloway / Rentals: Southern Vintage / Band: Celebration Band / Paper Products: Emma Torrence / Bride’s Gown: “Tempest” by Elizabeth Dye / Bridal Salon: The Sentimentalist / Hair and Makeup: Sarah Elisabeth Makeup Artistry / Bride’s Shoes: “On the Floor” by Seychelles

    Haley Sheffield is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

    lisa Written with love by Lisa
    3 Comments
    1. avatar Atlanta Wedding Planner & Designer | Peach-Inspired | Atlanta Wedding Planning & Design reply

      […] special thank you to Southern Weddings for featuring this sweet fete. You can view their feature here. Also, make sure to check out their amazing wedding day […]

    2. avatar Kyla Fetzner reply

      Those wedding videos get me teary every time! I really like how they incorporated a line from Oceans into their day :)

    3. avatar Victoria reply

      Hello!

      I’m a bride who is looking for mix and match dresses, and these bridesmaids dresses are gorgeous! I know that they are most likely no longer on sale, but I just have no idea where to look for this kind of style. Comfortable, breathable, and slightly more casual. Could you direct me to a place where I could find that? Thanks!

    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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    I don’t know about y’all, but we are loving National Peach Month around here! Between last week’s peachy-keen Fab Finds and all the fresh peaches we’ve been eating (staff meeting snack, anyone?), we’re celebrating August to the fullest! To continue the festivities, we’ve rounded up some of our very favorite peach details from real weddings to share today.

    Green peaches tucked into a bouquet and a mini peach boutonniere? Don’t mind if we do.

    Jose Villa (bouquet by Flower Wild) via Southern Weddings and Kate Headley via Elizabeth Anne Designs

    The gorgeous colors of peaches are just asking to be incorporated into table settings!

    Top two by Kate Headley via Southern Weddings; next two by Justin & Mary Marantz; simple peach tablescape by The Reason and Buzzy Craftery via Southern Weddings; next three images by Our Labor of Love via Southern Weddings; last image by Tanja Lippert via Southern Weddings

    No peach round-up would be complete without a sweet peach treat. Peach cake, peach pie, peach sundae… I’ll take one of each, please!

    First two images by Tanja Lippert via Southern Weddings; peach-topped cake by Lael Cakes; peach sundae by Steve Steinhardt via Southern Weddings; peach cake by Elizabeth Messina; bow peach cake by Kate Headley via Elizabeth Anne Designs; peach pie by Ulmer Studios via Southern Weddings; sugared peach cake by The Nichols via Southern Weddings

    Have you had your fill of peaches this August?

    emily Written with love by Emily
    4 Comments
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      […] National Peach Month with these pretty […]

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      […] 6 – Peach love – they look adorable as decorations! […]

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      […] Rosen, Korb mit Pfirsichen, Strohhalme, Pfirsich auf Serviette, Gefäß mit Pfirsichen, Strauß, Pfirsich, Gastgeschenke, Vuvuzela Rosen, Kuchen mit […]

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