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Y’all, you’re not always going to agree with your beau when it comes to wedding planning (or in your marriage!)….and that’s okay! Communication and compromise are incredible tools to combat these little tangles. For today’s darling couple, choosing a venue might not have been a disagreement, but it did take a bit of time for Evan to fully understand Hannah’s venue preference. Hannah had always dreamed of getting married in the historic chapel on her boarding school campus, and while Evan may not have shared her vision at the beginning, it only took one visit to Saint Mary’s before he was on board, telling Hannah “I totally get how special this chapel is to you now, and I’m excited to share a memory with you here.” And share they did! These two lived out one of my very favorite pieces of wedding day advice: stick together! Hannah and Evan vowed their lives to each other on their wedding day, but also promised not leave one another’s sides the whole day after the ceremony, helping them to experience their special day together and share the same memories. BDK and I also used this simple technique, and I cannot support it more!

Thank you to Almond Leaf Studios for being on hand to capture this beautiful day!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I’m a decisive girl, but would much rather have five things to pick from than twenty. I went wedding dress shopping with my mom, my sister, and my maternal grandmother in Charlotte, where I grew up and these ladies live. We went to a great boutique downtown called Hayden Olivia and I ended up finding my dress that day! I walked in and told the Hayden Olivia girls that I was not a fan of lace…and then, lo and behold, I walked out with a full lace dress. The way that I knew I had “the dress” was that when I put it on, I felt completely confident and like myself.

I went to an all-girls high school in Raleigh, North Carolina for boarding school and have always dreamed of getting married in the historic chapel on campus. My sweet groom was so patient through the whole planning process, and when I described how special Saint Mary’s is to me, he was on board with being married there. When Evan finally visited the chapel on one of our planning trips to Raleigh, he hugged me and whispered “I totally get how special this chapel is to you now, and I’m excited to share a memory with you here.” Saint Mary’s agreed to let us have our reception on campus too, since the girls were out for summer break. It ended up being perfect and so convenient for us, our bridal party, and our guests!

What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Unbeknownst to us, our officiant asked our parents and grandparents to write a short piece of marriage advice for us, which she read during her homily. It was so special and completely a surprise!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? It’s hard to pinpoint what was specifically “Southern” about our wedding because Southern is just who we are, but there are a few things that stand out. We served ham biscuit and chicken and waffles passed hors d’oeuvres with mojitos and sangria during cocktail hour. Our cocktail hour entertainment was a bluegrass trio, which is pretty darn Southern. We served Jack Daniels and craft beers from Tennessee and North Carolina, each of our home states, during the evening. The grandmothers and mothers wore corsages. Our reception entertainment was a movin’ and shakin’ soul band out of Atlanta called Evolution Party Band.

Evan and I vowed not to leave one another’s sides the whole day after the ceremony, and that was the best decision we made that day. It meant that all of the memories that we made on our wedding day were made together and in the same moment. A wise man gave me the advice that when it’s all said and done, this day is about your newly declared obligations to your spouse and your spouse’s to you. Greet your guests, have fun with them, but don’t forget to make all of the memories together with your new spouse. That’s the most important person on your wedding day and for the rest of your life.

We wanted our whole day to be reflective of us, so I chose wedding flowers that felt very natural and organic. We used lots of greens, whites, and some blush colors in loose arrangements. Gregg of Brides & Bouquets even incorporated some fresh herbs and blueberries into the arrangements, which was way cool!

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? I think the most important thing to think about is that you’re not planning a wedding–you’re planning a marriage. The dress and frills are great and all, but at the end of the wedding day, you should really be thinking about the fact that you entered the ceremony as individuals and left the ceremony a new family. That happens in a mere matter of minutes and that’s pretty darn amazing. It’s really important not to lose sight of that. Also, if you have room in your budget, hire a wedding planner! Even if just for the day, it’s nice to have someone be “in charge” so you, your mama, and your bridal party can just enjoy the wedding.

Evan gave me my (now our) dog, Honeybee, in college. My parents weren’t totally on board with me having a dog in college, but my dad is a beekeeper and I decided that naming the dog “Bee” would surely win my parents over. Cha-ching, it worked! The honeybee kind of became a theme at our wedding, thanks to our dog being named Bee, the outdoorsy feel of the wedding, and my dad’s honey from his latest harvest being our favors. We decided that having a cake that looked like a beehive would be a neat way to tie everything together. It looked amazing and tasted even better! We had one tier of lemon, one tier of almond, and one tier of confetti cake. We cut into the confetti cake tier–so fun!

Don’t miss their wedding film by Heart Stone Films below!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Evan and I met during our freshman year of college at the University of Tennessee. Mutual friends organized a backpacking trip in the Smoky Mountains and invited both of us along. After a weekend of camping, hiking, no showering, and sleeping on the ground, Evan still wanted to take me on a date! We returned from our backpacking trip on Sunday and Evan took me on our first date on Monday evening. Seven years together passed before our wedding day! To this day, being outside together is still our favorite pastime.
Tell us all about the proposal! After college, Evan and I both decided to pursue our dreams together, but apart. He worked on a boat in the Bahamas and I worked in an art gallery in London. To make things even more convenient, we were accepted to graduate schools in different states. When he started dental school in Memphis Tennessee, I started graduate school for art education in the mountains of North Carolina…a fun eight-hour drive apart! Evan asked my dad (and siblings) for their blessing over Christmas break of 2013, knowing that being all the way in Memphis meant that he might not see my family again for a long time! Nine months later (the secret nearly killed my sister), Evan flew out to Western North Carolina to visit me for a weekend in October 2014. We decided to go for a hike with my dog to enjoy the perfect fall weather and take in the changing leaves. We got to our summit spot on the hike and sat for a little picnic. After we ate lunch, Evan popped the question. I did not see it coming and was totally surprised! The best things about the proposal were that it was reminiscent of the way that we met, and we got to enjoy the moment all to ourselves for a few hours as we hiked back down the mountain!
When did y’all get married? June 20, 2015, nine months after the proposal
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? Around 200
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? No first looks. We decided to keep it traditional, and the tears in our eyes when we saw each other made the wait totally worth it.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We had a guitarist and a violinist as our ceremony musicians. They played “What a Wonderful World” during the seating of the mothers and grandmothers, “Here Comes the Sun” during the bridesmaid processional, “Water is Wide” when my dad and I walked down the aisle, and “Oh Happy Day” when we left the chapel. We had a bluegrass trio to entertain during the cocktail hour and an larger band during our reception.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! Sure did. I borrowed my mom’s veil, had my new monogram stitched into my dress in blue thread (and my bridesmaids wore blue!), the diamond in my ring was Evan’s grandmother’s, and my dress was new. I also wore a handmade lace garter that has been worn by women on my mother’s side of the family for several generations. We even remembered to rub a sixpence in my shoe before the ceremony, another family tradition, for good luck!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We will be in Memphis until Evan finishes up dental school, so I’ll be painting and teaching, and then who knows. To infinity and beyond!

Photographer: Almond Leaf Studios | Videographer: Heart Stone Films | Planner: Orangerie Events | Ceremony Venue: The Chapel at Saint Mary’s School | Reception Venue: Saint Mary’s School | Florist: Brides & Bouquets | Wedding Cake: Sugar Euphoria | Dessert Baker: Sweet Water Ices | Caterer: Belle’s Catering | Rentals: Party Reflections and Paisley and Jade | Lighting: Get Lit | Band: Evolution Party Band of East Coast Entertainment | Special Details: One and Only Paper | Paper Products: Little House Shoppe | Bride’s Gown: Modern Trousseau | Bridal Salon: Hayden Olivia | Hair Stylist: Studio Etica | Makeup Artist: Makeup for Your Day | Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Donna Morgan | Menswear: Jos. A. Bank | On-site Painting: Ben Keys of Wed on Canvas

Heart Stone Films, Orangerie Events, and Sugar Euphoria are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Paisley & Jade reply

    We absolutely love this wedding! The Orangerie styling of our chalkboard bar is gorgeous and our London Doors as a popcorn bar?! Just awesome. Thanks so much for featuring Hannah and Evan’s beautiful day!

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We’re just tickled to get to introduce y’all to a new set of Blue Ribbon Vendors each month, because we know any one of them would be a joy to you if you choose to work together! We’re using a few of our favorite BRV interview questions to help you get to know them. Click through to their listings to find out more about them and see all of our wonderful vendors!

Name: Sarah Joelle Furr, Sarah Joelle
Location/Coverage: Tennessee, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida. Available worldwide.
Dream travel destination: Traveling makes my heart sing! Some of the places on the top of my list are Capri, the Amalfi Coast, Provence, and Santorini.

Name: Cassie Thibeaux, Southern Fete
Where you call home: Anywhere there’s oak trees and moss, generous hospitality, and a little Southern charm!
How I got into weddings: For as long as I can remember, I dreamed and planned my perfect wedding (and practiced walking down the aisle with a bath towel as a train… oh, you did that too?). When my husband and I moved to Lafayette from Baton Rouge after our dream wedding in 2012, I knew it was time for a career change. I craved a creative outlet that highlighted my passion for meticulous organization and immersed me in fast-paced situations that were never the same. I’ve never looked back.

Name: Stephanie Rachmeler, Stephanie’s Paper Shop
Where you call home: Atlanta, GA
Favorite thing about weddings in the South? Southern weddings have a charm unlike any other I’ve seen. They feel homey and inviting. That’s not to say they’re all informal, but rather, they all carry with them the Southern hospitality for which our region is known. You feel like you’re part of one big family, and at the end of the night, you’re a little tired, a little too full, and you’ve had a ball.

Name: Randi Smith, Sugar Euphoria
Where you call home: Raleigh, NC
How I got into weddings: You know the saying “born with a silver spoon in one’s mouth?” I’m convinced that I was born with a spatula and a whisk, since I come from a long line of bakers. However, I didn’t venture into the world of weddings until my husband encouraged me to sign up for a wedding expo. I’ve loved every minute of being a cake designer, from the consultations with sweet brides to the deliveries.

Name: Rachel Bridgwood and Lauren Anderson, Sweet Root Village
Where you call home: Alexandria, VA
Favorite part of a wedding day? Seeing everything come together after months of hard work! Aaaaand also putting flowers on the cake. We like cake.

Name: Nate and Jaclyn Kaiser, The Image is Found
Location/Coverage: Nashville/Worldwide
Things you’d write home to your Momma about: We were chosen as one of American Photo’s Top Ten Photographers.

Name: The Market at Grelen
Where you call home: Somerset, VA
Favorite thing about weddings in the South? Being from California, I just LOVE the “Southern charm” family and friends bring to every wedding in the South. I love seeing guests get all gussied up, whether it’s a black tie affair or a seersucker suit. I also love it when couples get creative with their signature cocktails and put a fun twist on a Southern classic.

Name: Lisa Formaro, The Sweet Trend
Where you call home: Cumming, GA
Best piece of advice you can give to brides and grooms? Fill the day with what is most important to you and your groom. You will love looking around and seeing all the special touches you took the time to add to your day and keep in your memories. It is just the beginning of a beautiful journey together.

Name: Virgil Bunao
Where you call home: Charleston, SC
Favorite part of a wedding day? Hmmm, the whole day. If I had to choose, I would say 15 or so minutes before the ceremony, when most people are scrambling, to about when the bride walks down the aisle. There tends to be A LOT of great moments during that time that I love capturing.

Name: Sara Fields, Wedding Connections
Where you call home: Asheville, NC
Best piece of advice you can give to brides and grooms? Remember that love is the most important detail of any wedding day.

Check out all of our favorite vendors in the Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory! I also wanted to mention that we’re working particularly hard to expand some of our areas of slim pickings – namely, Kentucky, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and West Virginia. If you would like to recommend someone (or nominate yourself!) for any of these states, please email emily at southernweddings.com!

emily Written with love by Emily
2 Comments
  1. avatar Sarah Joelle reply

    Thank you so much for the warm welcome and the shout out!!! xoxo

  2. avatar Feature: Southern Weddings Blue Ribbon Vendor Intruduction » Sweet Root Village Blog reply

    […] So thrilled to be a Blue Ribbon Vendor for Southern Weddings and grateful for their introduction post that included us on their blog! […]

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The week of your wedding, chances are, you probably won’t want to worry about much other than the main event. While this may make the idea of throwing a bridesmaid luncheon less than appealing, with a little bit of forethought and a few easy tricks up your sleeves, a bridesmaid luncheon can become one of the wedding week memories you’ll cherish most. It’s the perfect opportunity to step away from last minute to-dos and focus on being grateful for the way your bridesmaids have loved and supported you, and since graciousness is always a do in our book, we teamed up with Freixenet to share some of our best tips for throwing a sweet and stress-free celebration!

1. Choose a few special details: You don’t need to go all out for this more low-key celebration–instead, choose a color scheme and stick to a handful of thoughtfully selected decor pieces and accents. A spring-inspired floral arrangement, striking black mini bottles of Freixenet, and a mix of pastel striped straws were all we needed on our bar cart to make this luncheon feel like an extra special occasion.

2. Get everyone involved: The bridesmaid luncheon is the perfect time to do a cake pull! Originating in the Victorian era and most popular in New Orleans, this tradition has become widespread across the South, and it is one of our very favorites. Silver charms attached to ribbons are placed under the cake, and the charm each gal pulls reveals her “fortune,” for things like a life of adventure, good luck, or even being the next to tie the knot!

3. Give a gift: Take a little bit of pressure off of the rehearsal dinner and wedding morning by giving your bridesmaids their gifts at the luncheon, where they’ll have time to open and enjoy whatever you’ve selected to thank them. Along with fun surprises, we love this idea of including a few practical items as well, to help get them through the wedding day. This cute gift box included a mini bottle of Freixenet, healthy snacks, a water bottle, bobby pins, a nail file, Band Aids, and a cocktail ring!

We would love to know, are you throwing a bridesmaid luncheon before your wedding? What did you include to make it special?

P.S. Looking for more inspiration? Take a peek at the Freixenet wedding board on Pinterest, and follow along with the hashtag #AllLoveSparkles on Instagram and Twitter!

Photography: Emily March Photography / Venue: The Merrimon-Wynne / Florals: Eclectic Sage / Cake: Sugar Euphoria

Sugar Euphoria is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory. This post is brought to you by Freixenet – thanks for your support of the brands that make Southern Weddings possible!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Freixenet. The opinions and text are mine.

lisa Written with love by Lisa
5 Comments
  1. avatar Southern Weddings Spring Inspiration » Emily March Photography | International Destination Wedding Photographer reply

    […] can see more from this fun shoot and tips for throwing a bridesmaid luncheon over on Southern Weddings […]

  2. avatar Dana reply

    darling!!

  3. avatar Elizabeth reply

    I am definitely throwing a bridesmaid luncheon! Many people think I shouldn’t throw it myself and that it should be thrown in honor of my bridesmaids and me by a cousin or family friend. What is the etiquette here?

    • avatar Lisa reply

      Hi Elizabeth! Traditionally, a bridesmaid luncheon is hosted by the bride as a sweet way to thank her bridesmaids for their love and support, so you can certainly host it yourself :)

  4. avatar May Goals » Emily March Photography | International Destination Wedding Photographer reply

    […] and bell peppers actually show some fruit. I was also really excited to see a recent shoot I did on Southern Weddings – these gals are so fun to work with! And I spent a week in sunny, beautiful Charleston with […]

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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