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Amy and Joseph’s wedding blended both of their families’ traditions to give their nearly 400 guests an experience filled with sweet Southern hospitality and a heap of joy! Just one of the many reasons I love reading Real Wedding interviews is finding out gems about why a couple chose a certain detail. In this case, I love how Amy’s cascading bouquet was inspired by an old portrait of her great grandmother that her mother had seen. Amy had also dreamed of having a Southern gospel choir at her wedding–I know that our own Editor in Chief would have been singing away with them!

Big SW hugs to Elisabeth Millay for sharing this lovely day with us!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. This was actually very easy for me! My mom and aunt saw my Monique Lhuillier dress in a magazine and sent me a picture text that said “This is your dress!” I love bows, and I also knew I didn’t want anything strapless. We went to Joan Pillow in Atlanta specifically to try it on and our consultant, Susan, was wonderful. She made me try on two other dresses before my dress to ensure I had seen others. As soon as I put it on, we knew it was the one.

We can see why Amy knew this was her dress right off the bat! You may recognize this sparkly Monique Lhuiller stunner from our V6 Cover Shoot! What a gorgeous dress (and bride, of course!).

The only real vision I had for the flowers was a neutral palette and lots of them! My mom also had a wonderful vision of a cascading bouquet–an idea she got from an old portrait of my great grandmother. Other than our initial vision, we entrusted the details to Heather and Kristin and they did a fabulous job. I was so happy with how everything turned out.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? The ceremony was held at our temple in Charleston, which is the oldest reform temple in the country. It has a lot of special significance to my family, who have been members for several generations and are actively involved in the congregation. I was actually a flower girl in my aunt and uncle’s wedding there! We knew we wanted to be inside and downtown, so we didn’t have very many options that fit our guest count. The Charleston Marriott was a perfect choice, and it exceeded our expectations. The service and staff were exceptional.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We really wanted people to feel the Southern hospitality in Charleston. Our graphic designer created an image of a plantation oak tree that we used on several of our printed materials, including our save the dates. Charleston is known for its sweetgrass baskets, so my mom had the idea to have sweetgrass napkin rings made for our table settings at the wedding. We got 400 made by a local Charleston basket maker, Nakia Wigfall, and it was such a special touch for the tables. We also had a Southern gospel choir singing outside the temple as people exited–I had been envisioning that for a while, and I think our guests really enjoyed it! We also were fortunate to be able to include all of our out-of-town guests in our rehearsal dinner, which I think was a great way to welcome people to Charleston. It was held at Lowndes Grove Plantation and was a Southern dinner, complete with a Lowcountry boil, fried chicken, and boiled peanuts!

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? We were really fortunate and had a very easy wedding planning process because we surrounded ourselves with a fabulous team. I think the biggest challenge for me was putting the wedding out of my mind and making myself focus on studying and passing the bar exam. I graduated from law school in May and sat for the bar in July, so I had periods when I couldn’t do any wedding stuff, even though it was all I wanted to do.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? We were so fortunate to have Kristin and her team, who made everything so seamless and beautiful. Not a beat was missed!

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? This sounds so cheesy, but the whole weekend was just incredible. If I had to describe the weekend in one word, it would be humbling. Having all of our family and so many of our close friends come from so far to be with us was such a special feeling, and Joseph and I will never forget it.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? When you get overwhelmed, take a break, because everything all works out. It is sometimes easy to loose sight of the end result, which is that you get to get married. Be sure to take the whole weekend in and celebrate each other.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We were both living in Washington, DC and met at a mutual friend’s house. We had actually lived in the same apartment building for about a year, but didn’t meet until after Joseph had moved out. We ended up having a great conversation the day we met and Joseph called me the next week to ask me out to dinner.
Tell us all about the proposal! It was the 4th of July. We had been out on the boat with some of our friends during the day and had plans to go to my aunt and uncle’s house that night to celebrate with family and fireworks. I was sitting on the sofa trying to motivate myself to get ready when Joseph just came over and asked me to marry him. It was a really special moment, and I was happy that it was just the two of us there for the proposal. Our families and friends knew it was going to happen, so they were all waiting to celebrate with us, which was so great!
When did y’all get married? November 2, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 380
Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We did, for a couple reasons. We are an interfaith couple but had a Jewish wedding. In the Jewish religion, you sign a ketubah before the marriage ceremony, so once we decided to have a Jewish wedding, we knew we would be seeing each other beforehand. Our wedding was also in November, so we wouldn’t have gotten daylight pictures if we hadn’t seen each other before. Truly, seeing each other before turned out to be a real blessing. I was so much more relaxed because we got to ride a trolley to the temple together with our families and wedding party and hang out together before the ceremony. I completely understand why people choose not to, and it’s a personal choice, but for us, it worked out perfectly!
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. I have a very close friend from law school who is a classically trained singer. I wanted to walk down the aisle to something different, and I have always loved Alison Krauss’ song “When you Say Nothing at All.” Kaitlyn said she would sing it for me accompanied by the temple’s organ and a guitar player. I thought it sounded beautiful and was really unique. For our first dance, we danced to Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered.”
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. We actually had a cake bar! My mom had seen a picture in a wedding magazine and got the vision for not just one, but five cakes, and Jim Smeal executed it perfectly.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I did! My something borrowed was my earrings. My something blue was a sapphire stone on the pearl bracelet I wore. My something old was an old family Bible that is covered in white lace. Every woman in my family has signed it on their wedding day, so it was really special to put our names in it. My something new was my dress!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? Married life is great! Joseph and I are getting settled in our new home, and we are really enjoying life being able to spend more time together now that I’m done with law school.

Photographer: Elisabeth Millay / Videographer: Hart to Heart Media / Planner: Kristin Newman Designs / Ceremony Venue: Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim / Reception Venue and Catering: The Charleston Marriott / Florist: Gathering Floral and Event Design / Cake Bar Baker: Jim Smeal / Rentals: Synder Events / Band: Simply Irresistible / Bride’s Gown: “Champagne” by Monique Lhuillier / Paper Products: Oscar & Emma Designs / Calligraphy: Elizabeth Porcher Jones / Hair Stylist: Stuart Laurence / Makeup Artist: Anne Lauren Jolly / Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Pronovias / Men’s Attire: Grady Ervin

marissa Written with love by Marissa
  1. avatar Mel Gibbs reply

    This is such a big wedding! Congratulations!

  2. avatar Olivia Fischer reply

    Lovely and Gorgeous glittering wedding dress !! AWESOME Photography !!

  3. avatar Lisa reply

    This dress never gets old! Amy looks stunning in it!

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Oh my stars, we are so excited to share more of our beautiful V6 Texas shoot! After V5’s beloved Yellow Rose shoot, we were thrilled to bring this stellar team of Texas vendors together again to celebrate another classic Texan folk song–this time, the beloved “Deep in the Heart of Texas.” Stefanie Miles planned and styled the most beautiful setup in the middle of a North Texas wheat field, and every detail was captured to perfection by Ryan Ray. Unsurprisingly, the results were truly breathtaking!

Bows + Arrows created the most exquisite bouquets, using all different white blooms and the prettiest ribbon from FrouFrou Chic. We love how the flowers pop against our night sky-inspired color palette!

One of our top must-haves for this shoot was a cowboy groom. Blair certainly fit the bill in his handsome hat, and I’m sure y’all will agree, that lasso is the perfect finishing touch.

Oh, this dress! I can hardly wait to print the picture below for my bulletin board. There were audible cheers from the office when Marissa told us we had secured this sparkly Monique Lhuillier for our shoot!

One of our absolute favorite comments from SW readers so far has been that our V6 cover couple looks so in love. Well, friends, that’s because they are! We’re truly delighted to have a real married couple on our cover: our sweet friend (and BRV member!) Christina of Christina Leigh Events and her husband. Their love truly shines off the page and we think they represent our mission so beautifully.

We’re overjoyed with how the details of this shoot came together. From a gauzy backdrop with handpainted calligraphy to flower girl tutus made of 250+ yards of tulle, everything looks so stunning against the open landscape that is so typical of Texas.

Could this tablescape get any prettier? LOOT Vintage Rentals brought some of their incredible inventory all the way from Austin to be part of the shoot. We’re also smitten with the star garland!

We’ve featured some lovely pies in SW history, but these just may be some of the prettiest. Layered Bake Shop hit it out of the park with luscious blueberry and pecan pies, complete with dreamy star details. The sparkly “Just Married” shooting star cutout is a show stopper!

We are so smitten with the V6 cover and couldn’t be happier with how this shoot turned out! Be sure to check out our print edition for lots more! We’d love to know, what’s your favorite detail of this shoot?

Stefanie Miles is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
  1. avatar Nicole reply

    I am absolutely head over heels in love with this gown. It is incredible.

  2. avatar Ryan Ray reply

    So thankful for y’all! Absolutely LOVED being a part of this shoot! :)

  3. avatar Emily reply

    Oh my goodness, I love it all!!!! The color scheme, the beautiful signs, THAT DRESS, the cowboy hat. Such goodness in every picture.

  4. avatar Christina L. Frederick reply

    Happy tears. A lot of happy, happy tears. I am in love with this man so much and I can’t thank you ALL for letting us be such a special part of #SWV6! Ryan and Stefanie and truly talented at what they do and we were so blessed to be part of something so much bigger than ourselves, and so full of love! Deep, true, southern love! Congratulations on a fabulous issue. Every page is perfect! We can’t wait to celebrate with you this week!
    Big, big hugs! Christina

  5. avatar Kat reply

    One of my favorite shoots in SW history!!! Love it, y’all!!!

  6. avatar Mary reply

    LOVE IT ALL! I’m partial to Texas, but I love the Deep in the Heart of Texas painting! And that dress…drool. Can I be a bride again?

  7. avatar Stefanie Miles reply

    So very thankful, love you ladies and the story your magazine tells about love and marriage! Truly, such a joy to be a part, and alongside so many others I admire in this industry!

  8. avatar alicia rico reply

    what an honor to be a part of this shoot…..
    and an even bigger honor to be a part of the cover….
    and the greatest honor of all is to work with kind, amazing, talented friends like stef and ryan!
    LOVE Y’ALL!!!!!

  9. avatar Cheap Wedding Dresses reply

    The dress is so pretty.

  10. avatar Southern Weddings Magazine Feature » Layered Bake Shop reply

    […] and blessed to be included with such amazing vendors for an editorial in the newest issue! Click here to see the online feature and pick your copy up on newstands […]

  11. avatar Shannon Star reply

    So stunning! Everything about this feature is so captivating and dreamy. And that dress!! Stephanie and Ryan you are truly magical. Thank you so much for including me in something so amazing!

  12. avatar Dana reply

    i think this dress just made me cry

  13. avatar michelle reply

    this is my favorite wedding shoot EVER. it is completely perfect. even my boyfriend likes it! the brides dress is incredible. and i am dying over that stripe dress. any chance you can share a link? it needs to be in my closet asap.

  14. avatar Southern Weddings Weekly Round-Up | Southern Weddings reply

    […] up for our editorial posts was our stunning cover shoot, Deep in the Heart of Texas! We love every detail of this gorgeous shoot, inspired by the classic Texan folk […]

  15. avatar Alyssa Martinez reply

    love love love the sweet hanging canvases! and the couch the precious babies are playing on. absolutely beautiful!

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  19. avatar Chelsea reply

    I love the custom calligraphy banners in this post! Do you know where they’re from or what company they used to create them? Thanks!

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  23. avatar Daria reply

    My daughter is getting married deep in the Heart of the Hill Country. Where can I purchase the banner “The Stars at Night”

    • avatar Lisa reply

      Hi Daria! The banner was custom made for this shoot by Sending Heartstrings.

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    Those gorgeous, angelic flower girl dresses just melt my heart! How cute are they!! A-D-O-R-A-B-L-E. Where are they from?

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    […] Credits: Tablescape via Southern Weddings, photographed by Ryan Ray // Dresses viaStyle Me Pretty, photographed by Let’s Frolic […]

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While today’s lovely couple has been inseparable ever since they met, Lauren still didn’t catch a few of the more minor meaningful details Marshall included in his proposal (read below for the whole sweet story!). When it came to their big day, however, these two didn’t miss any opportunity to work in personal, thoughtful touches — both for each other (a fun cigar bar!), and for their guests. With the help of their planner, Katrina at Come Together Events, they created a day that was truly a reflection of not only their relationship, but their family and friends, as well: “throughout, we tried to think of small, personal ways to show everyone who came how much we appreciated them.” Love that Southern hospitality!

Big hugs to Cunningham Photo Artists for sharing this gorgeous, classic day with us!

Eek, I get so excited every time I see a monogram dress patch!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress.
 It was the first one I tried on! I had pretty concrete ideas about how I wanted my wedding dress to look before I tried anything on, which could have easily created a lot of problems. Lace dresses seemed to be very popular at the time we got engaged, and I’ve always thought lace was very romantic and classic; but I wanted something just a little more unexpected. I had fallen in love with the beaded bodice of a gown I’d seen while dress shopping with one of my best friends for her wedding a year or so before, but I didn’t care for the fabric of the skirt. When I opened the bridal magazine that my roommate gave me the day after Marshall and I got engaged and saw a beaded bodice, Chantilly lace, and silk organza all in one dress, I knew it was the one! I immediately called my mom and she ran out to find the magazine. I searched online for stores in my area that carried that designer, and of course, none did in their regular collections. One boutique, Hayden Olivia Bridal in Charlotte happened to be hosting a trunk show the following month. I called to see if the dress would be available to try on, and they were kind enough to add it to the show inventory. We set up the appointment; I tried it on, and didn’t look any further.

My “something old” was a necklace that my grandmother had given me a year or so before our wedding. It is so elegant that I hadn’t found an occasion to wear it, so the first time was in our wedding. My “something new” was a pair of diamond earrings that my dad surprised me with the month before our wedding. My “something borrowed” was a diamond bracelet from my grandmother. My “something blue” was a pair of porcelain blue birds of paradise that my mom carried in her bouquet when she and my dad got married.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? 
The moment the sanctuary doors opened. My dad and I had been standing behind them closed for what seemed like a long time, so the anticipation was mounting. I could hear that the music was leading up to our processional, and I tried to prepare myself. But when those doors finally opened, and I saw all of our family and friends there, spilling all the way to the back of the church I didn’t think we could fill, and Marshall at the end of the aisle. It took my breath away. I think I audibly gasped. I remember the church coordinator whispering quite loudly, “Walk!”

We did not do a “first look.” When it came to planning our wedding ceremony, we found that we both wanted it to be very traditional. For us, all of the anticipation of the walk down the aisle came with that. I wanted to be in my dress and walking down the aisle at the moment that I first saw Marshall on our wedding day. It’s a special memory for me. As far as the photography considerations behind a “first look,” we had a great compromise. We did an “after session.” Marshall put back on his tux. I had my hair and makeup done again, another bouquet made, and got to be a bride for another day. It was so nice to have an excuse to put that beautiful dress back on before it had to be preserved and put away! I would highly recommend it!

Describe your wedding flowers. 
Lots of white! I wanted an all-white wedding, and Marshall was all for it. We used a lot of different flowers to create texture and subtle contrast. Lynette Atienza of Charlotte’s The Bloom Room completely understood my vision and ran with it! She’s amazing! The bouquets were packed full of “fluffy” flowers like hydrangeas, dahlias, garden roses, and ranunculus. Some of that was carried through to the reception tables in lower arrangements, but our main idea for the flowers at the reception was that they be almost forest-like, an autumn interpretation of flowering branches. Lynette put together gorgeous tall arrangements with larkspur and delphinium to create a lengthy, branch-like look, as well as actual birch branches. It was breathtaking when we walked in! I think my very favorite part (besides my bouquet) was the entry piece, an overflowing mound of Phalaenopsis orchids. We had played around so many ideas for the entry table, but our wedding planner, Katrina Hutchins of Come+Together Events and Lynette kept saying that it could be better. They finally came up with this showstopper of an arrangement, and it was incredible!

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. 
The design was white icing with white pressed sugar flowers cascading down the cake. It coordinated perfectly with the flower arrangements and the pressed flower details on the menus, place cards, and escort cards. The cake itself was one layer of strawberry (Marshall’s favorite) and one layer of “chocolate decadence” (my favorite), so each guest could have a taste of both in one slice. It was iced in Italian meringue buttercream. Delicious!

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: 
Marshall would say the cigar bar. He likes to indulge in a cigar every now and then, so our wedding reception seemed like the perfect time to let him have his fill! Since he let me go crazy with flowers and all things white, something special for him was a must. My favorite detail of the ceremony, apart from getting married of course, was Communion. Ours was a religious ceremony, and we chose to have Communion be a part of it. As we sat at the front of the church, all of our family and friends who chose to participate filed down the aisle. It created a communal environment and gave Marshall and I the opportunity to really let it sink in just how many people had come to support us. My favorite detail of the reception was the pressed flowers on all of the paper products. There were literally flowers everywhere! I just couldn’t get enough! And the koozies!

Judging by Lauren’s hair, her and Marshall’s reception was a blast!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. 
We met the weekend before we both began our first year of law school. A group of fellow 1Ls were meeting up at a local watering hole. I tagged along with some new friends, and Marshall was the first person I met. He challenged me to a game of pool that did not go very well for either of us, but we hit it off! We went on our first date the following weekend and have been together ever since!

Tell us all about the proposal! 
Throughout the whole day, Marshall did the sweetest things, only they were completely lost on me at the time. I didn’t realize until that evening that he had been attempting to hit all of the milestones of our relationship all day long. For example, he insisted that we go to lunch at the place we had our first date. Only that restaurant was not my favorite, so I kept suggesting others. He finally ordered it to go and brought it to me, saying that he was just really in the mood for it that afternoon. Before dinner, he was, again, unusually adamant about getting drinks at the bar where we first met. I, again, unknowingly kept messing up his plans. After a quick drink outside at the bar he was so set on going to, we left the patio area through a back entrance that rerouted us through a small courtyard. He proposed there, in this hidden green space beside the place we first met. It was very sentimental and romantic. He did a great job!

When did y’all get married? 

How many friends, family, and loved ones attended your wedding? 

What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? 
I Corinthians 13 Colossians 3:14-17

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We chose Canon in D for the seating of the mothers and Grandmothers, Rigaudon for the bridesmaids, and Trumpet Voluntary in D Major for my walk down the aisle. For our recessional, we chose Allegro Maestoso from Handel’s Water Music Suite. We had many hymns play during our ceremony, like “Love Divine” and “All Loves Excelling for the Beauty of the Earth,” which was sung by our local children’s choir. It was magical.  Our first dance song was “La Vie en Rose” by Louis Armstrong. The father-daughter dance was “I Loved Her First” by Heartland, and the mother-son dance was “My Wish” by Rascal Flatts.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? 
When I think of the South, especially in the context of a huge party like a wedding, I think of hospitality. Throughout our planning process, we tried to think of small, personal ways to show everyone who came how much we appreciated them. We hand wrote thank you notes on all 230 parting gift boxes and made a point during dinner to go to every table as a couple and say hello to each person who took the time to celebrate with us.

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? 
Meeting each other’s expectations and making compromises. There is a lot of pressure on brides and grooms to do something new, unique, or “better” than the next couple. I found that I had expectations going into wedding planning that I didn’t even realize I had. We quickly found that we were so much happier and content planning our wedding when we stayed true to ourselves and prioritized.

What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? 
Lighting. It’s relatively inexpensive and accentuates all of those things, big and small, that you’ve planned and paid so much for.

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? 
Consider your family and your guests. When we first started planning, I naively thought this day was all about Marshall and me. Weddings are such a family affair; it’s a big day for a lot of people. So, I would encourage brides and grooms to take the time to consider how to make those most important to them feel loved and included in their big day. And for your guests, I highly, HIGHLY recommend taking the extra time to assign seating. It may be extra work, but it will make each guest feel welcome and included in your day. It achieves so many things: acknowledges that you’re aware the guest has made the effort to attend your wedding, expresses a level of appreciation for their effort in that you’ve planned specifically for them, gives them a “home base” for the night (everyone needs a place to set their purse), ensures that couples and friend groups won’t be split up, guarantees your mother and grandmother a prime spot at the reception (your grandmother will want a seat, and she’ll want it to be a good one), and no one wants to eat standing up (not even a young person).

What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? 
We’re enjoying settling into our new life in Charlotte. We’re fortunate to be close to family and friends and in a city that we both love. Married life is off to a very happy and content start for us.

marissa Written with love by Marissa
  1. avatar Bridget reply

    What a stunning classic wedding. Have you noticed tuxedos making a comeback recently for the men? It seems like all of a sudden, there is a shift back towards more formal elegance (which always looks fantastic!).

  2. avatar Emily reply

    Love their centerpieces, as well as that sweet photo of her with her dad!

  3. avatar Katrina Hutchins (come+together) reply

    Thank you SO much for the wonderful feature! I truly enjoyed planning this wedding with this amazing couple!

  4. avatar Featured: Southern Weddings » come+together events reply

    […] Thank you SO much to Southern Weddings for the beautiful feature from Lauren+Marshall’s wedding. I am so honored and thank you to my awesome vendor team! See the full feature HERE. […]

  5. avatar Cristin Lee reply

    Absolutely gorgeous — Party Reflections was thrilled to be on the vendor team of this classic wedding!

  6. avatar Drea Cunningham reply

    Thank you again for the wonderful feature! Lauren and Marshall have become so dear to us and we are thrilled for their happiness!

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