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I always love chatting with brides who choose to get married in the winter, which is just one reason I’m excited to introduce Melissa to y’all! Please join me in making her feel welcome! (Also, be sure to check out her intriguing question at the end — I know I’ll be chiming in!)

Hi! What’s your name?
Melissa Vause (here’s my blog)

What’s your fiancé’s name?
Stephen Feetham

Landon Jacob Productions

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story.
Stephen and I met during his first year as a grad student, and my last year as an undergrad, at USC. He was teaching a lab that I had begrudgingly signed up for in order to graduate. The first day of class, I immediately noticed him, and was so glad I’d signed up for “Weather and Climate.” I had a crush on him the entire semester and made a lame attempt to flirt, but he didn’t seem interested. Being a moral teacher’s assistant, he paid me no special attention, and I earned that “C” fair and square!

Once the semester was over, we continued to talk, and got to know each other a little better over the next year. Finally, we set a time to hang out, and my best friend went with me to a favorite local bar to meet up with Stephen and his friends. Continuing with my impressive flirting skills, I asked him if he wanted to watch season one of Lost. It actually WORKED and we watched every single episode together. On St. Patrick’s Day 2010, we had our first “real” date, and we’ve been together ever since.

Now tell us alllll about the proposal.
Starting around Christmas 2010, Stephen and I joked and flirted with the idea of getting engaged. One particularly hot summer night, he mentioned that we should get a blender to make milkshakes. My response? “No, people put blenders on wedding registries.” Taking the hint, we never got a blender… not even a cheap one. We joked about the blender for months, and talked all the time about how much we wished we had one, but instead, we just held out and made our milkshakes with a spoon.

On December 6th, Stephen came into the room with a giant smile on his face and a cold glass in his hand. He had made me a peanut butter banana milkshake! I looked inside the glass and thought, “This looks rather emulsified.” I squinted my eyes and asked, “How did you make this? Not with a spoon…” He proudly declared that he’d bought a blender, then got down on one knee and asked me to marry him! It was perfect‼

Landon Jacob

When’s the big day?
December 1, 2012

Where might you two be tying the knot?
My home town of Charleston, SC! I may be partial, but this city is hands down the MOST beautiful place to live. It is rich in culture, heritage, and good ol’ Southern hospitality.

How did you pick your ceremony and reception venues? What do you love most about each space?
Stephen and I love downtown strolls together, and I think we chose venues that encompass all things historically beautiful. The ceremony will be held at St. Luke’s Chapel in the heart of the downtown area, and the reception will be held alongside the Cooper River, at the newly renovated Harborside East. It’s stunning inside and out and has the BEST view of the peninsula you could ever imagine. Harborside East is also right under the famous Cooper River bridge, which houses the nation’s third largest 10k, a race Stephen and I have run together with my family for the past three years.

Beautiful Charleston, as captured by Virgil Bunao and Joey + Jessica

Who or what has been most inspiring in the wedding planning process?
Pinterest and SW Mag, of course!! I am such a frugal McDougal; I refuse to pay for anything I can do myself. Those two places and Green Bride Guide have inspired lots of crafts and projects. Stephen and I pride ourselves on being a green household, and anything you will find at our wedding is either upcycled or recycled! Blue Planet Green Events has been a wealth of information, too!

How have you involved your “community” in the wedding planning process?
Our families and my bridesmaids have been so helpful the past ten months, especially my mom. You would think a year to plan a wedding would be enough time, but you’d be surprised how quickly it sneaks up on you! After I designed and printed the formal invites, my mom spent countless hours with me cutting, sticking, gluing, and addressing them all. She has also done a lot of the leg work running around collecting vintage items for the reception! My MOH has been extremely helpful, as well, collecting over 1,000 corks and over 50 wine bottles from local restaurants out of which Stephen and I will create our centerpieces.

On the left, Melissa’s inspiration for her bouquet (from Martha Stewart Weddings, photo by Simply Bloom). On the right, her inspiration for the gents’ boutonnieres – they’ll be made from fabric leftover after the bridesmaids’ dresses are hemmed!

What part of wedding planning, if any, has made you the most anxious?
Finding a baker! I’m not much of a cake person — years of eating Funfetti cake and canned icing are probably to blame :) I had originally planned to have an old friend make our cake because it was NOT a priority in our budget. However, I started feeling anxious about the hundreds of different flavors and fillings there are to choose from, so I attended a wedding expo with my MOH and ran across a very small, local bakery. With one bite, McKenzie’s Bake Shop changed my mind about cakes. Forever. She is as sweet as pie, and so great at what she does, that we now go to her for every event that needs dessert, as well as the occasional Monday that simply demands a cupcake.

What wedding-related decision have you been the most indecisive on?
Oddly enough, picking a wedding gown! Years of shamelessly browsing wedding dresses in college (before I even had a boyfriend!) was not enough to prepare this bride for actually choosing a gown of her own. I love lace, I love beading, I love fluff, I love asymmetry… I just. Love. Wedding dresses! And no, I don’t think I have ever missed an episode of Say Yes to the Dress!

Which part of your wedding have you been most intentional about planning?
A few years ago at the annual Flowertown Festival in Summerville, a catering company, Cricket & Kyle (family-owned and formerly run out of a church kitchen), had a booth of the most DELICIOUS crab cakes I’ve ever had in my life. Growing up on the beach, Stephen and I both have high expectations for our seafood. Based solely on their crab cakes, we promised the owner that, whenever we got married, we’d have him cater! I carried his business card in my purse for TWO YEARS, and he was one of the first vendors we booked once we got engaged. Lucky for us, we found out at our tasting that he can dish up more than just amazing crab cakes, and I must say he has a mouthwatering spin on shrimp ‘n grits!

from Bon Appetit

We’re also really excited about our photographers! When Stephen and I moved to a house in Columbia, we got to know a nice couple down the street from us, who just so happened to be the talented photography duo Landon and Jordan of Landon Jacob Productions! I have been a HUGE fan of their work ever since, and it’s been kind of an unspoken agreement that when we were ready for a wedding photographer, we’d have to look no further than outside our living room window. When we got engaged, I think Jordan was just as excited as I was!

Have you picked your dress yet? How’d that go? What will you be wearing on the big day?
Oh golly! I am example no. 1 of “the girl who bought two dresses.” Two weeks after getting engaged, I brought my mom, aunt, cousin, and MOH dress shopping with me on my birthday. We quickly breezed through the first two stores in Charleston before heading to NY Bride and Groom in Charlotte. I had one set style in mind, and didn’t really try on anything else. I ended up falling in love with a beautiful beaded fit and flare lace dress, and we bought it that day.

But I didn’t stop looking. Something was missing, so I continued to browse dresses in the hopes of either dismissing or validating my initial dress decision. Eight months later, I was STILL looking, and dragged one of my bridesmaids to go with me to try on yet another dress I’d spotted in a magazine. I ended up hating it on, and was this close to settling on my first dress. On the way out, however, my bridesmaid pulled a dress off the rack and begged me to try it on, simply because we both thought it would look ridiculous! It was a giant ball gown, champagne in color, and the exact opposite of anything I had ever tried on.

I put it on, and my heart stopped beating. I immediately started crying, and knew this was the dress I wanted
to walk down the aisle in. I love it so much and can’t wait to put it on again!

We love the choices of these two brides, just two of the many featured on our Southern Styles board! (Left by Phindy Studios, right by Belathee Photography)

Do you have a favorite online shop you’d love to tell us about?
I am in love with Jenna Lou Designs and I would be remiss not to mention her! She creates, among many other items, custom clutches. She designed the clutches for my bridesmaids and personalized them with a hand-stitched patch on the inside!

What has been the biggest challenge so far in wedding planning?
Sticking to a budget! As much as I would like to splurge on vendors, we have done as much as we possibly can ourselves. The stationery was a big one. It’s so easy to get caught up in spending a lot of money on save the dates, invitations, and calligraphers, but I am handy enough with graphic design and was able to design and print both our save the dates and the formal invitations myself. The bridesmaid flowers, groomsmen bouts, centerpieces, and wedding favors will all be DIY, as well. Luckily, we have completed nearly all of our planned projects, and we hired day-of-coordinators to pull it all together for us!

Another one of Melissa’s DIY projects – paper flowers made out of old maps to decorate their cake!

What are you most looking forward to on your wedding day?
Seeing Stephen for the first time as I walk down the aisle. I have loved him since the moment I laid eyes on him. The several seconds it will take to walk towards him will feel like an eternity; it’ll be hard not to start running! One of our readings sums up my emotions perfectly.

Any advice you’d like to pass along to fellow brides?
I have two major pieces of advice. 1) The wedding is not just about you and your fiancé, but your families as well. Appease and be flexible. 2) Try on more than one wedding dress style! Even if you think you have a clear idea of what you want, try everything else on anyway. This is the only time in your life you have to try on wedding dresses… don’t sell the experience short by limiting yourself to one style. Who knows, what looks ridiculous on the rack might turn out to be the dress of your dreams!

Now it’s your turn to ask for advice – is there anything you’d like to poll the SW readers on?
What is one thing you wish you’d done in planning for your wedding that you didn’t get around to?

Thank you so much for joining us today, Melissa! We’re excited to see how everything turns out in December! 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!

P.S. Check out all our past Southern Brides of the Month here!

Landon Jacob is a fabulous member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

emily Written with love by Emily
  1. avatar Magnoliawp reply

    I adore the paper flowers!! the colours , the style , totally in love! <3

  2. avatar Melissa V reply

    Thanks so much for the opportunity!! It looks great :-D Emily, what was your one thing you wish you’d gotten around to doing??

  3. avatar erin {a lowcountry wedding} reply

    congrats! can’t wait to see the big day!

  4. avatar Joyce Feetham reply

    What a lovely interview! And I’m sure Melissa and Stephen’s wedding is going to be beautiful! It’s exciting that I will soon be Melissa’s mother in law!

  5. avatar Courtney Porter {Dogwood Events} reply


    Congratulations! Your wedding will be beautiful! One of the things that couples tell me that they regret most in planning their wedding is not hiring a videographer to capture their ceremony so that they can relive it later. Take a look into it.

  6. avatar Haley reply

    Would you mind to tell me who the designer and name of your dress you wore is? It’s beautiful!

  7. avatar Ashley reply

    Her dress is beautiful! Who is the designer?

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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My sixth and final National Stationery Show recap contains some SUPER Southern gems. Let’s get started!

I just about died and went to Southern heaven when I walked into the Belle & Union booth! It was their first time exhibiting, and they sure bowled me over. Expect to see a lot more of this Southern goodness coming at you over the next few months!

Of course, old favorites are always nice to see, too, like our talented friends at Rifle Paper Co! Did I tell you that they designed my future sister in law’s wedding invitations? They did, and they were beautiful!

Up next was May Books, another new one to me. I loved their colorful patterned covers, and their motto – “life is too short for ugly notebooks.” Indeed! These customizable gems would make another great bridesmaid gift.

I was so excited to get to the Fig. 2 Design booth, not only because I love Claudia’s invitations and stationery, but because we had recently been corresponding about a fun collaboration for V5! You’ll have to wait until the fall for the reveal, but it’s goooood!

I loved this sweet little ribbon and gold shimmery backdrop at the Great Lakes Goods booth.

Don’t you love traveling halfway across the country only to meet someone from the next town over? That’s what happened with This Paper Ship, one of my favorite new exhibitors! Their booth was so cute, and I loved that they’re our Chapel Hill neighbors.

I thought this month-by-month watercolor calendar from Fine Day Press was especially beautiful.

As always, Dear Hancock had some beautiful hand-drawn and watercolored cards, but I especially liked their new product, the stand-in peony, which is meant to sit on your desk when you can’t have fresh flowers! Such a sweet idea!

The fill-in card for the year you were married was my favorite design at the Double Bravo booth. Again, such a great frame-able keepsake!

Flywheel Press was showing an assortment of adorable and just plain cool cards. I’m not even sure how those metallic, ombre-looking cards were printed, but they were really neat!

Last but most certainly not least was Rebecca from Wild Ink Press. I loved her sweet + cute greeting cards! Also, her business cards were THE COOLEST.

And that concludes my coverage of the 2012 National Stationery Show! I hoped you enjoyed seeing all the paper goodness that was on display this year. Let’s give one last huge thank you to Cyn Kain, who snapped all of these photos for your viewing pleasure!

In case you missed a segment…
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

Until next year!

Cyn Kain is a fabulous member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

emily Written with love by Emily

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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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 […]

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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