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With the countdown to my wedding officially under one year, I figured it was only fitting that this week’s Sweet Tea Sunday went to my wedding photographer! Ryan Ray and his lovely wife, Cary, are the sweetest couple, and they’ll be celebrating five years of marriage this month. We’re so grateful to have highlighted their beautiful work on the covers of both V5 and V6, and we’re delighted to share their sweet advice today!

Lindsey Shea

Marriage will never be perfect because it’s two imperfect people doing life together. Strive to love the other person for who they are, and not who you wish them to be. It’s laying down pride, asking for forgiveness, and reflecting on your own heart instead of your spouse’s. Our marriage has grown when we’ve been willing to sacrifice for each other. It has been lots of laughter, some tears, and ultimately, surrendering everything to, and placing all hope in, the Creator of this beautiful mess we call marriage.

Jose Villa

Keep up with Ryan:
Website: Ryan Ray
Facebook: Ryan Ray Photo
Twitter: @imryanray
Instagram: @imryanray

lisa Written with love by Lisa
  1. avatar Claudette reply

    Hi Lisa, I’m sure that Ryan did excellent work on your wedding…just checked his blog and saw that he also worked on cover for Martha Stewart Weddings Magazine. Also, I’ll definitely check V5 and V6. P.S. Second photo is so romantic :)

  2. avatar Nancy Ray reply

    Love this couple and their true words. Love me some Rays!! ;)

  3. avatar Ryan Ray reply

    Thank you for this sweet post! I love my beautiful, southern wife. Glad that photo doesn’t show my face. It was a mess of tears :)

  4. avatar Southern Weddings Weekly Round-Up – Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] friends Ryan and Cary Ray shared their marriage advice in Sweet Tea Sunday. We got a peek inside Katelyn James’ colorful home in Southern Newlywed. We wished our mamas […]

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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Hi y’all! This may be one of the Lisa’s Southern Wedding posts I’ve been the most excited to write—today, I’m introducing our photographer! As far as wedding vendors go, photography has been my number one priority since long before I got engaged. I truly believe that having the right photographer—someone whose style you love and who makes the effort to get to know you and your story—makes all the difference in getting the timeless wedding pictures that will become heirlooms for generations to come.

Before Dave and I had a wedding date or a venue, or even a state to get married in, we emailed the photographer we wanted to work with. While I do not recommend this (a time and place are obviously crucial details for booking wedding vendors!), we were too excited to wait, and thankfully, our photographer was very gracious with us! I’ve known for a few years now who I wanted to photograph my wedding, but truly, there are SO many photographers whose work I love. In case you’re looking for a photographer right now, I wanted to share a few other photographers I am a huge fan of—had our photographer not been available on our wedding date (once we chose one :)), I would have been just as thrilled to work with any of these talented people.

I love every picture Ali Harper takes more than the last. She uses light so beautifully and has an incredible editorial eye. Some of my all-time favorite wedding pictures are by Ali (like the photo on the left—swoon!), and she is so sweet—exactly the kind of person you want to have around on your wedding day!

Eric Kelley was one of the first photographers I met when I started working for Southern Weddings, and I must admit, it was a little surreal meeting him after admiring his work for so many years, but he couldn’t have been nicer! Eric is so amazing at capturing details and I especially love the bridal portraits he takes.

I just adore Landon and Jordan of Landon Jacob Photography—they are some of the friendliest people ever, and their work is so dreamy. From working with them on our V6 team shoot, I also learned firsthand that they’re not afraid to step in and “fix you” (out-of-place hair, necklace clasps, etc.), which I think is an essential quality for a great photographer to have!

As you can tell from this list, we were looking for a photographer who shoots film, has a strong editorial eye, and who Dave and I genuinely like as a person–after all, we’ll be spending more time with our photographer than almost anyone else on our wedding day. We are overjoyed that our photographer has all of these qualities in spades. If you haven’t guessed it already, I’m thrilled to announce that the one and only Ryan Ray will be photographing our wedding!!!

Seriously, y’all. Do I even need to say anything else following these beautiful pictures? Ryan is truly gifted at capturing everything from stunning portraits to sweet moments to gorgeous details, and his images just sing to me. I’ve been known to say that I can spot a Ryan Ray picture from a mile away! Plus, he is SO nice. I love working with him for Southern Weddings, and know his personality will be a perfect fit with Dave and I and our families. We are truly, truly honored that he’ll be making the trip to North Carolina to shoot our wedding day!

I’d love to hear, who is photographing your big day? How did you choose them?

In case you missed a post…
I’m Engaged!
The Main Characters
Our Venues

lisa Written with love by Lisa
  1. avatar Janine reply

    Ginny Corbett of Ginny Corbett Photography is photographing our wedding September 14, 2014! She has a heart of gold and her easy going, loving, and hilarious personality made it a piece of cake to choose her to be there to capture our memories! We’ve become GREAT friends and I can talk to her about anything, wedding or unrelated. She uses light in the most beautiful way and is truly interested in the couple’s priorities and captures their love in the moment. My fiancee and I had SUCH a fun time at our engagement shoot and can’t WAIT to share our wedding day with Ginny (as well friends and family, of course!)

  2. avatar Corinna Hoffman reply

    Beautiful pictures! Love the photo with the bride & her floral bridesmaids dresses!

  3. avatar Dana reply

    Ryan Ray is going to make me look soooo beautiful in photos! And of course, you. :D

  4. avatar Emily reply

    I love this post!! Like you said, there are so many talented photographers out there (a perfect fit for every couple), but I definitely believe Ryan will be an amazing addition to your day. Can’t wait!!!

  5. avatar Abby reply

    will you also be doing engagement pictures with him? Just wondering how that works since he is from out of state! I imagine I will be in the same situation someday, so just wanted to hear your thoughts. I know most people shoot with the same person to get comfortable before the big day. Would love to hear your thoughts on that!

    • avatar Lisa reply

      Hi Abby! We will be doing our engagement pictures with him. Ryan is based in Dallas and my family lives in Houston, so Dave and I are going to take a little road trip up to Dallas during a trip home. We’re really excited to meet Ryan in person before our wedding and start to feel comfortable with him photographing us. While it is definitely not necessary, engagement pictures are a great opportunity to get to know your wedding photographer, if you can make it work! One other possibility is trying to coordinate travel plans if your photographer frequently shoots in a location you can get to more easily. Hope that helps! :)

  6. avatar Lisa's Southern Wedding: Bridesmaid Style – Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] love to know! In case you missed a post… I’m Engaged! / The Main Characters / Our Venues / Our Photographer / Our Videographer / Planning Our Engagement Pictures / Our […]

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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Oh my stars, we are so excited to share more of our beautiful V6 Texas shoot! After V5’s beloved Yellow Rose shoot, we were thrilled to bring this stellar team of Texas vendors together again to celebrate another classic Texan folk song–this time, the beloved “Deep in the Heart of Texas.” Stefanie Miles planned and styled the most beautiful setup in the middle of a North Texas wheat field, and every detail was captured to perfection by Ryan Ray. Unsurprisingly, the results were truly breathtaking!

Bows + Arrows created the most exquisite bouquets, using all different white blooms and the prettiest ribbon from FrouFrou Chic. We love how the flowers pop against our night sky-inspired color palette!

One of our top must-haves for this shoot was a cowboy groom. Blair certainly fit the bill in his handsome hat, and I’m sure y’all will agree, that lasso is the perfect finishing touch.

Oh, this dress! I can hardly wait to print the picture below for my bulletin board. There were audible cheers from the office when Marissa told us we had secured this sparkly Monique Lhuillier for our shoot!

One of our absolute favorite comments from SW readers so far has been that our V6 cover couple looks so in love. Well, friends, that’s because they are! We’re truly delighted to have a real married couple on our cover: our sweet friend (and BRV member!) Christina of Christina Leigh Events and her husband. Their love truly shines off the page and we think they represent our mission so beautifully.

We’re overjoyed with how the details of this shoot came together. From a gauzy backdrop with handpainted calligraphy to flower girl tutus made of 250+ yards of tulle, everything looks so stunning against the open landscape that is so typical of Texas.

Could this tablescape get any prettier? LOOT Vintage Rentals brought some of their incredible inventory all the way from Austin to be part of the shoot. We’re also smitten with the star garland!

We’ve featured some lovely pies in SW history, but these just may be some of the prettiest. Layered Bake Shop hit it out of the park with luscious blueberry and pecan pies, complete with dreamy star details. The sparkly “Just Married” shooting star cutout is a show stopper!

We are so smitten with the V6 cover and couldn’t be happier with how this shoot turned out! Be sure to check out our print edition for lots more! We’d love to know, what’s your favorite detail of this shoot?

Stefanie Miles is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
  1. avatar Nicole reply

    I am absolutely head over heels in love with this gown. It is incredible.

  2. avatar Ryan Ray reply

    So thankful for y’all! Absolutely LOVED being a part of this shoot! :)

  3. avatar Emily reply

    Oh my goodness, I love it all!!!! The color scheme, the beautiful signs, THAT DRESS, the cowboy hat. Such goodness in every picture.

  4. avatar Christina L. Frederick reply

    Happy tears. A lot of happy, happy tears. I am in love with this man so much and I can’t thank you ALL for letting us be such a special part of #SWV6! Ryan and Stefanie and truly talented at what they do and we were so blessed to be part of something so much bigger than ourselves, and so full of love! Deep, true, southern love! Congratulations on a fabulous issue. Every page is perfect! We can’t wait to celebrate with you this week!
    Big, big hugs! Christina

  5. avatar Kat reply

    One of my favorite shoots in SW history!!! Love it, y’all!!!

  6. avatar Mary reply

    LOVE IT ALL! I’m partial to Texas, but I love the Deep in the Heart of Texas painting! And that dress…drool. Can I be a bride again?

  7. avatar Stefanie Miles reply

    So very thankful, love you ladies and the story your magazine tells about love and marriage! Truly, such a joy to be a part, and alongside so many others I admire in this industry!

  8. avatar alicia rico reply

    what an honor to be a part of this shoot…..
    and an even bigger honor to be a part of the cover….
    and the greatest honor of all is to work with kind, amazing, talented friends like stef and ryan!
    LOVE Y’ALL!!!!!

  9. avatar Cheap Wedding Dresses reply

    The dress is so pretty.

  10. avatar Southern Weddings Magazine Feature » Layered Bake Shop reply

    […] and blessed to be included with such amazing vendors for an editorial in the newest issue! Click here to see the online feature and pick your copy up on newstands […]

  11. avatar Shannon Star reply

    So stunning! Everything about this feature is so captivating and dreamy. And that dress!! Stephanie and Ryan you are truly magical. Thank you so much for including me in something so amazing!

  12. avatar Dana reply

    i think this dress just made me cry

  13. avatar michelle reply

    this is my favorite wedding shoot EVER. it is completely perfect. even my boyfriend likes it! the brides dress is incredible. and i am dying over that stripe dress. any chance you can share a link? it needs to be in my closet asap.

  14. avatar Southern Weddings Weekly Round-Up | Southern Weddings reply

    […] up for our editorial posts was our stunning cover shoot, Deep in the Heart of Texas! We love every detail of this gorgeous shoot, inspired by the classic Texan folk […]

  15. avatar Alyssa Martinez reply

    love love love the sweet hanging canvases! and the couch the precious babies are playing on. absolutely beautiful!

  16. avatar Jolies bouquetières | La Petite Touche reply

    […] Source: Southern Weddings […]

  17. avatar Deep in the Heart of Texas @ Taylor'd Events reply

    […] been to Texas, but I have always really wanted to visit. And now seeing this wonderful wedding from Southern Weddings, I want to go even more. I love the use of all the stars, so very Texas […]

  18. avatar BRIDESMAID TRENDS FOR 2014 – PART 1 | crazyforus reply

    […] is one of our favorite color choices—it’s classic, flattering, and easy to find—but thesebridesmaids take it to a whole new level of prettiness with the mix of lace, stripes, and silk […]

  19. avatar Chelsea reply

    I love the custom calligraphy banners in this post! Do you know where they’re from or what company they used to create them? Thanks!

  20. avatar Summer Breeze – Casual Chic Wedding Inspiration in Navy, Taupe, and White » Hey Wedding Lady reply

    […] Photo Credits: White & Blue Bridal Look: Photography by Bess Friday, Styling by Blair Edie, Dress Designed  by BHLDN | Bridal Party: Photography by Caroline Tran, Planning & Design by Kelly Oshiro Design via Style Me Pretty | Groom in Navy: Photography by Alea Lovely via Ruffled | Moon Tiles: Photography by Jehane | Sun Hat: Photography by Go Forth Creative, Styling by Grown-up Shoes, via Camille Styles | Stars & Invites: Photography by Ryan Ray via Southern Weddings […]

  21. avatar Vintage Prairie Wedding | Burnett’s Boards – Wedding Inspiration reply

    […] // cake knives from Burnett’s Boards, photographed by Byron Loves Fawn // reception area from Southern Weddings, photographed by Ryan Ray Photography, styled by Lavender Joy Weddings // moonshine wedding favors […]

  22. avatar Starry nights wedding | Häät tähtien alla :: Best Day Ever reply

    […] 1 – Poppies and me via 100 Layer Cake, 2 – Ryan Ray for Southern Weddings, 3 – Erin Milnik via Wedding Chicks, 4 – Kate Prefkates Photography via Wedding chicks, 5 – […]

  23. avatar Daria reply

    My daughter is getting married deep in the Heart of the Hill Country. Where can I purchase the banner “The Stars at Night”

    • avatar Lisa reply

      Hi Daria! The banner was custom made for this shoot by Sending Heartstrings.

  24. avatar Wedding Inspiration // Calligraphy | Coastal Bride reply

    […] Layer CakeAdam Barnes via Wedding Chicks // Katie Parra Photography via Style Me PrettyRyan Ray via Southern WeddingsBuffy Dekmar via Elizabeth Anne Designs // Rylee Hitchner Photography via Style Me PrettyLaura […]

  25. avatar Crafts & Cocktails: Sending Heartstrings | ShoshShop reply

    […] I think it is a tie, either seeing Laura’s logo live (which was my first BIG project) OR seeing the Sending Heartstrings banner in Southern Weddings. […]

  26. avatar Kait reply

    Those gorgeous, angelic flower girl dresses just melt my heart! How cute are they!! A-D-O-R-A-B-L-E. Where are they from?

  27. avatar Bridal Styling Secrets from my Favorite Fashion Blogs! | Hey Wedding Lady reply

    […] Photography by Ryan Ray, Styling by Stefanie Miles, via Southern Weddings […]

  28. avatar Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star: Blue + Gold Wedding Ideas | My Wedding Zone reply

    […] Photography via Wedding Chicks // Twinkle Lights: Domus // Invitation Suite: Photo by Ryan Ray via Southern Weddings Oh, and who isn’t loving the idea of using spray painted bottles as vases? Hello inexpensive […]

  29. avatar Jolies bouquetières | La Petite Touche reply

    […] Source: Southern Weddings […]

  30. avatar Mismatched Navy Blue Bridesmaid Dresses | Dress for the Wedding reply

    […] Top left: Photography by Brett Heidebrecht via Grey Loves Weddings  // Top right: Photography by Jessica Burke via 100 Layer Cake  // Bottom left: Emily Wren via Style Me Pretty // Bottom right: Photography by Ryan Ray via Southern Weddings […]


    […] setting: Taylor Lord Photography // Almond cake // Wrapped packages: Nicole Franzen // Cake table: Ryan Ray // Gown: Rylee Hitchner // Paper goods: Jen […]

  32. avatar My Wedding Inspiration! [Navy & Gold] | reply

    […] See the whole post here over at the Southern Weddings site. […]

  33. avatar UNA BODA DECORADA CON ESTRELLAS | Popelin Happy Weddings reply

    […] 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 /10 / […]

  34. avatar wedding + event institute pantone contest | Burnett's Boards – Daily Wedding Inspiration reply

    […] Credits: Tablescape via Southern Weddings, photographed by Ryan Ray // Dresses viaStyle Me Pretty, photographed by Let’s Frolic […]

  35. avatar 13 Things That Are the Maid of Honor’s Responsibility on the Big Day | Loverly Planning reply

    […] by Ryan Ray on Southern Weddings via […]

  36. avatar DRAFT: 13 Things That Are the Maid of Honor’s Responsibility on the Big Day | Loverly Wedding Planning reply

    […] by Ryan Ray on Southern Weddings via […]

  37. avatar Top 10 Fall Wedding Colours for 2016 from Pantone – Part I – : reply

    […] Shoes ~ Kina Wicks Photography // Bridesmaids ~ Ryan Ray via Southern Weddings // Groom ~ Michael And Carina Photography via SMP // Place Setting ~ Stephanie Yonce […]

  38. avatar 12 Things That Are the Maid of Honor's Responsibility on the Big Day – Loverly | Your Virtual Wedding Planner™ reply

    […] by Ryan Ray on Southern Weddings via […]

  39. avatar Wedding Planning Update – Kyla Mary reply

    […] source: Ryan Ray via Southern Weddings […]

  40. avatar Friday No. 11 – Kyla Mary reply

    […] be styled to wear to events year-round (similar). Fun fact: my bridesmaids gowns were inspired by this Southern Weddings […]

  41. avatar Happy 10th Anniversary Southern Weddings! My 10 Favorite Editorials – Kyla Mary reply

    […] The navy dresses, classic white florals, and wide open field are so delightfully Texas! This editorial inspired my very own bridesmaids dresses, and with the help of my sweet friends we were able to match a few of the dresses exactly! View the original post here. […]

  42. avatar Caligrafía en tela para tu boda – My Blog reply

    […] 1–2–3–4–5–6–7 8–9–10 – 11–12–13 […]

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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