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This has been the year of wedding dresses for me–I shopped for and chose my own wedding dress, Emily and I had a fabulous time admiring show after show at Bridal Market, and we featured so many seriously stylish brides here on Southern Weddings. To kick off our annual look back at the year, here are ten of the most memorable bridal styles of 2014. With this much goodness in mind, I can hardly wait to see what brides are wearing next year!

Nolan in “Eloquence” by Claire Pettibone, by Ashleigh Jayne

Melody in “Gobi” by Watters, by Courtney Dox

Rosa in “The Boulevard” by Lela Rose, by Gracie Blue

Emily in “Gigi” by Ian Stuart, by Haley Sheffield

Lauren in “3251” by Lazaro with custom Chic Parisien bolero, by Whitebox Photo

Katie in “9100” by Allure, by Weddings by Christopher & Nancy

Meredith in Monique Lhuillier, by Lauren Kinsey

Toree in “Elegant Dream” by Olia Zavozina with her mother’s lace bolero, by Mary Rosenbaum

Emily in “Julianna” by Christos, by Graham Terhune

Samantha in “VW351157″ by White by Vera Wang, by Perry Vaile

Stay tuned for our most memorable bouquets, menswear, bridesmaid styles, moments, details and decor, sweets, and love stories of 2014, coming up next week!

Courtney Dox, Gracie Blue, Graham Terhune, Perry Vaile, and Whitebox Photo are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Kyla Fetzner reply

    There were so many beautiful styles this year! Meredith’s Monique Lhuillier is my favorite.

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Katie and Mark’s story has my “hopeful romantic” (as Lara calls it) heart skipping a beat! After being set up by Katie’s friend, who Mark met at a party he almost skipped, they had a wonderfully successful first date, and four years later, Mark proposed while on a trip to Paris. With a story like that, it was only fitting that their wedding exemplified the sweet romance of their love story, combined with the down-home Southern feel Katie grew up with. Simply Bloom Photography did a beautiful job capturing the start of their next chapter!

P.S. Recognize Katie’s stunning dress? We used it in our Berry Bliss shoot! We also loved working with the florist behind these beautiful blooms, Lindsay Coletta, on Fine Feathered Fete. As much as we love our gorgeous editorials, it is even more fun to see some of the elements really come to life in real weddings!

Mark proposed on a trip to Paris in October 2012. We were in the Notre Dame Cathedral and it was absolutely beautiful. We both sat in front of the Pieta and said a prayer, and then he pulled out the ring and said, “Mary Kath, I wanted to ask you, in front of God, if you would spend the rest of your life with me?” I was so amazed by the beautiful ring and the feeling of the moment, I forgot to answer! It was only after he asked if I needed time that I said “Yes please! Yes please! I want to marry you!” It was one of the most beautiful, perfect moments of my life.

Describe your wedding flowers. I wanted my wedding colors to be neutral with pops of color. Since we were outdoors, I didn’t want to compete with the setting and nature. Lindsey Coletta was brilliant. The beautiful draping effect of the bouquets were my favorite detail. I had no idea what the flowers would look like and I was beyond thrilled with the results. They added so much to the environment and brought in a soft, ethereal, vintage feel that was so romantic!

After trying on dresses everywhere from Los Angeles to Orange County, I finally found a beautiful dress right down the street from the hotel I work at in Beverly Hills. When I went in to show my maid of honor a dress, I saw that they had a few new dresses for a Hayley Paige trunk show they were having over the weekend. My bridesmaid and I were on either side of the dress rack and pulled my dress out at the exact same time. As soon as I tried it on, I knew it was “my” dress! It was the most stunning gown I had ever put on and it made me feel beautiful!

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We decided to not write our own vows. I really wanted to stay present with Mark in that moment, rather than in my head, hoping I was getting the words right. I loved the words of our hand fasting ceremony. My husband is Irish, so we wanted to honor his heritage by having our hands tied together with a Celtic woven rope from Kerry County, Ireland. The prayer talks about how our hands will be the same hands we hold our children with, build a life together with, and hold one another with, and in many years, though withered and aged, will still be reaching out for one another. It was so beautiful and meaningful for us.

Living in L.A. has made me pretty homesick for my roots. We knew almost immediately that we wanted a down-home Southern wedding. After five days of driving around Georgia with my wedding planner and seeing different sites, I was almost in a panic. Mark came down for the weekend and we went to go check out a farm in Madison called the Farm House Inn at Hundred Acre Farm. As soon as we drove up, a collie came to greet us, and we immediately knew we had found the place!

What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We did quite a bit of DIY. I did a lot of the signage, as well as collected some of the vintage decor. We were not extravagant on the linens; for us, it was just about enhancing what was already there. Nature speaks for itself, and boy, our venue was phenomenal!

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. My cake was pretty simple, but delicious! A small bakery near my home made a three-tiered buttercream cake that was decorated by my floral designer. It was all gone by the end of the wedding, so I think it was a hit!

Our first dance song was to “Passenger Seat” by Death Cab for Cutie. We heard it at the first concert we went to together and it was so moving and beautiful. It has been our favorite song throughout our relationship and just reminds me of us. We had a variety of music played throughout the reception, and our band was amazing! They came from North Carolina and played a ton of Southern rock and country–best dancing ever!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Mark decided last minute to go to a Christmas party that my best friend and her husband were attending. Her husband had been friends with Mark for years, but when my friend met him, she insisted on setting him up with me. He emailed me and we met for coffee. When he walked me to the car, he hugged me and said, “Well… I love you.” I laughed so hard, and said “Okay!” and the rest is history. For our fourth anniversary, he framed our first email, so now I see it every day. Mark gave a speech at our wedding saying he hadn’t planned on going to that party, but decided “Why not?” Every important moment happens in seconds and inches!
When did y’all get married? October 5, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 80
Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We did not do a first look. I wanted Mark to see me for the first time as I walked down the aisle and I’m glad that’s what we did–it felt more traditional that way.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: One of my favorite details was an old ladder that had vintage pictures attached to it. All of the pictures were of members of Mark’s family and my own who had passed on. I even have a picture from the early 1900s! Having all of that history on display to honor those who came before us was very meaningful. I am making an album that we will pass along to our children someday.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Everything about my wedding was Southern–just the way I wanted it. Getting married under an oak tree with a tire swing was so romantic, and it was my ultimate dream to have a Southern reception under the stars, complete with string lights and good Southern music! The menu was also extremely Southern–braised short ribs, parmesan fried chicken, fried green tomatoes, collard greens, and sweet tea, of course! The beer was all local Georgia beer from Sweetwater Brewery in Atlanta and Terrapin in Athens, which was about 20 minutes away.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Many details and vendors changed at the last minute. We had to get a new officiant a week before the wedding because the one we had originally booked was no where to be found. The videographer cancelled a couple of weeks before as well, but in the end, everything worked out just perfectly. Truly better than I had expected!
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? I fell in love with Simply Bloom Photography before I even knew where I was getting married. Being able to have them shoot my wedding was a dream come true. Also, A Divine Event Catering was phenomenal–people could not stop talking about the delicious food!
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? The laughter during the ceremony! My husband and I always laugh together, and it is one of the best things about our relationship. A fly kept landing on Mark’s face while our hands were bound, and it wouldn’t go away! I kept blowing at his face to make it fly away, but it kept coming back. We couldn’t stop laughing! I hope we laugh like that forever.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Take a deep breath and realize that it will be beautiful and wonderful, no matter what. If all of the details aren’t exactly the way you want them, it’s okay. Also, things are most likely going to change at some point during the planning process. People will get sick, vendors may cancel, and it’s best to just ride the wave. One of my bridesmaids told me right before the wedding to take in every moment. It is going to go by fast, so stay present and enjoy it!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We have quite a bit going on, so our focus for this year is spending quality time together. It can be difficult with our opposite schedules, but it is important. Time can go by so quickly if you let it. We are enjoying our first year of marriage, our three dogs, and our little house.

Photographer: Simply Bloom Photography / Planner: Marisa Negri for Chancey Charm / Venue: The Farmhouse Inn At Hundred Acre Farm / Florist: Lindsay Coletta / Cake Baker: Rhodes Bakery / Caterer: A Divine Event / Rentals: CRUSH Event Rentals / Band: The Several Devils Band / Bride’s Gown: “Guindon” by Hayley Paige / Bride’s Jewelry: XIV Karats Ltd. / Hair Stylist: Lorenzo Andarza / Bride’s Shoes: Boot Star / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Joanna August / Men’s Attire: The Modern Gent

lisa Written with love by Lisa
5 Comments
  1. avatar Stephanie reply

    The flowers in this wedding are unreal!! I love the colors and textures used – what a stunning Southern wedding with a sweet love story!

  2. avatar Judene McCalla reply

    I’m so in love with Southern charm theme weddings and this is no exception. Love the decorated door. Every detail stands out.

    P.S. Lisa, you’re not alone. I’m a hopeless romantic as well.

  3. avatar Rachel reply

    I love the traditional wedding. You can tell from the officiant

  4. avatar Occasions In Print reply

    I am so in love with this wedding! Just gorgeous!

  5. avatar Christina Charlton reply

    We loved styling this pretty wedding at Boho! http://www.loveboho.com

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It’s easy to get stuck in the rut of thinking all Southern weddings are set in rolling countryside or on bucolic farms. After all, we feature a lot of lovely outdoor weddings! But I think some of our best features are actually the ones in cities and indoor spaces, because, once the natural environment is stripped away, we’re left with what really makes a wedding Southern — a focus on graciousness, hospitality, delicious food, tradition, and family. And that? Emily and Joe have it in spades. (Plus, their venue happens to be gorgeous, too!) Hugs to the very talented Blue Ribbon Vendor Haley Sheffield for sharing this Atlanta beauty with us!

Yes, Emily’s gown is stunning! Couldn’t love the bow or stripes more.

The first boutique that I visited was La Raine’s Bridal in Virginia Highlands, as a surprise for my best friend. She had been dying to go dress shopping with me since the moment I got engaged. The next weekend, I invited my mother, future mother-in-law, and aunts down to Atlanta for Mother’s Day. During their stay, we went shopping for wedding dresses at a few different local shops where I had made appointments. Even though I found some pretty gowns, there were none that compared to one of the Ian Stuart designs that I had seen the week before. Adamant that my moms and aunts could not leave without laying eyes on my dream dress, I frantically dialed La Raines in hopes that I could come in that day. Despite being slammed with appointments, they were able to fit me in to try on one dress!

Before I had a wedding date, venue, dress, or vendor, I had my somethings. Joe proposed at the end of October 2011, and other than my family, I kept it a secret for nearly a month. When I returned home for Thanksgiving, my best friend planned an engagement party for me and four of my closest childhood friends. Before my engagement ring was revealed, each girl drew a small card which had one of the following words written on it: “old”, “new”, “borrowed” or “blue.” Then they were handed an envelope which read their name and “will you be my something…” with a space to insert their drawn slip of paper. Inside was a note for each of them to read. And finally, I slipped on my ring. I am so blessed to have them in my life and because they are already so special to me it made perfect sense to give them a special and meaningful role on our wedding day.

We had planned a first look session with our photographer prior to our guests arriving, and in all of the morning chaos, I completely missed when she announced that she would let me know when to emerge. Just two steps out the door, I caught a glimpse of Joe. In a panic, I stepped backward, almost completely trampling over the train on my dress. Luckily, my bridesmaids were there to pick up the pieces before I fell apart. When I finally made it up the steps to my soon-to-be husband and turned him around, all of my nerves vanished and the tone was set for the rest of the evening. This was it… our wedding day!

Joe and I had gotten into a disagreement early on in the planning process about who should be in “the wedding party”.. a silly debate over friends or family. We reached a moment of clarity once a song came on through the car speakers, which we have since referred to as “our song,” since it seemed to make the world around us stop and remind us that we were in this together, and no matter what we decided on, it would be okay! We had the song, “Drowning” by Armin Van Buuren arranged by a conductor in affiliation with the Atlanta Philharmonic Orchestra. It was played by a string quartet slowly during the bridal processional, and then sped up and played for a second time during the recessional for Joe and I to walk to together as husband and wife.

With our save the dates, we asked all of our close friends and family to send us a picture from each of their weddings. Joe and I enjoyed hearing all of the love stories from our guests and seeing the excitement in their faces as they began their marriages through all of the 30+ wedding day pictures that were sent to us to display at our reception.

Describe your vision for your wedding. I based the colors and feel off of the venue. Being an interior designer, I even matched up the colors using a Benjamin Moore paint deck! Overall, the scheme was light and dreamy to contrast the bold, industrial presence surrounding the courtyard. Against the brick red railings and hard concrete slabs, all of the colors remained soft, pulling more from the sweet Southern charm of JCT Kitchen.

What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? My photographer, Haley Sheffield. When I came across Haley’s site and browsed through her blog, I was immediately drawn to the style and quality of her work, but it wasn’t until Joe and I met with her in person that I knew we had had found the right girl for the job. Since then, she has exceeded all of our expectations and gone above and beyond simply doing her job. She kept me in mind when she came across other vendors who seemed to fit my vision and style, as well as encouraged my creativity and offered advice in areas of planning where I had little experience. She is way more than a photographer–she is an inspirer, a planner, an artist, a genuine friend, and a vendor I was thrilled to have as part of our wedding day. I hope to continue to work with her in the future as Joe and I build our lives together.

When did y’all get married? Sunday, October 13, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? Just under 100 guests
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Due to Joe’s love of electronic music, I surprised him about a month before the wedding with DJ lessons. With the help of our hired DJ, Mike Zarin of Zarin Entertainment Group, Joe compiled his own mix and revealed his talents during the reception. This turned out to be a huge hit for our guests, many of whom gathered into the courtyard to cheer him on, and even managed to get him back up for an encore. Lastly, our DJ played “Save the Last Dance for Me” as the last dance of the night, which I had reserved for my father and I. We had danced to the song together at my cousin’s wedding a couple years prior, and it held a special place in my heart ever since, so I could not resist the chance to include it in the evening. It meant so much to me to share a dance at the very end of the reception with my dad.
Describe your wedding flowers. Amy Osaba arranged beautiful centerpieces using bud vases and a mixture of stands and vessels, as well as bouquets, boutonnieres and blooms for the bridal party. She used various types of flowers, including peonies, English garden roses, ranunculus, anemones, etc. in a palette of soft muted colors with pops of blush pink, greens, and peachy salmon. She also made little flower crowns, which were a huge hit by the end of the night, as they were worn by myself, my bridesmaids, and even a few of our wedding guests.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? My biggest challenge was asking for help and coming to the realization that I could not singlehandedly plan our wedding. There were so many moving parts that in the end may not have come together as seamlessly without the assistance of friends, family, and a handful of incredible vendors.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? One of our most memorable moments was at the ceremony, when we turned to face all of our guests who had traveled from numerous places to share in our day. There was such a rush at that moment–almost like being in a dream. While staring into Joe’s eyes, exchanging vows and sharing our first kiss as husband and wife, I felt as though we were in our own little world. When we turned around to go back down the aisle, I realized then that we were not alone, and came face to face with all of the people we love most.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? My advice to anyone currently planning a wedding is to enjoy it, and if at any point in time, it is not fun anymore, reach out for assistance.

Photographer: Haley Sheffield / Venue and Catering: JCT Kitchen + Bar / Flowers & Decor: Amy Osaba / Cakes: HHDesserts / Rentals: Bash Factory / DJ: Zarin Entertainment Group / Wedding Dress: Ian Stuart / Bridal Salon: La Raine’s Bridal / Bride’s Shoes: Badgely Mischka / Paper Products: The bride / Hair and Makeup: Christy Hubbard of James Madison Hair / Bridesmaid Dresses: Asos, Anthropologie, David’s Bridal, J.Crew, BHLDN, Adrianna Pappel / Groom’s Attire: Zara / Ties: The Tie Bar

Haley Sheffield is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

emily Written with love by Emily
15 Comments
  1. avatar Lisa reply

    Oh my goodness, I love everything about this wedding! Their style, the venue, the FLOWERS–just gorgeous!

  2. avatar Stephanie reply

    This wedding just exudes genuine love!! The flowers and her striped/bow dress are simply perfection, too!

  3. avatar Jeremy Harwell reply

    Such a beautiful wedding! Amy and Haley are the best!

  4. avatar Krisstin | On the Go Bride reply

    Oh my her gown is stunning!

  5. avatar FEATURED | JOE & EMILY on SOUTHERN WEDDINGS » Haley Sheffield | Fine Art Photography reply

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  6. avatar Haley Sheffield reply

    Thank you so much. Honored to be on Southern Weddings alongside so many talented vendors!

  7. avatar Amanda {Planning It All} reply

    I love all of the family portraits!

  8. avatar Kat reply

    I just LOVE her dress, her bouquet & her sweet story for her something old, new, borrowed & blue!!! SO unique & fun!

  9. avatar Madelynne Moulton reply

    I love everything about this. One of my favorite restaurants in Atlanta and an amazing florist and photographer! That dress is just amazing too! Thank you for showing everyone how perfect a city wedding can be in Atlanta!

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