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Laura and Mason’s wedding is a near-perfect example of what we mean when we say we love weddings with meaningful, personal details. From the songs they chose to the things they wore to the food they ate and the tables they ate at, every layer of their celebration had a story behind it or a significance attached to it. While I’m sure every guest didn’t catch every nuance of every detail, I’m equally sure that the overall effect — of a joyful, very intentional beginning to married life — was evident to all. Happily, we get the inside scoop from the bride herself, with beautiful photos by Paige Reaux to illustrate! Please enjoy, friends!

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? Mason and I agree that our best days are days we spend together, so we decided to do a first look. We wanted to be able to spend some quality time together before the ceremony and reception laughing, exchanging gifts, and having photographs taken. I was so thankful that we did the first look, because with the rain hiccup we experienced later in the day, I don’t think we would have gotten nearly as many great photos.

The gals of TULIP outdid themselves with this one! The loose, garden-style bouquets were jewel-toned for fall, with garden roses, raspberry clematis, ranunculus, dahlias, smoke bush and maple foliage, and seeded eucalyptus.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We, like many Southern couples, decided to keep with tradition and say the vows that generations before us have said. Instead of being worried about reciting a speech in front of hundreds, we were able to be completely present, joyful, and genuine as we repeated those promises to each other.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Shakespeare’s sonnet 116 was read at the start of our ceremony. Mason and I spent a semester studying in London, so we knew we had to incorporate some Shakespeare! We also had a scripture passage, Philippians 4:4-9, printed in our programs. The same verse is engraved in Mason’s wedding band.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Mason and I chose each song for the string quartet to play during the prelude–a custom mix of traditional hymns and contemporary songs. Our ceremony had a couple of musical shout outs to our parents’ weddings. We included “We’ve Only Just Begun” by the Carpenters, which was sung at the Mason’s parent’s wedding, in the prelude, and “Surely the Presence,” which was sung at my parents’ wedding, during the ceremony. We also had a duet of “How Deep the Father’s Love” sung as we took communion together immediately following our vows.

To transform the sanctuary, my dad had “October Glory” maple trees brought in, and Lesley from TULIP accented them with two beautiful altar arrangements.

We had a near-catastrophe with a 15-minute rainstorm during the hors d’oeuvres hour of the reception, during which Mason and I both got drenched (luckily, we had a backup tent for our guests to take cover)! But when the rain stopped and the celebrating started, I looked around and thought “Thank you, Lord!” because my dream was able to come true!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Well, first of all, my husband’s name is Mason Dixon, and we were both born and reared below the line of his namesake. Having our ceremony at the small town church I grew up going to and the reception at my childhood home gave our wedding the special warmth of Southern hospitality. I gave all of the special women in mine and my groom’s extended families a monogrammed vintage handkerchief. We had magnolia garlands galore and state fair taffy as favors for the guests. Our menu was totally Southern and very Mississippi oriented—we had mini chicken and waffles, pimento and cheese fritters, fried catfish, blackened gulf shrimp, fried okra, and gourmet mac n’ cheese, just to name a few!

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The chalkboard menu boards at the reception were one of my favorite details. I spent many hours writing them, so I became a little attached. Other favorites were definitely the custom velvet table runners made by my aunt and the white pumpkins painted in gold with our monogram. Oh, and I can’t forget the lovely farm tables that my dad had built especially for the event, using 120-year-old wood from our family farm!

My cake was a five-tiered French almond vanilla cake with strawberry filling and buttercream icing. A cascade of roses and a gold sequined tablecloth made the cake display as pretty as it was yummy. For Mason’s groom’s cake, he had a trio of chocolate cakes in different flavors. The center cake was cinnamon chocolate (his favorite!) accented with gold coins, in reference to Mason’s banking career and coin collection. One of the accent cakes was German chocolate and the other was raspberry chocolate.

I lost my mother to breast cancer about two and half years ago, so planning a wedding without her was definitely a challenge. She was such a talented organizer and planner! I tried to incorporate her memory into as many wedding decisions as possible. For example, I found the best picture of my mom and dad covered in birdseed as they left their own wedding reception, which made it easy for me to decide that we should have birdseed tossed during our exit as well. I was so thankful to have my incredible father, sisters, and fiancé, who all put in so many hours helping me plan!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Exchanging notes from American history class during the second semester of our freshman year at Mississippi College brought us together. As I was handing over a copy of notes for the final exam, Mason asked me to go get coffee with him. By the next semester, we were officially dating. And the rest is history!
Tell us all about the proposal! Early one November Saturday morning, I was riding in the car with Mason to what I thought was a banking banquet, where he was supposed to receive an award. We took a detour, and when I asked Mason if we were lost, his response was a simple kiss on my forehead and an admission that he was not really receiving an award that day. I was a little suspicious, but still in denial that this might be the day we get engaged. The next thing I knew, we were standing near Lake Caroline watching an incredibly large rainbow-striped hot air balloon being inflated. We got into the hot air balloon, and as I was looking over the edge of the basket, high above the treetops, I felt Mason tap me on my shoulder. I turned around and he was down on one knee with a huge smile on his face and a diamond ring in his hand. To make it even better, Mason had written and recorded a special love song for me that he played when we were safely back on land. He had even organized a celebration with our families for that evening. I felt so blessed and loved. What an exhilarating day!
When did y’all get married? October 5, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 350
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. While flipping through the pages of my first set of wedding magazines, I came across a picture of a dress that I fell in love with. I kept this image of lovely silk with hints of alenҫon lace in my mind as I went shopping with my two sisters, and just as we were about to give up hope and leave the second store empty handed, my older sister spotted my dream dress on the mannequin!
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! The pearl and diamond earrings I wore were borrowed from my grandmother, and since they were circa 1910, they also served as my something old. Blue was covered doubly—I wore a sapphire and diamond bracelet that had belonged to my mother, and my older sister sewed a bespoke teal blue velvet and alenҫon lace garter to coordinate with all the details of the day. For something new, I had shoes given to me by my younger sister and a special fragrance that will forever be associated with wedding excitement.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? I have great things to say about all of my vendors! Lesley from TULIP created amazing bouquets, Heather from Pretty Presentations spent two full days at my house setting up and figuring out the rain plan, and Paige of Paige Reaux Photography is definitely one of the best photographers in Mississippi. Another detail that the day would NOT have been complete without was my adorable flower girls. The list could go on and on!
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? I can’t pick just one! I specifically remember my dad calming me down during the nervous/excited moments just before he walked me down the aisle. The sheer joy I felt when Mason and I said our vows is something I will never forget! It even felt somewhat ethereal when the sunlight beamed through the stained glass windows and lit our faces.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Invest in the planning process as much as possible! It WILL feel overwhelming, but it is totally worth it when you see your vision come to fruition and you get to marry someone you love. It really makes for a pretty spectacular day!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are enjoying settling in our home and being able to spend lots of time together. We’ve been having fun using all the great wedding gifts we got and learning how to cook! We are excited to travel together, and right now we’re looking forward to a ski trip this spring.

Photographer: Paige Reaux Photography / Videographer: Brian Flint / Ceremony Venue: Bay Springs Baptist Church / Reception Venue: Bride’s family home / Florist: TULIP Design Studio / Cake Baker: Elyse Thompson / Caterer: Pretty Presentations / Rentals: Taylor Rental / Lighting: Davaine Lighting / DJ: Solid Gold / Bride’s Gown: Judd Waddell / Bridal Salon: Low’s Bridal / Paper Products: Sweet Caroline Designs and Fresh Ink / Bride’s Shoes: Joan and David / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Amsale / Bridesmaid Dress Salon: Bella Bridesmaid / Men’s Attire: Joseph Abboud / Flower Girl Dresses: Pegeen / Linens: La Tavola and DIY / Farm Tables: Custom by the bride’s father / Favors: Malone’s Taffy / Calligraphy: Dominique Jordan / String Quartet: Rhythms Music Services

emily Written with love by Emily
9 Comments
  1. avatar kim reply

    Beautiful florals-Leslie does such lovely work always!

  2. avatar Laura reply

    Everything about this wedding is beautiful. Also, I can’t get over the groom’s name, can’t get much more Southern than that :)

  3. avatar Paige Reaux Geter reply

    What a beautiful job you’ve done, Emily, with featuring all of these vendors and Laura and Mason. They are two very special people and I loved reading extra details from their story that I wasn’t aware of :) Thanks for everything!

  4. avatar Amanda {Planning It All} reply

    Are those frames on trees? I love it!

  5. avatar Southern Weddings Feature//Paige Reaux Photography and TULIP » reply

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  9. avatar Marg Hyland reply

    We are so honored to be included in this beautiful wedding. The flower girl dresses were the perfect compliment to the overall scheme!
    Marg Hyland. Founder/Head Designer
    pegeen.com

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My husband BDK and I are completely obsessed with Scott Cochran. If you’ve ever been to an Alabama game, you’ve seen this fellow on the sidelines yelling and bouncing, or up on the jumbotron with his famous “yeah yeah yeah yeah!” Last night, we spent a good hour watching YouTube videos of him and his motivational speeches. Seriously, this guy wakes up on fire and never stops! Y’all, I promise I’m going somewhere with this…

Like college football and saying yes and no ma’am, FOOD is crazy important in the South! So much so that it inspired us to begin a new Southern Weddings mini series: Southern Delicacy. Beginning today, we’ll all learn a little more about the yummiest (and yes, sometimes the wackiest!) grub in the country!

Image credit: Luster Studios

What better Southern food to start with than grits? Originating from the American Indian culture, grits are now most commonly found in the Southern United States. They are mainly eaten at breakfast, and made from coarsely ground corn. Grits are often seasoned with salt or sugar, but true Southerners serve them with cheese, butter, country ham red-eye gravy, or – my personal favorite – shrimp! Grits are one of those foods that you either love or hate – there really isn’t an in-between. A cousin of mine thinks they taste like “dirt”! I tend to disagree with her. I do agree that the texture is a bit grainy, and plain they can be a bit bland, but with the right amount of butter and cheese mixed in, they’re rather yummy. Think more ground popcorn than dirt!

Image credit: First two images from Martha Stewart Weddings (here + here); grits sign photo by Melissa Schollaert via Southern Weddings; next two images by Veil & Bow via Style Me Pretty (bag design by Sarah Jane Winter); grits favors by Calder Clark (photo by A Bryan Photo)

Grits make a great Southern addition to any wedding menu, but don’t stop there! We love the idea of a mix your own grits bar, and a shrimp and grits appetizer station would be perfect to start your reception off on a Southern note. I also adore the idea of adding a personal touch to favors by tucking a bag of grits and a copy of your grandmama’s best recipe into some pretty packaging for guests to enjoy at home.

What’s your favorite Southern food? Let me know in the comments below, and you might see your name and favorite food up in lights! (Okay, in my next feature. Who needs lights anyway?)

Melissa Schollaert is a fabulous member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
20 Comments
  1. avatar Perryn reply

    LOVE It! We had a Grits Bar at our wedding and it was amazing! (of course some of our northern friends weren’t fans…) But it is such a wonderful Southern touch..and Very yummy! P

  2. avatar Liz reply

    I have been on the hunt for small bags of grits for wedding favors— any suggestions???

    • avatar Marissa reply

      Hi Liz! Any small muslin bags with a drawstring will be great, but I’m a BIG fan of these adorable muslin bags with mason jar thank you’s printed on them. http://www.etsy.com/listing/76709425/muslin-favor-bags-muslin-3×5-set-of-25 Good luck! xo, Marissa

  3. avatar Annie reply

    Grits are so good! My husband and I got married in VA, and we had grits at our rehearsal dinner (a fun Southern-style dinner) and at the brunch the next day.

  4. avatar Katie reply

    One of the best memories of my wedding has to do with grits! Seeing this post, I have to share. There is a grist mill in my hometown that still makes grits the old fashioned way – fresh ground with a stone and no preservatives. I was going to do them as favors in little muslim bags with our new initials handstamped on them. I picked up my order of freshly ground grits 2 days before the wedding and stayed up all night with my dad bagging away. The next morning, over breakfast no less, my mom and I noticed weevals in the grits! We both started crying, with a little laughter mixed in! I was terrified to send my guests home with bugs in their grits! (especially my in-laws to be from New England!)Turns out the mill had ground the grits a week to early! We fixed it though with a trip to the grocery store to pick up store-bought stone ground grits with perservatives!!

    • avatar Marissa reply

      Oh, Katie! That is horrible, but I do see why y’all laughed! I’m glad to hear that it ended up working out in the end! Thanks for sharing your story! xo, Marissa

  5. avatar Madelynne Miller reply

    I ABSOLUTELY must agree that grits are amahzing. Gouda grits? yes! Cheddar grits? yes! Mixing bacon and eggs into your grits? yes! stone ground grits? more please! Shrimp and grits is the BEST.

    • avatar Sierra reply

      We are definitely on the same page… I don’t eat grits unless I mix bacon, eggs and cheese in there (sort of like how I prefer a loaded baked potato)!

  6. avatar Kelly reply

    I love love love my Granny’s cheese grits! Favorite food ever. I do have an addition to your perfect-accompaniments-to-grits list, though: bacon! As much as I’m not one of those people who likes to put bacon on EVERYTHING, the salty crunch of bacon goes perfectly with stone-ground grits! Yum! :)

  7. avatar Laura reply

    Although I’m a born and raised Southerner, I never was much of a fan of grits, fortunately when I started dating my boyfriend, he opened my eyes to their wonders :)

    But I have to say that my favorite, quintessential, southern food has to be corn bread! I’m going to insist that corn bread and biscuits be served at my southern spread reception (family style of course!) with lots of fresh butter and preserves at the ready.

  8. avatar BrittanyElizabeth reply

    hmmm, I think by far one of my favorite southern foods is the Barbeque! :] It’s just so good! And no other place does it better than the south! :] But grits are pretty good too! My fiance likes his with syrup! :]

  9. avatar AmandaR reply

    FRIED GREEN TOMATOES!!! Man alive, they’re good and fancy people even eat em and add special “coulis” and what-not to em. We are having them as an appetizer during the cocktail hour at our wedding in June. Oh ya, mac n’ cheese too! I love food.

  10. avatar Vanessa reply

    I love this idea! I’m from PA but my father is from the south so I’ve grown up eating grits and obviously love them! :)

  11. avatar Jackie Briggs reply

    My daughter is planning a Charlston wedding within the next year. Since we are true “grits lovers,” we’d love to send guests home with a favor of grits. Any suggestions on where to purchase, how to package, etc. small samples of grits? Thank you!

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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