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As you might have heard, we’re releasing a very special tenth-anniversary issue on November 9th, and we’re throwing a very special shindig to match! We think this is our most beautiful and meaningful edition yet, and we sure plan to celebrate her in high style. And we want you to clink your sweet tea flute with us!

It’s the Southern Weddings event of the decade, friends! Please join us at the Carolina Inn at 7:00pm on Thursday, November 9th, 2017. We can’t wait to hug all of you — our dear readers, vendors, sponsors, and friends to toast to ten years of timeless Southern love stories. There will be delicious sips and bites inspired by the issue, swag bags full of sweet surcees, and of course, our signature photo booth open all night!

We plan to don duds worthy of Volume 10’s beauty, and we invite you to join us in black tie attire, particularly in hot pink, coral, or violet to match our lovely cover! Alternately, we’d love to see you in silver in honor of this ten-year milestone.

We’re looking forward to seeing as many friends as possible on the 9th! Our launch parties do tend to sell out quickly, so we recommend buying your ticket soon if you’d like to attend.

For all of our guests traveling to Chapel Hill from near and far, of course the most convenient place to stay is The Carolina Inn itself. Otherwise, The Franklin Hotel and Aloft Chapel Hill are also nearby!

We are counting down the days! In the meantime, polish off your sequins and get in the spirit with us using the #V10LaunchParty hashtag on Instagram!

Written with love by Catherine
2 Comments
  1. avatar HELLO MODEL MANAGEMENT NYC reply

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    • avatar Catherine reply

      Hello! We are not seeking models at the moment, but thanks for reaching out!

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Bride Lauren shares her classic wedding–the first to be held in OU’s Great Reading Room!

I will never turn down an opportunity to explore a college campus, and if there’s anything I love more than a leafy quad, it’s a gothic library reading room. So as you might imagine, this on-campus marriage between two college sweethearts had me weak at the knees from the first peek. But then Lauren explained that the Great Reading Room was one of her favorite places to study in college and that, “if our future children choose to go to OU someday, I can’t help but think how cool it will be for them to study in the same spot their parents were married.” Be still my heart.

Lauren and Austin’s connection to their wedding venue doesn’t even stop there, as Austin is currently a law student on campus! As a law school grad married to a lawyer myself, I could certainly identify with Lauren’s strategically-timed wedding DIY projects. That kind of consideration on her part, coupled with his willingness to put the books down whenever possible, sounds like a great foundation for a lawyer marriage! (And their focus on their families doesn’t hurt, either!) But I’ll scoot aside and let our bride take it from here.

Many thanks to Emily Ann Hughes for sending this beauty our way!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Austin and I both graduated from the University of Oklahoma, so choosing to get married on campus was especially significant, as it was the place our love story began. We are so lucky—and honored—to be the first couple to ever be married in the Great Reading Room. When searching for a venue, we wanted something that was unique, historic, and the opposite of “cookie cutter”. OU offered us all of that (and more!) and we will be forever grateful for the rare opportunity. As a college student, the Great Reading Room was one of my favorite places to study, but I never imagined that I would marry the love of my life in that same room. If our future children choose to go to OU someday, I can’t help to think how cool it will be for them to study in the same spot their parents were married. Additionally, the historic ballroom on campus has held celebrations since the 1920s and was the perfect spot for our reception.
Did you decide to do a first look? We went the traditional route and chose not to do a first look. In our experience, forgoing a first look really added to the excitement and anticipation of the day. Not just for Austin and me (no matter what, we would have been excited!), but for our family and wedding party. The whole day felt like Christmas!

What was your favorite thing about wedding planning? My parents were so eager (in the best way possible!) and happy to be involved in the planning process—it made everything so easy and fun! Since we lived in different states, I talked to them on the phone for over an hour almost every single night. We would go over RSVPs, discuss vendor meetings and options, and talk through all of my crazy ideas. It was such a wonderful bonding experience and I’m so thankful for all the special moments we shared together throughout the wedding planning process. From dance lessons to dress fittings, they were there for it all. I will carry those memories with me for the rest of my life.
What was the hardest part about planning your wedding? Austin was in his first year of law school while we were planning our wedding, so I was mindful of his school schedule (papers, mid-terms, finals, etc.) when talking about our wedding. I used finals week to start most of my DIY projects and weekends to talk about guest lists, budgets and timelines. And despite his hectic schedule, he made every effort to attend all vendor meetings and walk-throughs.

When did y’all get married? June 24, 2017.
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 150.

Tell us your love story in one sentence. We are college sweethearts who have known each other since we were eleven-years-old.
Tell us all about the proposal! Austin proposed on an unsuspecting walk with our dog, Honey. I was in leggings and a t-shirt, so it’s safe to say I was taken completely by surprise, which is exactly what Austin always hoped for. We celebrated that evening with our families (our parents are actually neighbors!) in our hometown of Flower Mound, Texas. The next day we drove up to Norman, Oklahoma to tour the University of Oklahoma College of Law (where Austin is currently a 2L). After our tour, we stopped in for a drink at the dive-bar where we had our first kiss almost eight years ago!

I went wedding dress shopping for the first time with just my mom and dad. I have a close relationship with my dad, and I wanted him to be there to experience that special moment with me. All along I thought I knew exactly the type of dress I wanted, but after a few fails, the stylist at Bridal Boutique in Lewisville suggested I try something simple. She pulled a stunning Enzoani gown (which totally had Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy vibes!), and I absolutely fell in love. I had never pictured myself in something like it, but it totally fit my timeless and classic style. We paired it with a Lee-Ann Belter lace jacket and I was sold. The following weekend I returned to the boutique with my mom, sisters, and future mother-in-law and sisters-in-law (5 of us in total and 2 were there via Face-Time) and officially said yes to the dress. I truly had the best experience and was lucky to be able include all of the people I love!

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? One of my dear friends designed our invitations, programs, place cards, and welcome box details. It was fun to be so involved in the process! We exchanged about 100 emails, so I’m very thankful for her patience and kind heart. I also printed everything locally, which was really cost effective. We took on a lot of DIY projects, too. My dad and I built, stained, and painted all the wood signage for the wedding, and he constructed and hung the garden lights on the patio. I also re-purposed a lot of items from discount stores and antique shops.

What was your favorite detail from your wedding? From the black and gold tiled floor to the dramatic windows, the swinging leather doors, the old books on display, and all the ornate architectural elements, I’ll forever be in awe of all the beautiful details of the Great Reading Room. We added minimal decor, as the space didn’t need a lot. But the arrangements at the altar, the candles, the greenery on the tables, and the string quartet really made the room feel wedding-like. It was beyond my wildest dreams.
What was Southern about your wedding? Both our ceremony and reception were located on the campus of the University of Oklahoma, in buildings that were both built in the 1920s. I think historic buildings and details add a simple and elegant Southern flair. Additionally, we sipped on Southern Comfort (Austin’s favorite!) and Shiner Light Blonde all night long and line-danced to “Copperhead Road.” We also incorporated our “crest” on our wedding cake, invitations, programs, custom-made cups, and signs—and my dad even drew it in chalk along the pathway to the ceremony. We plan to incorporate it in our home someday, too!

What was your most memorable moment from your wedding day? Saying our vows to each other in front of our closest friends and family will always be the moment that shines the brightest in my memory. We put a lot of thought into our ceremony, and every detail was a perfect representation of everything Austin and I love, value, and cherish.
What advice would you give to someone currently planning a wedding? Save everything! I’m such a pack rat for sentimental items I even saved all my to-do lists (there were hundreds), because I know one day I will love to look back and remember all the hard work we put in. Our guest room closet is now dedicated to anything that was remotely wedding-related. Additionally, hire a planner and a really good photographer. (For us, that was Blair Sims Events and Emily Ann Hughes Photography!) Trust me, it makes a difference. After that, just enjoy the experience. And always remember to be grateful during the happy times and graceful during the stressful times.

Although Austin and I are not really the mushy-gushy type, we always knew we wanted to write our own vows. We heard from so many guests that they were some of the most emotional vows they’d ever heard! My hope is that it helped our friends and family understand our hearts just a little bit more. We had our hometown church pastor marry us, who also led our pre-marital counseling sessions, too. We both felt so comfortable in his presence and it made our ceremony that much more intimate and personal. We spent our honeymoon in Italy and decided to re-read our vows to each other while we were in Rome. (We were both so nervous standing up in front of everyone that it was hard to remember every single word the other said!) Hearing them again felt as special as it did the first time. That ended up being one of the most special parts of our trip. Here’s a line from Austin’s: “No matter what we plan, or what life throws at us, I will do whatever it takes—no matter how hard—to make you feel loved. A person as amazing as you deserves nothing less than that, and I am the luckiest man in the world to be able to give that to you.” And here’s a line from mine: “Today, as I stand here in front of you, I am still captivated by your selfless, humble, caring and respectful nature as I was the day I fell in love with you. Your heart is the biggest I know. It loves unconditionally and without hesitation. It is forgiving and kind. It always seeks to find the beauty in my madness, and most of all, it loves me for me.”

One of the sweetest moments of the day was when our nieces and nephews screamed, “We’re officially cousins now!” Austin and I are both crazy lucky that our families have grown so close over the years, and on our wedding day it really felt like we were all one big happy family. Both of our parents were beaming with happiness and it made our wedding day that much more special seeing their smiling (and sometimes crying!) faces.

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We had both a string quartet for our ceremony and a live band for our reception. We kept it pretty traditional for the ceremony. I walked down the aisle to Pachelbel’s “Canon in D” and we recessed to Mendelssohn’s “Wedding March.” There is just something about those recognizable songs that just tug at your heart strings. We entered the reception to “You Make My Dreams Come True” by Hall & Oates (one of my all-time favorites!). Our first dance was “Tupelo Honey” by Van Morrison. We both felt like that was a song we could see ourselves dancing to in the kitchen when we are both old and grey. It is such a classic song that I’ll never get tired of hearing. For our last dance, we chose “If I Should Fall Behind” by Bruce Springsteen.
What did you serve for your wedding cake or dessert? For our five-tier wedding cake, Austin and I chose traditional white wedding cake, lemon cake, strawberry cake, and coconut cake with decadent buttercream frosting. For Austin’s groom’s cake he chose chocolate cake with chocolate ganache. We wanted there to be a little something for everyone! I often make sugar cookies for holidays and parties, so I thought it would mean a lot to our guests to make some for the wedding. I made 150 iced sugar cookies in the shape of the state of Oklahoma as a take-home gift (and included a print out of my recipe, too!). As stressful as it may sound, it helped take my mind off of things the week of the wedding—even if it was just for a moment.

Photographer: Emily Ann Hughes Photography | Videographer: Glorious Day Films | Planner: Blair Sims Events | Ceremony Venue: The Great Reading Room in Bizzell Memorial Library | Reception Venue: Molly Shi Boren Ballroom at the University of Oklahoma | Florist: Poppy Lane Design | Wedding Cake: Amy Cakes | Caterer: The University of Oklahoma | Rentals and Lighting: Mood Party Rentals | Band: Drive | String Quartet: Norman String Quartet | Bride’s Gown: “Janessa” by Enzoani from Bridal Boutique | Jacket: “Luna” by Lee-Ann Belter | Bride’s Veil: Alisa Brides | Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist: Chelsey Ann Artistry | Bride’s Shoes: “Barby” by Badgley Mischka | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Annabelle” in Mayan Blue by Jenny Yoo | Menswear: Jos. A. Bank

Written with love by Catherine
1 Comment
  1. avatar Morgan reply

    How did you get in contact with someone to get married in the great reading room ? That’s my friends dream and I would love to help her fulfill it! Your wedding was gorgeous!

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Y’all know I’m the first in line for a big bow or beautiful monogram, but I also understand they’re not everyone’s cup of tea. (Though, if you’re here at Southern Weddings reading, I’d say there’s a better than average chance they are!) In everything from your aesthetic choices to the words you say when you vow forever to each other, we want you to choose what’s right for you and what most helps to tell your unique story – not what looks good or what someone else is doing.

In that spirit, today we’re chatting about a few wedding ceremony traditions you might want to consider including in your big day. Traditions can make your ceremony even more meaningful by underscoring or illustrating the more important moments, but they’ll fall flat if they’re not rooted in what matters to you. Take a peek and see which ones speak to you – we can’t wait to see what you choose!

Bamber Photography

Military saber arch: For military brides and grooms, one of the most recognizable (and beloved!) wedding traditions is the saber arch—a ceremony exit that both celebrates the newlyweds, and acknowledges that serving our country is truly a family commitment.

Traditionally, the saber arch is performed by 6-8 uniformed service members (often guests or groomsmen/bridesmaids) immediately following the ceremony. On the command, the saber team raises their sabers into a high arch, which the newlyweds enter as they are announced by one of the members. As the bride and groom pass through, the two saber bearers in the front traditionally lower their sabers before the couple can proceed out of the arch.

This is when the saber bearer to the couple’s left gives the non-military member of the couple a gentle tap on the backside and a welcome to the applicable branch! After a kiss, the newlyweds are free to proceed and the saber team recovers on command and dissolves formation.

Unity candle: Typically the unity candle ceremony uses two taper candles with a large pillar candle in the center. At the beginning of the ceremony, a family representative from each side (usually the mothers of the bride and groom) light the two taper candles. Later during the ceremony, the bride and groom use the two light candles to jointly light the large center candle to symbolize the joining together of two families.

Anna Shackleford

Foot washing: Washing one another’s feet is a newer wedding tradition that stems from the biblical story of Jesus washing his disciples’ feet (John 13:1-17) as a gesture of service and humility. Christian couples especially may find deep symbolism in recreating this moment during their wedding ceremony, while promising to serve one another selflessly in marriage, but any couple committed to living out these qualities in their future may find it meaningful.

During the ceremony, the bride and groom simply take turns sitting down on a chair in front of a basin of water, while their significant other kneels in front of them, removes their shoe(s), and washes their feet with water. Another option: because a foot washing ceremony is so intimate, some couples choose to wash each other’s feet in a more private setting, perhaps during their first look, or after returning to their ceremony site post-recessional and after their guests have been dismissed.

Jumping the broom: This tradition has a history tied back to nineteenth-century slave communities in the South, but it has gained richness and deeper meaning for couples who choose to include it in their ceremonies today. The act of jumping can represent crossing the threshold into marriage, the beginning of making a home together, their dedication to working together through difficult and joyful tasks, and a sweeping away of the old and a welcoming of the new. The humble broom becomes quite beautiful when used in this way, and many are dressed up for the occasion!

A Bryan Photo

Carrying a white Bible: For families that have Bibles that have been passed down from generation to generation, carrying this heirloom down the aisle is a way for a bride to honor her heritage. Whether or not it’s an heirloom, Christians brides often carry a white Bible as an outward representation of their faith on this incredibly special day. Bibles and small white prayer books can be tucked into your bouquet or embellished with ribbons or flowers and carried solo. If you decide not to carry a Bible but are looking for another nod to your faith, we love the idea of wrapping your favorite verse into or around your bouquet or placing a family bible on the altar at your ceremony.

Ring warming: In a ring warming ceremony, the wedding bands are passed hand to hand through the congregation before being exchanged (tie them to a pillow or place them in a special bag to minimize the risk of dropping them!). Your officiant can ask each guest to hold the rings for a few moments, “warming” them with their prayers, blessings, and good wishes for your marriage. When they’re returned to you ready to wear, they’ll be symbolically fortified for your lifelong marriage to come!

We have heaps more ceremony planning advice and recommendations in our Joyful Wedding Planner. If you’re passionate about telling your unique love story through your wedding, this is the product for you!

Anna Shackleford and Bamber Photographer are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

kristin Written with love by Kristin
1 Comment
  1. avatar Wedding Pixie reply

    Love these ideas, hand fasting is another tradition I love!

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