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We’re currently counting down the days until we get to reveal the NEWEST Southern Weddings editorials to y’all (eeeeee!!!), but it’s still almost as fun to look back at past projects and enjoy them all over again! We try hard to make the ideas we share with y’all meaningful as well as beautiful, current as well as timeless, and a good indicator that we’ve succeeded is when we love something just as much years after it debuted as we did on newsstand day. Such is the case with Blackberry Beauty from Volume 6, inspired by family dinners, delicious food, and tasty desserts in starring roles.

Hugs to Lauren Kinsey for these beautiful images!

Photographer: Lauren Kinsey / Film processing: Indie Film Lab / Planner: Shelby Peaden Events / Venues: The Strickland House and Eden Gardens / Florals, tables, chairs, linens and stemware: Myrtie Blue / Bride’s Gown: Lela Rose via Nordstrom Wedding Suite / Groom’s Tuxedo: Black by Vera Wang / Hair Stylist: Jamie Hardy Mcowan / Flower girl dresses: Fox’n Lily / Makeup: Lanna Bloodworth / Bridesmaid Dresses: Donna Morgan, Amsale, Watters / Silk Ribbon: FrouFrou Chic / Chairs and Flatware: The Big Day / Catering: Dine By Design / Paper Products: Regas / Transportation: A Bride’s Ride

Myrtie Blue and Shelby Peaden Events are delightful members of the Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory and Donna Morgan is a lovely SW sponsor!

emily Written with love by Emily

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So many couples meet and fall in love in college, and y’all know how much we love it when a bride and groom find wedding inspiration from their love story! That said, some college colors can be, let’s say, less than fitting for an elegant celebration. I love Rosie and Dan’s sweet solution–these two shared so many special moments at Clemson (including their proposal–see below!), but instead of trying to make bright Clemson orange and purple work at the Legare Waring House, they chose softer shades of each color. The result? A lovely (and meaningful!) peach and lavender palette that was carried out through beautiful blooms by Branch Design Studio and captured to perfection by our Blue Ribbon Vendor, Courtney Dox!

Our wedding flowers were so beautiful! Our wedding colors were peach and lavender, to represent the Clemson orange and purple, in honor of where we met and got engaged. I wanted a mix of colors and textures, as well as flowers that meant something to me. Growing up, we always picked Queen Anne’s lace at my grandma’s house, so I wanted to include that, as well as peonies since we have a huge peony garden at our house. The fringe tulips added beautiful texture, and the garden roses added the peach color I was looking for. The centerpieces were in a mixture of mercury glass vases and clear bud vases. We had rod iron shepherd’s hooks with hanging cut glass vases as aisle markers, which we re-purposed after the ceremony on the bar tables. We had wine barrels at our altar with large tall arrangements on top mixed with smaller arrangements for height variation, which we also repurposed at the reception.

We had the ceremony under the row of oaks at Legare Waring House, which we fell in love with the moment we saw it. It was the first venue we saw that day, and when we left, we both said, “This is the one.” The oak trees were really what sold us, but the house was also so perfect. We loved the Southern decor inside and that our guests could be outside with us near the band, or go inside to get away from it if they wanted to. We also loved that the entire upstairs was the bridal suite–it was such a beautiful place to get ready. There were also two groom’s suites for the guys to hang out in the day-of, which none of the other venues we looked at had.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We wrote our entire ceremony. Our good friend from college officiated, which was so special to us. This is a phrase we both loved: “Loving someone is a reason to stretch beyond our limits, to become more for the sake of the other. It is to look into the soul of your beloved and embrace what you see. A couple who weds are joined not only by the mutual affection and love they share, but also by their hopes, dreams, and by their promises of what will be.”

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Our food was really one of our favorite parts of the wedding. Cru was amazing to work with, and the food was all we had hoped for. We had assorted Southern hors d’oeuvres, like fried green tomatoes and pimento cheese, pickled shrimp BLTs, pork belly with smoked tomato caramel glaze and goat cheese, and smoked mozzarella potato blintzes with truffle oil and mushrooms. For the main dinner, we had a shrimp and grits station, a carving station with filet, grilled veggies, and fresh bread, and a salad station with goat cheese caesar salad. We got to introduce many of our Northern guests to some fun Southern dishes–most people tried shrimp and grits for the first time, which everyone was really excited about!

What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Our planner! Francesca from Pure Luxe Bride and her entire team were so amazing. We had to deal with rain the entire weekend, which was really stressful. I had a tent on rain reserve, but I had my heart set on an open-air celebration. Francesca made me feel really good about our decision to get the tent to be safe, and even somehow got us a clear-top tent the day before the wedding, which ended up being stunning. She and her team added draping for us the morning of the wedding, and also totally reworked our seating chart to work around the tent. She really knows what she’s doing, which saved the day…and it didn’t end up raining at all!

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? We had our planner grab us right when the food was put out and bring us upstairs to the bridal suite so we could eat just the two of us. It was only about ten minutes, but we loved taking a moment alone to be like, “We’re married!” and call each other husband and wife for the first time. We also got to try our amazing wedding food that our planner had so graciously set up for us with our drinks of choice. We are so happy we did that.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Dan and I met during our freshman year at Clemson University. We were great friends all throughout college, and then started dating our senior year. Our friendship grew into the most amazing relationship. We graduated and moved to Maryland (where Dan is from) together, and dated for six years before we got engaged! It is a great feeling knowing you are marrying your best friend.
Tell us all about the proposal! We were at Clemson for the weekend for a football game with friends and family, and decided to get up early on Sunday to go for a walk around campus together. We go back to Clemson every year for a game, but rarely get to take in our surroundings because we’re so busy. We were up pretty early, so it seemed like we were the only people on campus. We took a picture of ourselves with the library in the background (if you’ve ever been to Clemson, you know how beautiful this view is). I looked at him and started getting emotional because I was just so happy to be with him, and then he then got down on one knee and asked me to marry him! Even though we had been dating for so long, I did not see this coming! It was the most amazing moment.
When did y’all get married? April 18, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 125
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We did decide to do a first look. We both really wanted to be at the cocktail hour to see and talk to as many people as possible, and to really take in the day. We are so happy we did a first look! We got so many photos done before the ceremony, with only a few taken after the ceremony around the grounds. This made for a stress-free, fun time for us both.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. We had a two-tiered white buttercream wedding cake with fresh flowers on it. It was simple, yet stunning. We went with pound cake with raspberry sauce and lemon curd inside. We also had a dessert table that included mini bourbon pecan pies with vanilla bean meringue, mini double fudge brownies, mini Meyer lemon squares, and assorted cookies.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are looking forward to our lives as a married couple. Children will hopefully be in our near future as well, but for now, we’re in love with being married to each other.

Photographer: Courtney Dox Photography / Videographer: Siegel Films / Planner: Francesca of Pure Luxe Bride / Venue: Legare Waring House / Florist: Branch Design Studio / Cake Baker: Declare Cakes / Caterer: Cru / Rentals: Snyder / Vintage Items and Love Sign: 428 Main / Lighting: Innovative Event Services / Band: The Root Doctors / Paper Products: Scotti Cline Designs / Bride’s Gown: Lazaro / Bridal Salon: Love Couture / Bride’s Hair Accessory and Jewelry: Haute Bride / Bride’s Belt: Carol Hannah / Accessory Salon: Southern Protocol / Hair and Makeup: Paper Dolls / Bride’s Shoes: Nina / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Rachel” and “Morgan” in Grey Ridge by Donna Morgan / Menswear: Men’s Warehouse

Courtney Dox and Scott Cline Designs are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
  1. avatar Dana reply

    love how their flowers turned out!

  2. avatar Maureen reply

    I really didn’t think I’d like the lavender and peach combo but it looks so soft and romantic together – I love it!

    Josh and I just celebrated our one-year wedding anniversary yesterday and it’s so surreal. I still feel like it was yesterday and love reading about weddings because it reminds you of the magic of your own day too. ;)

  3. avatar Occasions In Print reply

    Love the flowers and the location is stunning!

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BDK and I actually celebrated our reception in the lobby of the historic Lakeside Inn! So, I love seeing couples transform non-traditional venues into beautiful reception sites that represent their own personal style and love story. Tess and Bernard wanted to show off where they’re proud to live, so they chose to hold their reception at the historic Etoile Polaire Lodge built in the 1830’s. No one had ever held a wedding reception there, so Tess and Bernard worked with their planner Clandestine Events, and Blue Ribbon Vendors Pret a Fete and Kim Starr Wise to develop their vision for a swamp-inspired, romantic vibe into the beautiful reception celebration Tess described as “perfection.” Keeping with their South New Orlean’s feel, they even ended the night with a “bounce” (new Orleans-style rap) performance by Vockah Redu!

Big thanks to Heirloom Collective for sharing such a fun day with us!

We met at the Voodoo Experience music festival in New Orleans in 2008. I was dating someone else at the time, but we became good friends. Bernard, as he likes to say, played the long game — and we got together for good in the spring of 2012. By the time we started dating, we didn’t need to worry about uncovering each others’ skeletons in the closet — we already knew all the dirt there was to know about each other!

Tell us all about the proposal! I came home from breakfast at my dad’s house to find a puppy (our second mixed breed rescue) on our bed with a ring on a gold cord around his neck. It was 9:30 in the morning and I was not expecting it in the slightest! The diamond was my great-grandmother’s, and my mom had helped Bernard design a contemporary setting.

How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? The ceremony was only 40 our nearest and dearest — then we celebrated with 215 wonderful guests at the reception!
What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? We wanted all our wedding weekend events to be right in or around our neighborhood — we love where we live and wanted to show it off to visiting family and friends. Preservation Hall is a gorgeous, historic space that just screams New Orleans, and it’s small and intimate. The reception was at a masonic lodge built in the 1830’s — again, a gorgeous historic space. The coolest thing about the reception venue was that no one had ever had a wedding reception there — that also made it a ton of work as they had minimal infrastructure!

Did you write your own vows? We wrote our own vows, and we incorporated bits and pieces of various traditions. My favorite part was a vow we modified from a Buddhist ceremony we found online: “Tess and Bernard, just as we are a mystery to ourselves, each other person is also a mystery to us. Do you pledge to seek to understand yourselves, each other, and all living beings, to examine your own minds continually and to regard all the mysteries of life with curiosity and joy?”
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Tess’s sister officiated our ceremony, which was wonderful — so sweet and intimate. Each of our moms did a reading — Bernard’s mom read “[love is more thicker than forget]” by e.e. cummings and mine read “The Two of You,” by Czeslaw Milosz. Bernard’s friend Barry read a selection from a gorgeous poem that moved us to tears the first time we read it, called “Little Sleep’s-Head Sprouting Hair in the Moonlight,” by Galway Kinnell.

What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? We were psyched to work with Emily Shaya from Pret a Fête rentals in New Orleans. She has an awesome selection of vintage furniture that helped us give the reception a distinct style beyond the typical table-chairs-centerpieces.

South Louisiana is a bit of its own animal as far as the South is concerned, but our wedding was certainly chock full of unique South Louisiana elements. Instead of a rehearsal dinner we had a crawfish boil for all our guests on Friday night — and a Cajun band, Soul Creole, played. On our wedding day we represented quite a few New Orleans musical traditions: traditional jazz at Preservation Hall, New Orleans funk from Dumpstaphunk, and even a bounce (new Orleans-style rap) performance by Vockah Redu to close out the reception!

Describe your wedding flowers. The interior of our reception venue was pretty stark, so we knew we’d need to go big with the flowers. Bernard wanted to stay far away from the typical ivory-and-pink palate — we developed a vision for a swamp-inspired, rustic, romantic vibe that our florist Kim Starr Wise executed to perfection. The vines all over the interior were her (brilliant) idea.

When did y’all get married? 3/29/15
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I spent a weekend shopping for wedding dresses with my mom in New York, where I grew up, and didn’t find anything perfect. On a whim, I stopped into Town & Country, an old school bridal boutique in New Orleans, during my lunch break one day — and found the perfect dress!
Did you decide to do a first look? We didn’t do a first look. We had a small ceremony followed by champagne hour just with the ceremony guests — so we did our photos right after the ceremony. Everyone we wanted in photos was at the ceremony, so it was easy. Also, from being with friends the day of their weddings, it seemed that once they had their hair and makeup done, and their dress on, they were anxious to get the ceremony underway!
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. I walked down the aisle to “Such a Night” by Dr. John — a New Orleans classic and a nod to our shared history before we got together. Our first dance was “Rock with You” by Michael Jackson — we took dance lessons to prepare, which was a blast.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. We had a wedding cake — coconut lime cake with lime curd filling and cream cheese frosting — as well as a groom’s cake, which was Super Mario-themed and complete with a fondant Yoshi (the name of our puppy, who delivered my engagement ring to me).
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We bought and renovated a house together before we even got engaged, which we felt was the big test of our relationship. We also started a joint checking account to pay all our shared expenses, which helped ease the transition and build trust!
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? It was definitely a second job, and the work fell (surprise, surprise) mostly on the bride. Planning an event in a space without the typical wedding infrastructure allows you to be way more creative — but it can also end up costing a lot more, and taking a huge amount more time and effort to plan.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? When my mom got confused about the order of the ceremony and stage-whispered loudly from the front row, “When are you going to kiss?”
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? The main thing your guests care about — and the main thing they will remember — is how happy you look. And believe it or not, all the stress of planning will melt away once you turn to each other to hold hands and say your vows.

Photographer: Heirloom Collective | Planner: Clandestine NOLA |
Ceremony Venue: Preservation Hall | Reception Venue: Étoile Polaire Masonic Lodge | Florist: Kim Starr Wise | Wedding Cake: Shake Sugary | Caterer: MoPho NOLA | Vintage Rentals: Pret a Fête | Rentals: Event Rental | Lighting: Firefly Ambiance | Musicians: Little Maker, Dumpstaphunk, Quickie Mart, Vockah Redu | Paper Products: Sarah Mangerson Design | Bride’s Gown: Watters Wtoo | Bride’s Hair Accessories/Veil/Jewelry: Ted Muehling | Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist: Blush and Bashful | Bride’s Shoes: London Sole | Groom’s Suit: Paul Smith | Groom’s Shoes by Cole Haan | Photo Booth: Deep Fried Photo

Kim Starr Wise, Firefly Ambiance, and Pret a Fete are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
  1. avatar Janna reply

    What a gorgeous wedding! And I love the Lakeside Inn- growing up in the Altamonte Springs/Apopka area, I know Lakeside Inn well!

  2. avatar Emily Sawyer reply

    Marissa, I am curious! Is there a post of your wedding at the Lakeside Inn? I love Mount Dora and have been to the Lakeside Inn. What does a reception in the lobby look like?

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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