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House parties, burying the bourbon and cake pulls, oh my! Meet the newest addition to the Southern Weddings Shop: All About Southern Wedding Traditions. The whole office is awfully proud of our new e-book library. Why? Because we are big believers in pretty AND practical and our new e-books are the best of both worlds!

There’s something magical about Southern culture that seems to be magnified when digging into the wedding planning process. Outdoor weddings and receptions are common place and keeping away the rain is paramount: enter burying the bourbon. Whether you were born and raised in the South, moved here as fast as you could, or are simply looking to add a dose of Southern charm to your wedding day, our guide to Southern wedding traditions has you covered!

In this 19-page digital download, we walk you through the six most beloved Southern wedding traditions and offer up ways to personalize six classic wedding traditions. We’ll tell you when, where, why, and how to include each in your celebration!

We believe that your wedding day should be a reflection of your very personal love story. We also believe in the power of weaving sweet details (the more Southern the better) into your big day. Educate yourself and figure out which of our favorite traditions will work for you: All About Southern Wedding Traditions e-book!

P.S. Curious about the overlap of our e-book library and the Joyful Wedding Planner? Our e-books can be used alongside our planner (since we go into more detail on each topic than we were able to in the planner) or in tandem with another planner. We’ve heard from so many brides who were sad to have purchased another planner before finding ours, so this is a way that all of y’all can still get our perspective on individual topics without purchasing a second planner! Our e-books also make a great surcee for the brides in your life!

kristin Written with love by Kristin
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    Danielle and Richard wanted their wedding to feel like they were throwing it in their dream fancy backyard, and when it came time to choosing a location for their pending nuptials, New Orleans turned out to be the perfect place! It’s a city they both love, and to Danielle and Richard, it symbolizes “warmth, festivity, and fun”–all fabulous attributes of a Southern wedding, y’all! After checking out 10 venues in 36 hours (woah!), they said an “instantaneous and unanimous” yes to The Terrell House. Of course, when you top off a beautiful ceremony with a surprise second line, it’s a given that your celebration was a blast!

    Big hugs to Blue Ribbon Vendor, Maile Lani, for sharing!

    Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I had an image in my head of the style of dress that I wanted and did a lot of research online to try and find it. I came across a boutique in Soho called Saja that seemed to have the type of soft, unstructured, simple, yet elegant dresses that I liked. My sister and I went together, and the very first dress I tried on, I loved. I tried on a few more there, and then a few at BHLDN, but soon, I went back to Saja with my mom. When I put that first dress back on, there was no question. I love my dress and I love that I didn’t stress about it.

    We did do a first look. We wanted to take all our formal pictures before the ceremony so that our guests wouldn’t have to wait for us (and so we wouldn’t miss any of the party). I was really worried that the first look and our portraits would be awkward., but somehow, our photographer, Maile, made them not LOOK awkward. We were laughing and goofing around the whole time, so it ended up being really enjoyable.

    What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? Our first step was choosing New Orleans. We knew we didn’t want to get married in NYC or where either of us grew up (Boston and El Paso). New Orleans is a city that we both love and have visited frequently. It’s also a place that symbolizes warmth, festivity, and fun. On a short trip there, we checked out 10 venues in 36 hours, but our love for The Terrell House was instantaneous and unanimous. We wanted to get married somewhere that would feel like we were throwing a ceremony in our backyard (albeit a backyard nicer than one we’ll ever own!). Since we were going to have to plan everything from afar, it also helped that they do the planning, decorating, and catering themselves.

    Describe your wedding flowers. Our flowers were all shades of pink with silver and turquoise accents. We wanted a unstructured, mismatched look with different shaped and sized vases, and no two bouquets looking exactly the same.

    What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? It’s just one day and it goes by so fast. Enjoy the planning, because if you are not having fun, it’s not worth it. When decisions come up, make them and move on. There is no right answer, so stressing over the decisions will only make you miserable. Your guests will not judge you on the details (and if they do, they are missing the point), and when you are actually living in the moment, even the things that didn’t turn out perfectly will become endearing. A lot of my guests commented on how relaxed I was as a bride, and I really was. All I saw around me were my friends and family from all around the WORLD, and Rick’s smiling face. It was such a happy day and I’m so appreciative that the whole process leading up to it was an adventure, rather than something stressful.

    We don’t feel particularly drawn to multi-tiered, white wedding cakes, and find that guests don’t often eat them, but Rick LOVES cake. We decided to go with the New Orleans theme and get three doberge cakes in three different flavors. They were a big hit!

    What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Walking the second line, I was already having so much fun, but at one point, I remembered to turn around and look at my guests. We hadn’t told anyone about the second line, so it was a huge surprise. Seeing their gaping mouths and the thrill in their eyes as we danced through the street, chaperoned by the police, with revelers from the neighborhood coming out of their homes to wave at us…it was the most special moment of my day.

    How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Rick and I are both television producers and we met when working on an MTV show. The first place we traveled together was Ohio State, and as we interviewed kids about their personal lives, a spark quickly grew between us. Once we returned home to NYC, we started dating, and it made the rest of our work travel a whole lot more fun. Almost exactly three years later, we were married.
    Tell us all about the proposal! We had been talking about our future for a while and knew we wanted to make that commitment, but then I got a job working on a show where I would have to live in Chattanooga, Tennessee for three weeks a month for five months, so we put our plans on the back burner for a little while. Since both of us travel for work, we try to take advantage and visit each other when one of us is out of town at an interesting location. Rick came to visit me for a few days and we got to explore the city. One day, we went to a rock climbing haven at a golf course, and at one point, when we were resting on the top of a boulder, Rick proposed to me with my great-grandmother’s ring that he had gotten from my mother. It certainly wasn’t where I had expected to get engaged (I was wearing sweatpants and no make up!), but there was romance to the randomness of it. It symbolizes to me that no matter where life takes us, we can find a way to make any place we land special.
    How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 85
    What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? My 86-year-old grandmother traveled from Toronto to New Orleans–a very long trip. It was important to me to honor her by having her read at our ceremony, so she read “Blessing for Marriage” by James Dillet Freeman.
    Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Having the love and laughter from our friends and family all around us. When all is said and done, that is 100 percent what we remember most.
    If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into?
    $25,000-$50,000
    What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? The Terrell House has a deal with a liquor distributor, so we were able to order bottles at wholesale cost and then return the unopened bottles. Our liquor costs were way lower than any quotes we received from caterers. Also, I taught myself photoshop so that all the programs, welcome letters, etc., were handmade.
    What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We just returned from our honeymoon–a safari in Tanzania, Africa–and now, it’s time to enjoy our lives together. I would be lying if I said we haven’t both talked about being sad that our wedding is all over, but it’s nice to have the time together where we don’t feel like there is something we have to plan.

    Photographer: Maile Lani / Venue, Flowers, and Caterer: The Terrell House / Cake Baker: Debbie Does Doberge / Band: 504eva Band / Bride’s Gown: “HB6633” by Saja / Hair and Makeup: Kiss and Make Up / Bride’s Shoes: Kate Spade / Groom’s Attire: Loro Piana

    Maile Lani is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

    marissa Written with love by Marissa
    1 Comment
    1. avatar Charleston Wedding Videographer reply

      Absolutely love browsing through the photos of this wedding! Gorgeous greenery, floral arrangements and New Orleans theme. Simply stunning.

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    One of the best things about planning a wedding in the South is that we have a few extra months in the year that allow for an outdoor celebration. Katie and Zach took advantage of this opportunity to bring their vision of an outdoor ceremony and a reception under the stars to life at their Tuckahoe Plantation wedding. To ensure that the weather held out, they buried a bottle of bourbon a month before the big day–with temperatures of 72 degrees and plenty of sunshine on their mid-October wedding day, I think it’s safe to say that upholding this fun Southern tradition worked!

    Thank you so much to Sarah Der for sharing Katie and Zach’s special day with us!

    We used every bold autumnal color possible in the bouquets and the swag for the arbor. The mothers and grandmothers carried smaller bouquets instead of corsages, and the boutonnieres for the men were made of succulents, billy balls and berries. The three bridesmaids wore different colors that all tied into the florals. It was mismatched, but still went together in our multi-colored palette.

    Just for fun, I went to Bella Rosa in Richmond with my mom and aunt a few days after Zach proposed. The appointment was hopefully going to give me a good idea of styles I liked and others I didn’t like. Well, upon walking in, I saw a dress hanging up and said, “That may be my dress.” It was the first one I tried on, and it encompassed everything I had imagined for the wedding–it was romantic, vintage-looking, and classic, and the beading was so unique. I had never seen anything quite like it. I tried seven more dresses on, just for the sake of comparison, and ended up buying the Wtoo “Emerson” dress at the end of the appointment. It truly was love at first sight! The dress was the first piece of the puzzle in creating my perfect vision for the big day.

    What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We buried a bottle of bourbon behind the arbor at Tuckahoe one month to the day before our wedding. We had a 72 degree and sunny day, so we are firm believers that this Southern tradition works!! I changed into boots for the reception, and the landscape of Tuckahoe truly set the Southern stage for the whole day.

    Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We did! Honestly, a large part of it was due to timing and the lighting in the fall. We knew that with a 3:00 ceremony, light was going to be running out after the cocktail hour. We also wanted to enjoy as much of the cocktail hour and reception as possible, so we wanted to get photos done first. Looking back, the first look was so special because it gave us an intimate time before standing in front of all of those people at the ceremony.

    We wrote our own vows, and kept them secret until that day. We didn’t know what the other had written, and hearing them for the first time in front of all of our friends and family made the ceremony incredibly sacred to us. Zach’s favorite line from mine was, “I will always remember our love as it was on this day.” My favorite from Zach’s was “I vow to be yours entirely and forever, with no reservation or exceptions, today and every day, for the rest of our lives.”

    Zach and I wanted to have an outdoor wedding in the fall–that was our highest priority. Next, we decided we wanted to have an open-air reception without a big tent. I found Tuckahoe Plantation by looking through other Richmond brides’ wedding photos online. My mom and I went to see it in January, and even in the cold, it was truly breathtaking–barren trees and all!

    Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Our first dance was to “After the Storm” by Mumford & Sons. We are huge fans of Mumford, and this song brought tears to our eyes the first time we heard it on their album when we lived in North Carolina. That was such a wonderful period of our relationship and our lives; it brings back memories from the beginning of “us.”

    The open-air reception under the stars and our long farm tables, so that everyone was seated in long rows, were two details that helped make our wedding so special. The weather could not have been nicer for October, and the open-air reception made it feel a lot more intimate than a tent. Our dinner was served family-style, so guests were passing bowls and plates of food, which felt so communal.

    How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Despite growing up 50 miles apart and attending the University of Richmond together for three years, it wasn’t until our final year of undergrad that our paths finally crossed at the infamous Senior Toga Social. On that fateful September evening, I approached Zach because, to be very frank, he looked pretty darn handsome dressed in a white bed sheet. I had noticed him earlier that week in our mutual Acting 101 class, and a little liquid courage helped to start a conversation that sparked our relationship. As we enjoyed a magical senior year together, growing in love and trying to figure out the future beyond our diplomas, we were pretty unsure about where we would end up. After applying to companies and programs across the country, with a little bit of good fortune, we both landed jobs in North Carolina, and our story continued.
    Tell us all about the proposal! Our landlord had helped create the guise that we needed to sign the lease for our house in the Fan. After lunch with Zach’s brothers, we found a parking spot in Carytown, and Matt and Dave quickly disappeared. Zach shakily took my hand and pulled me to the front doors of The Byrd Theater to “check out showtimes,” and at that point, I realized what was happening. Zach had had a few friends help him edit a video telling “the story of us,” set to The Old 97’s “Question.” It ended with a final super that read: “I’ve got a question for you…” After watching the movie in the place where we had gone on many dates before, I turned to him, and he was down on one knee asking me to spend the rest of my life with him. Cue me sobbing without a Kleenex in sight, and the balcony erupted with hoops and hollers from our families.
    When did y’all get married? October 18, 2014
    How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 150
    Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Our family friend made three different autumnal flavors of cupcakes: bourbon maple bacon, s’mores with marshmallow filling, and apple spice cake.
    What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? I made origami flowers for the centerpieces, so we saved a lot on flowers. A family friend made all of the cupcakes as her wedding gift to us, so that was a large savings as well. Across the board, we looked for the most affordable rental options, without sacrificing quality. We continually asked ourselves “Is this going to change the look and feel of our wedding?” and, “Is this worth the additional money?”
    What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Our live band was amazing, and I would not have traded that detail for the world. Zach knew Big Boss Man through his fraternity at University of Richmond, and they played their hearts out for us! Regarding vendors, I could not have been as stress-free without the help of our day-of coordinator, Amy. I was hesitant to spend money on a coordinator at first, but having her there directing all the vendors and timing was a tremendous help! I could not have been my own coordinator and still fully enjoyed every moment of the day.
    What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? The most memorable moment was walking up to our reception as the sun was starting to set. Seeing everyone seated, enjoying the music and conversation, laughing and dancing, was simply overwhelming. I remember Zach and I looking at each other with the biggest smiles on our faces. We were husband and wife, and we were about to have an incredible party with the people we love most.
    What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are so excited for our time together before starting our family. We want to see as much of the world as possible–we have already planned a few trips for 2015 and can’t wait to travel and make those memories together and with our families.

    Photographer: Sarah Der Photography / Second shooter: Whitney Neal / Videographer: Two Cents Photography / Planner: Amy Lewis of McBride Events / Venue: Tuckahoe Plantation / Florist: Boulevard Flower Gardens / Dessert Baker: Peg Langdon / Caterer: Brock’s BBQ / Rentals: Classic Party Rentals / Lighting: Blue Steel Lighting / Band: Big Boss Man / Bride’s Gown: “Emerson” by Wtoo / Hair and Makeup: Annie Radigan / Bridesmaids’ Dresses and Groom’s Attire: J. Crew / String Quartet: Silverleaf String Quartet

    lisa Written with love by Lisa
    1 Comment
    1. avatar Sarah Der! reply

      Thanks for such a beautiful feature, SW!!!

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