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When we set out to create Southern Weddings V8, one of the shoots we were most excited about was this one: The Fabric of a Southern Belle. We’ve never really done a “fashion” shoot before, and naturally, we wanted to put our own SW spin on this one–hopefully, inspiring y’all in a deeper way than just with pretty gowns. Conversations in our office and on Instagram led us to our inspiration: what is it exactly that makes a Southern belle? We all know it’s more than just an address–it’s a way of life and of looking at the world, and in honor of the belles in our own lives that we admire and look up to, we dove into the qualities that make Southern belles so special. With the help of seven Southern designers, seven darling reader models, and a tremendously talented team, we created a look for each gal that personified one of the qualities we find most prominent–we hope you see a little bit of yourself and the ladies you love in each one!

The Southern belle is gracious. She has a servant’s heart and is the first to lend a hand. Sydni looked fabulous in “Brooke Mason” by Alabama designer Heidi Elnora!

The Southern belle is elegant. While more can be more, she prefers just enough. How gorgeous is Anne Louise in “The Woodlands” by Texas designer Lela Rose?

The Southern belle is confident. She doesn’t need the approval of others, but stands firm in the truths of which she can be sure. Our own Emily’s sister, Kimberly, rocked “Barrymore” by Charleston designer Kate McDonald, and it was so much fun having her at the shoot!

The Southern belle is romantic. She believes in love at first sight, summer romances, and marriages that are strong as a Southern oak. Claire looked lovely in Style 5885 by Miami designer, Liancarlo.

The Southern belle is fun. She isn’t afraid to play, to dance, or to laugh with her head thrown back. We couldn’t get enough of our darling cover gal, Alexandra, in the “Kian” corset and “Priya” skirt by Texas designer Watters!

The Southern belle is warm. Her doors are always open and her front porch always full. Kimberly looked amazing in “Jenny” by Georgia designer, Anne Barge!

The Southern belle is strong. She exemplifies both femininity and inner fortitude. The “Bridgette” gown by Nashville designer Olia Zavozina was so striking on Megan!

Thank you SO much to the talented team and reader models who made this day possible! To see more from this shoot, pick up a copy of Southern Weddings V8, now on news stands across the Southeast, or order online in the Southern Weddings Shop.

Keep an eye out for more Southern Weddings V8 editorials coming up on the blog in the coming weeks! In the meantime, we’d love to know, which of these qualities do you most identify with? Does it match your favorite gown? I’m a “romantic” at heart, but the “elegant” gown is one of my favorites in this issue!

Photography: Eric Kelley / Film Processing: Richard Photo Lab / Venue: Tuckahoe Plantation / Stylist and Florals: Mallory Joyce / Hair and Makeup: Heidi Marie Garrett

lisa Written with love by Lisa
  1. avatar Victoria reply

    LOVED this feature!! The “southern belle is gracious” look with the magnolias just stopped me in my tracks- SO beautiful!

  2. avatar Stephanie Scholl reply

    This entire feature is pure PERFECTION. I can’t possibly choose a favorite look or favorite characteristic – every detail is exquisite and so beautifully represents a Southern belle. I’m so in love with this whole shoot.

  3. avatar Erin | Elizabeth Anne Designs reply

    the gowns… the brides… all gorgeous!

  4. avatar Dana reply

    So glad you added more photos from this shoot here! Love it even more now!

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Ah, can y’all believe it?! Just eight more days until V6 hits newsstands! While I know this just-over-a-week wait can be a challenge, it will be worth it!

Y’all know college football is big business in the Kloess family, so I can’t help but adore this love story; not only does it start on game day, but the couple also had a game day first date! That’s true Southern love, y’all! And it didn’t stop there–Mycah + Todd carefully infused their alma mater into their big day with just the right amount of garnet and gold. You know what else they perfectly infused? Good ol’ Southern cuisine! Mycah’s passion for cooking and baking played a big role in their food selection of yummy Southern delights like pimento cheese biscuits and little bitty shrimp and grits. But, as all good Southern girls know, sometimes you need a Chick-Fil-A chicken mini, so Mycah + Todd served them on platters as a late night snack! Yum!

Thanks to Red Fly Studio for sharing this sweet day with us!

I found my dress at Love, A Bridal Boutique in my hometown of Jacksonville, Florida. At my very first bridal appointment, it was the first dress I tried on. I instantly fell in love and felt so “me” in the dress. Being the indecisive girl that I am, I wasn’t convinced that it could be that easy, so I continued to try on dress after dress. I went to three different stores and tried on close to 50 dresses. Finally, I started to realize that none of the dresses compared to that first one I tried on. I decided to go back to the store where I first found “my dress” and brought along a few more family members for added support. With their reassurance and encouraging words, I was finally able to say yes to the dress.

My something borrowed was the beautiful belt I wore with my wedding dress. It belonged to a dear friend who wore it down the aisle just a year before me. For something blue, my Mom and Dad presented me with a ballerina cut sapphire ring at one of our engagement parties. This ring holds exceptionally meaningful significance in my family and was one of the most special details of my wedding. My something old was a handkerchief that belonged to my great grandmother. My wedding dress happened to have pockets, so I kept it tucked in my pocket throughout the entire day and used it to dry my tears during our first look and as we recited our vows. My something new was my dress, as well as my veil that my new sister-in-law surprised me with. She had been there when I said yes to the dress and knew how much I wanted the veil. Unbeknownst to me, she purchased the veil and surprised me with it at my bridal shower.

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? Yes! After surveying quite a few of my married friends, we decided that doing a first look was definitely for us. Not only did we want to save time in between the ceremony and reception by taking pictures beforehand, but we wanted the photographers to capture the expressions on our faces (up close and personal) when we first saw one another. I know some people are hesitant to do a first look, but it did not, in any way, take away from the emotion that we both experienced when I walked down the aisle towards Todd. If anything, it allowed us to enjoy that moment even more.

Describe your wedding flowers. Our wedding flowers took my breath away. They were absolutely stunning. The overall color palette was neutral, creating an elegant, yet organic, look and feel. My bouquet included lush white peonies, ivory ranunculus and wax flower, blush pink spray roses, seeded eucalyptus and rustic scabiosa pods. The bridesmaids carried classic white hydrangeas with giant white peonies, blush pink spray roses and vibrant greenery. Displayed in a mixture of mercury glass and clear vases, the centerpieces at the reception were a mixture of white peonies and hydrangeas, ivory ranunculus and wax flower, soft pink spray roses, seeded eucalyptus, scabiosa pods and succulents.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met in October 2007 at Todd’s fraternity house after the Florida State vs. Miami football game. Though we had a lot of mutual friends, we had never officially met. As I was about to head home for the night, Todd approached me and began to tell me about how he thought I was the most gorgeous girl he had ever seen. He said he had been thinking this for a while and he had to come and tell me (Todd may or may have not had a little bit of liquid courage beforehand–it had been a long game day). I was flattered and wanted to know more about this cute boy who had all of these sweet things to say. Later the next week, a mutual friend “refreshed” Todd’s memory of what he had said to me. Embarrassed, he came to apologize to me, and smoothly, also asked me to be his date to the next football game. From then on, we were inseparable. It wasn’t long at all before we both knew we had found the one.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: There are so many design details that I absolutely loved about our wedding. The stunning glass mirrored dining tables, the grand chandeliers that twinkled throughout the room, and rustic wooden food signs suspended from the ceiling are a few that really stand out in my mind. Another favorite detail would have to be the dueling pianos we chose for our entertainment. We wanted to do something different that our guests would not only enjoy, but really remember. With custom song requests cards on every table, guests were given the opportunity to write down a song of their choice and then toss the card up onto the pianos. This allowed the guests to interact with the entertainment in a way they wouldn’t normally at other weddings. The dueling pianos were exciting and entertaining, yet still provided a relaxed atmosphere for the reception.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Heavenly. That’s the word I’d like to use to sum up our wedding cake. As an avid baker, the cake was particularly imporant to me. It not only had to look pretty, but it had to taste good. The Cake Shop in Tallahassee created our deliciously sweet and decadent four-tiered yellow wedding cake with buttercream frosting. Displayed on a tree trunk wooden stand, the cake had elegant ridged detailing along the sides, pillowy dots surrounding the bottom of each layer, and fresh white peonies that adorned the top and middle of the cake. It was unlike any other cake I have ever had. My husband and I are constantly craving it and have been tempted so many times to pull our anniversary layer out of the freezer and dive in early. We have restrained ourselves thus far and I pray we can until next May!

Tell us all about the proposal! We were both in school for the majority of our relationship, and we agreed that we wanted to wait until we both were finished before embarking on that next chapter. After we had both been working in the real world for about a year, and after four and a half years of dating, Todd decided it was finally time to pop the question. In August 2012, we traveled to one of our favorite places together, Seaside, Florida, to spend one of the last weekends of summer at the beach. After dinner at Bud and Alley’s (a cozy restaurant on the water), Todd suggested that we go for a walk on the beach. As the sun had already gone down and it was pitch dark outside, I was extremely hesitant and was not feeling the walk at that time. Todd persisted and I finally agreed. After a few moments walking along the beach, Todd began to say lots of sweet and wonderful things. The next thing I knew, Todd was on one knee asking me to marry him. After saying, “Wait, what?” and “Are you being serious?” about ten times, I finally said YES! My best friend had finally asked me to marry him and it was the best night of my life. The amazing surprise didn’t stop there. As we returned home to Tallahassee on Sunday, Todd said that he’d like for us to stop by his parents’ house before going home, because they really wanted to see us. Unsuspecting, I agreed. As we pulled up to the house, all of my family, as well as Todd’s, were there to surprise us and help us celebrate that special time! It was truly one of the most amazing experiences of my life and a memory that I’ll cherish forever.
When did y’all get married? May 4, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 225
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did not write our own vows. Though we recited the traditional vows that are used in most Episcopalian ceremonies, it did not make the ceremony any less emotional. When Todd began to recite his vows to me, I lost it!
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? My godparents read the two scripture readings that Todd and I chose for the ceremony. The first was Song of Solomon 2:10-13, 8:6-7 and the second reading was I John 4:7-16.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. The bridal processional entered to “Air from Water Music” by G.F. Handel. I chose this song for its light and cheery temperament. I walked down the aisle to “Guide Me, O Thou Great Redeemer.” This has always been a favorite hymn of mine, and it also happens to be the same hymn that Duchess Kate Middleton walked down the aisle to (I just love her!). During the ceremony, the entire congregation sang together, “Praise to the Lord, The Almighty,” another hymn that Todd and I both love. My dad and I danced to “The Way You Look Tonight” by Frank Sinatra, and Todd and his mom danced to “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by Isreal Iz Kamakawiwo’Ole. Our first dance song was a little interesting. Though Todd and I had been together for nearly five years, we had never had “a song” together. From the time we got engaged, we both spent a lot of time thinking about what our first dance song would be. Of course, the day of the wedding finally arrived and we STILL had not decided on a first dance song. As I was getting ready with all my girls, my wedding planner informed me that we had to pick something or he was going to pick for us. One of my bridesmaids pulled out her iPod and we started listening to all different kinds of classic love songs. When “At Last” by Etta James came on, I decided that that was it! No more indecisiveness. It was a song that I had always loved and I decided it would just be a surprise to Todd. It ended up being the perfect spur of the moment decision and it sounded great on the dueling pianos!
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? The food we served on our big day was Southern to the core. The food was especially important to me because of my passion for cooking and baking. Being from the South, we wanted staples that every good Southerner would enjoy. For appetizers, we served mini shrimp and grit cups and pimento cheese-stuffed biscuits. Our main items included pulled pork and pulled chicken sliders with cole slaw, a macaroni and cheese station complete with toppings like bacon and black eyed pea salsa, and fried green tomatoes with spicy remoulade sauce. For drinks, we served beer, wine and champagne, along with Arnold Palmers in mason jars. Sticking with our Southern food theme, we had Chick-Fil-A chicken minis brought out on platters for a late night snack. Needless to say, the food was a HUGE hit. People want to feel comfortable and I think that classic Southern cuisine always makes people feel at home, whether they are from the South or not. :)
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? My biggest challenge was learning to let go of the little things that really weren’t important. There were so many minor details that I managed to worry about, even though no one but me would ever notice them. I had to remind myself that our marriage is a blessing from God and that all the other stuff really doesn’t matter.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Honestly, all of our vendors were absolutely incredible. Our photographers, Red Fly Studio, did an unbelievable job of perfectly capturing the emotion of our special day. Darin Jones, our florist, went above and beyond to give us the most beautiful flowers for our wedding day. Our wedding planner, John Gandy Events, was also one of the best decisions I made during the wedding planning process. Planning a wedding can be incredibly stressful, but John and his team made it an absolute joy. He created the most breathtaking wedding reception I could have ever dreamed of. His attention to detail is remarkable and his work is unlike any other.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? This is a tough one! Getting ready with all of my best friends, my first look with Todd, walking down the aisle with my dad, the toasts and sweet words that were said at the reception. So many amazing memories jump out of my mind about that day. However, reciting our vows to each other really stands out in particular. So many emotions came over me at that time. I was thankful that we had chosen each other, joyful for our love for one another and excited for this next chapter of our lives together. I will cherish those words and that moment forever.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Hire a wedding planner! Planning a wedding can be extremely stressful and overwhelming, and if you’re like me, you’ll worry about anything and everything there is to possibly worry about. I like to think of myself as a pretty organized person, but when you’ve never planned a wedding before, it’s hard to know where to begin. Your wedding planner will not only keep things organized and on the right track, they will also know how to handle anything and everything that could possibly happen during your wedding planning process. They will not only save you the amount of money you spend on them, but they will save you tons of time, energy and stress. Our wedding planner was one of the best decisions we made while planning our wedding, and if we had to do it all over again, we would hire him in an instant, no matter the cost. They will be worth the money you invest in them, I promise!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are most looking forward to making new memories and family traditions together, and to love each other more deeply every single day. We are also excited to start looking for a home to call our own, to do a bit of traveling in the near future, and to welcome a puppy into our family. We are just soaking up this time as newlyweds and enjoying this new chapter of our life together!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
  1. avatar Emily reply

    Love their custom koozies and Mycah’s beautiful lace veil!

  2. avatar Lisa reply

    What a beautiful couple! I love their cute meeting story and the subtle FSU details they used at their wedding!

  3. avatar Caitlyn | The Aerialist Press reply

    Gorgeous and love the FSU details!

  4. avatar Carolyn reply

    What a lovely wedding!! Hosted by an even more lovely couple <3

  5. avatar Michaela reply

    Beautiful! Where is this barn located at?

    • avatar Mycah reply

      Hi Michaela,

      The barn is in Tallahassee, Florida! The name of the venue is Goodwood Museum & Gardens.

  6. avatar Katie reply

    So beautiful! I would love to know where this barn is as well!

    • avatar Mycah reply

      Thanks, Katie! The barn is Goodwood Museum & Gardens and it is located in Tallahassee, Florida.

  7. avatar morgan garvin reply

    My fiancé found your site when googling “FSU wedding koozies” He is in love with the Koozies. I’ve searched everywhere for them….can you please tell me where you ordered them?

    thanks! :-)


    • avatar Mycah reply

      Hi Morgan,

      My friend and I actually came up with the initial design and slogan for the koozie and a local printing company in Tallahassee designed them for us. You can contact Amanda at Karmanos Printing and mention Mycah’s koozie’s and she’ll know which ones you want. :) Hope this helps!

  8. avatar Paige reply

    Beautiful wedding! I have a question: where are the bridesmaid’s dresses from? I am having an incredibly difficult time finding long, petal-colored dresses for my girlfriends and sisters! Thank you so much :)

    • avatar Mycah reply

      Hi Paige,

      Thank you so much! The designer of the bridesmaid dresses is Love Lane and we purchased them through Bella Bridesmaid in Jacksonville, FL. They are the perfect shade of blush and even more beautiful in person. Best wishes to you as you wedding plan!

  9. avatar Laura reply

    I love the tables and chandeliers. Did the venue provide them?

    • avatar Mycah reply

      Hi Laura,

      The tables and chandeliers belong to our wedding planner, John Gandy Events!

  10. avatar Rachel reply

    I need some one to make Koozies

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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