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Happy May! I’m so very excited to introduce you to our third Southern Bride of the Month. Readers, meet Megan! She comes with a handsome fiance, Brandon. Read on for all the details of her wedding planning journey, including her ah-mazing Southern reception menu (mac and cheese on a stick!) and the hilarious (and sweet) way they chose a first dance song.

Hi! What’s your name?

What’s your fiancé’s name?

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story.
Oddly enough, a girl from New York and a boy from DC ended up at the same tiny college in Chattanooga, TN. We would see each other around the softball fields at school but never actually spoke to one another. Brandon remembers my braces. I remember when he actually had hair on his head! We were never in the same circle of friends, so it took us years to finally meet.

After graduation I was offered a job teaching second grade and spent the summer planning for my first real classroom. Brandon and I were both with friends at a local Chattanooga Lookouts game when we were introduced. It wasn’t love at first sight. In fact, we both had our hearts in different places at the time. That summer, however, Brandon basically became like another roommate around my house. The turning point in our friendship was when he met my mom. She spent a week helping me set up my new classroom, and at the end swore he liked me. Moms are always right about these things!

From that point on, things had changed. We never spent another day apart. And he spent many of those days asking me to be his girlfriend. And even though it took some time, saying yes was the best decision I ever made.

Image credit: Leslie Woodard

Now tell us alllll about the proposal.
Although Brandon and I had talked about getting married, he did his best to throw me off course for a while. Brandon got down on one knee on many occasions before he actually asked me to marry him. Sometimes he would get down on one knee… and pick something up. Or get down on one knee, look at me… and tie his shoe! He thought those games were clever! Me, not so much.

Our proposal was simple and sweet and, most, importantly, us. One Friday evening after work, we picked up a few slices of pizza and drove out to the beach. We laid out a big towel on the sand and had a yummy picnic. We kicked off our sandals and went for a walk along the water. Brandon stopped and got down on one knee. I tried to pull him up, and told him to stop playing these games with me. He told me he loved me and he couldn’t wait for me to be his wife, and took out a beautiful ring. I dropped down onto my knees and hugged him and kept asking, “Is this real this time?” Please don’t be joking!”

When’s the big day?
May 29, 2011

Where might you two be tying the knot?
Eden Gardens State Park in Point Washington, FL

Image of Eden Gardens by Pure7 Studios. See more from this wedding here + here!

How did you pick your ceremony and reception venues? What do you love most about each space?
We knew we wanted to choose a venue that would offer a warm Southern welcome to our families traveling from up north. I had been to Eden Gardens years ago for a friends wedding, and found myself comparing each venue we looked at to it.This is the venue of my dreams. We will be getting married under a huge moss-draped oak tree, and celebrating, in true outdoor fashion, under strings of white cafe lights.

Image credit: Jose Villa via Snippet & Ink

Who or what has been most inspiring in the wedding planning process?
I am a wedding blog stalker! Even before Brandon and I got engaged, I was saving pictures to my wedding folder of all the colors and ideas I loved. Southern Weddings features the most beautiful weddings, and saving pictures of centerpieces, cakes, dresses and decor was such a great place to start.

Who or what has been most helpful in the wedding planning process?
It’s amazing how much people are willing to help with wedding projects. Our families and friends have been so supportive of our ideas, that many of them have stepped up to the plate to take things off our hands. For example, last weekend my aunt and grandmother went to a farmer’s market and basically bought out 30 pounds of ripe organic strawberries to make jam for our wedding favors. A lady from our church is making us wooden signs. My roommates helped me make banners, table numbers and even stuff our invitations. We really are so blessed to be surrounded by so many people who love us.

Has your vision for your wedding changed or evolved over the course of your engagement? If so, how?
Being realistic about our budget has definitely evolved my wedding vision. Along the way there have been many times where I’d have to stop and ask myself, “Do I need this? Is this a non-negotiable?” Some things fell into the “worth the splurge” category, and others didn’t make the cut.

Have you picked your dress yet? How’d that go? What will you be wearing on the big day?
My mom and sister flew down from New York to go dress shopping with me. I had no idea what I wanted. I didn’t even bring any pictures with me! The girls at Solutions Bridal are amazing! They selected six dresses for me to start with, but by the time I tried on my second dress, I was sold! I will be wearing a Marisa 737 gown and it was made for me!

I knew what my bridesmaids would be wearing, however, way before I had a clue what I would put on: navy Amsale dresses in six different styles. They are fabulous!

Who is your favorite vendor you’ve booked so far?
I am so excited about our caterer, Dine by Design. The owner, Kim, has been so helpful throughout the entire planning process. Brandon and I wanted fun food, that put a Southern spin on comfort food! Dine by Design is knocking this one out of the park! You might wanna sit down for this. Macaroni and cheese on a stick, two-bite burgers, garlic mashed potatoes, grits, and my dream-come-true biscuit bar just to name a few.

Image credit: Anna Robin (see more from this V3 shoot here!)

Do you have a favorite Etsy store you’d love to tell us about?
Etsy is addicting. By Invitation Only made our gorgeous invitation suites. We got so many compliments on them! And Weddingcollaborator made our adorable flower girl dresses.

What has been the best part of wedding planning? The worst part?
The best part of this planning process would have to be how invested my groom is! Brandon isn’t much help when it comes to color palettes and flowers, but watching him eat six pieces of wedding cake and hug our cake vendor was priceless! He even picked out our wedding song in the middle of a pet store. He heard a song playing over the speakers, pulled me in to dance with him in the middle of the dog food aisle, and told me he found our wedding song.

What do you wish you would have known at the beginning of your engagement?
I wish I had known how much work goes into a true outdoor wedding. Since both our ceremony and reception will be outside, we will be renting everything from spoons to stoves. I had my wedding goggles on when the planning began. I only saw the possible challenges I wanted to see, and now I truly see how much work and how many details are going into the event.

Image credit: Leslie Woodard

Any advice you’d like to pass along to fellow brides?
Become a blog obsessed bride like me, and enter as many contests and giveaways as possible! It doesn’t hurt! And you’ll be so excited and overjoyed when you finally win something. I even won a free wedding website through Wedding Window!

Now it’s your turn to ask for advice – is there anything you’d like to poll the SW readers on?
It feels like there are a hundred gifts to buy before our wedding arrives. There are no shortage of suggestions for bridal party gifts, but what will you be giving your groom, parents and readers?

Thank you so much for playing along, Megan! Readers, if you’d like to apply to be a Southern Bride of the Month, check out this post for all the details! If you’ve already emailed me, you’re still in the running for future months!

The Southern Bride of the Month header was designed by our intern Sierra, with illustration by Curious & Company!

emily Written with love by Emily
  1. avatar Lisa reply

    Southern Bride of the Month has become one of my new favorite blog features! Megan, you are so adorable and you are going to be a gorgeous bride!

    • avatar Kelly reply

      Megan! Hi from the April Southern Bride! :) I am from Destin, FL and Eden Gardens is one of my all time favorite spots! I’ve been there numerous times just to walk around and sit on the dock that overlooks the bay! It’s absolutely gorgeous there!!! Congratulations! It’s almost here!

    • avatar Jess reply

      Oh my heck, I LOVE the doily “Love is sweet” banner! It matches these fabric doily hangings I made for my reception

  2. avatar Alison reply

    Congrats Megan! You will be a beautiful bride! I am also in desperate need of ideas for gifts! We need ideas for southern, meaningful gifts for our moms and dads. Any ideas out there???

  3. avatar Amanda reply

    Megan, I am recently engaged and my wedding is not until June 2, 2012. But, I already have bought my fiance’s wedding gift!! When we were having my engagement ring resized at his jeweler, he pointed out the Tag Heuer Carrera Calibre watch. I secretly put it on layaway for him and he has no idea. My advice for your groom gift: give him something he REALLY wants, but that he would never buy for himself, nor would you likely buy for him on a birthday or Christmas. One of my other friends bought her husband a riding law mower, the kind that turns 360 degrees. She rode up to the reception on it in her wedding dress! Coolest wife ever.

  4. avatar erica reply

    Thanks for featuring our infamous tree image again! And a big congrats to Megan & Brandon!

  5. avatar Weekly Round-Up « Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] plans, their gorgeous venue, and yes, the macaroni and cheese on a stick they’re serving here! Save Facebook it Tweet […]

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Well, my dearies, I don’t know about you, but I’m still basking in the glow of Christmas even as New Year’s Eve sneaks around the corner! To celebrate this lovely in-between time, we have a glamorous yet sweet fashion shoot to share. Shannon Nicole Smith sent in the sparkly submission and was both the photographer and stylist for the day. Solutions Bridal provided the gowns (and the larger bow!), In Bloom Florists the bouquets, and Le Chic Studio the insanely (sorry, I can’t help it!) chic hairpieces and veils. Props also go to Sarah Hearts for the torn fabric backdrop spotted in a few photos. Enjoy, and happy almost New Year’s!

Those beautiful blushes? All courtesy of Make Me Up Labs. I love how fresh and sweet these ladies look!

Anyone else IN LOVE with the sparkly bolero or petite bow veil?! I DIE!

For any ladies who might be interested, I have a few more details on the dresses…

Dress No. 1: Mimi by Watters (silk taffeta full a-line with pleating at the natural waist and chapel train)
Dress No. 2: Tabernas by Watters (fitted dropped waist mermaid with a gathered skirt created with silk organza)
Dress No. 3: By Marisa (Silk satin rouged bodice with a multiple layered organza skirt)
Dress No. 4: Torrean by Watters (silk satin bodice with textured neckline and skirt created with hand cut flowers with swarovski center)

…and bouquet: white mini calla lilies, spray roses, porcelina, and yellow stock (tied with satin ribbon).

Check back tomorrow for personal reflections on 2010 from Katharine, Lara, and myself!

emily Written with love by Emily
  1. avatar Shannon reply

    Yay! Thanks for sharing : )

  2. avatar Anne Barr reply

    Absolutely beautiful!!

  3. avatar Amy reply

    WHERE can we find that gorgeous gold sequin bolero??

    • avatar Emily reply

      Hi Miss Amy! I freaked out over the gold sequin bolero, too :) It was a piece from Le Chic Studio (, and though I don’t see it on their website right now, I’m sure if you sent them an email they could probably make a custom piece for you. Best of luck!

    • avatar Emily reply

      Hi, again! I just got word from Shannon, the photographer, that the gold bolero was NOT made by Le Chic Studio but a thrifted, vintage item. Shannon suggested checking eBay and other internet sources to find your own!

  4. avatar From Nowhere to Featured Somewhere « Stylishly Empowering reply

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  6. avatar Dajuan reply

    Shannon, these are absolutely lovely.

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