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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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When it comes to mixing decor genres, I believe Southern and nautical make the perfect pair! Throwing some British inspiration into the mix could have made it more than interesting, but for Heather and Eric, with the help of their planner and florist, Crystal at Southern Posies, incorporating all the different strands of their heritage came together in an absolutely lovely day! I’m officially obsessed with the oyster shell table runner and the story behind Heather’s single magnolia bloom bouquet (be sure to read below)!

We’re sending bug hugs all the way to Austin to Mrs. Caroline Joy for capturing this pretty day!

My something borrowed was my late grandfather’s tie pin that my grandmother lent me; my grandfather was the beloved patriarch of our entire family, and we lost him just a few years ago, so I just had to have him there with us somehow. My something blue was an evil eye charm that a stranger pinned on me when I was a baby–he told my parents that “I would need it,” as they are supposed to protect the wearer from evil thoughts. My something old was my antique sapphire ring that my parents found when we lived in England. My something new turned out to be a solitaire teardrop sapphire necklace that Eric gave me on our wedding day. I also had a sixpence in my shoe that my brother’s best friend brought me over from England when he came for the wedding to surprise my brother!

The décor was an odd mix of Southern, nautical, and a little British (my family and I lived in England when I was in high school). My planner and florist, Crystal, and I picked out soft blooms in cream and blush to complement everything, and anemones, succulents, and dusty miller really brought out the nautical elements. After Crystal and I had designed a beautiful bridal bouquet, Eric and I were having a hard day with a difficult, very personal family issue. Driving into my neighborhood, I saw that the magnolia trees were in bloom, and seeing them cheered me up, so I asked Eric to stop so I could pick one. I’ve always loved magnolias, so I apologized to Crystal and asked her to change my bouquet–I carried a single magnolia bloom, and Eric’s boutonniere was a magnolia seed.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did not write our own vows, going with tradition. We did write promise notes to each other though, and our favorite promises were to never stop working on our marriage and to always speak kindly to each other, no matter what. That’s a promise we live by now.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I made an appointment at Ivory and White in Birmingham and showed my consultant, Molly, several pictures of dresses. She laughed and told me that all my pictures were of the same dress, and she had it in the store! I tried it on and just loved it. My momma, however, really didn’t like it. Even though it made me sad that my mom wasn’t in love with it like I was, I just didn’t see another dress I liked. We found out the designer was having a trunk show at the store in a few months, so we waited until then to purchase the dress. The day my mom, my mother-in-law, and I went to buy the dress, I tried on lots of trunk show dresses, just for fun. My mom really liked one of them, and when I put it on, I realized it had everything the first dress had, and more. The only thing this dress didn’t have was a train, but Molly told me the designer could add a train to the dress. It was perfect!

Short of the British pub table outside the church, I am not sure what wasn’t Southern about our wedding. All of the food was Southern–sweet potato fries, oysters, green beans, fried chicken, prime rib, mashed potatoes, cornbread, collards, and chicken tenders and mac and cheese for the kids. The pound cake and red velvet cake are both Southern favorites. A lot of the details included seersucker and grosgrain. We included our love for Auburn–guests signed a framed and matted print from Auburn that says “from family grows tradition,” and I had a garter from Tiger Rags. We are the fourth generation in my family to be married in June. My favorite Southern details were the hand-sewn heirloom dresses we gave to the bell ringers, because they turned out to be the prettiest ones I have ever seen. And of course, our favorite Southern tradition was our receiving line.

I really love classical music, and being a ballet dancer, visualizing things to classical music comes easily to me. When I listened to the wedding pas de deux from The Sleeping Beauty, I could just see all of those walks up and down the aisle. The music is so, so beautiful and romantic and just lent itself perfectly to our wedding.

When we told Ms. Rose Pollman, the wedding cake designer at the Staple bakery in Mobile, that we wanted a traditionally decorated cake, she was over the moon. Too funny! She made the most delicious cream cheese pound cake that we served with strawberries.Eric’s groom cake was red velvet, and the cake topper on it held special significance to us. On a road trip, we passed two horses on opposite sides of a fence that were nuzzling necks as close as they could get. We just knew they loved each other! The nuzzling birds now always remind us of those horses and to love each other, no matter what fence is in the way.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. The summer after my junior year at Auburn University, a friend invited me to go downtown one night. There, I met all of his friends, including Eric. We were instantly attracted to each other, and were pleasantly surprised to find out that we were both majoring in engineering. We started to hang out more and more, and not long after we met, Eric brought up talk of a relationship, which I didn’t quite respond to the way he had hoped, and apparently, I didn’t talk to him for two weeks. As fate would have it, magic was in the air that fall, and we grew closer with each date and exciting football game. A few months later, a friend of a friend blatantly asked us, in front of a lot of people, if we were “like, together?” to which Eric furiously shook his head and said that was not the case. I thought his response was a little too quick–I guess it was his revenge for the alleged “two weeks of silence,” because when I asked him if that wasn’t a possibility, he said it was possible. The next morning, on his birthday, I remember waking up so happy because I was thinking of him. I told him later that I had a birthday present for him–that if he wanted to talk about a relationship, I wouldn’t freak out. It took us six months from when we first met to put aside our stubbornness, but we’ve pretty much been inseparable ever since.
Tell us all about the proposal! From Eric: It was December, and I picked the ring up on Saturday morning with a reservation at Hamilton’s Restaurant that night to “celebrate her performances in The Nutcracker Ballet.” After dinner, I convinced Heather to go on campus with me instead of going to see her family, who were in town for her ballet performances, at a nearby restaurant. After some nerve-wracking conversation, we finally walked over to the swing where we had gone to talk after our first date. After reminiscing about that date, I got down on one knee and asked her to marry me. After a noticeable and, once again, nerve-wracking pause, she started to cry, so I tried to lighten the mood and said “Please?” She said yes!
When did y’all get married? June 7, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? About 200
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We cut having a videographer pretty early on, which is actually something I really regret–I wish we had taken a longer look to cut out other things that weren’t lasting. We used a lot of our own décor, which cut down on flower costs and rentals. Also, my planner and the awesome lady who designed our paper suite are both just starting out in the industry, so their costs were not as high as most other vendors. They were both fantastic and attentive and so personable to work with, and their work turned out more beautifully than I could have imagined!
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? I’m a crier, and I surprised myself the entire day by not crying. I was just so happy all day! But then, we started saying our vows, and tears just started streaming down my face. The most memorable moment for me was when Eric wiped my tears away.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are just happy to be living together and having quiet days to ourselves. We are definitely looking forward to building our home, traditions, and family together!

Photographer: Caroline Joy Photography / Planner and Florist: Crystal Strickland from Southern Posies / Ceremony Venue: Fairhope United Methodist Church / Reception Venue and Catering: Steelwood / Wedding Cake: Pollman’s Bakery / Band: The Voltage Brothers through EastCoast Entertainment / Paper Products: Kara Anne Paper / Bride’s Gown: “Katarina” by Vera Wang / Bride’s Second Gown: “Sweet Dreams” by Ivy and Aster / Bride’s Veil: “Leda” by Vera Wang / Bride’s Earrings: Kate Spade /Hair Stylist: Joanna Ballentine and Molly Stilley from Morgan Ashley Salon / Makeup Artist: Celine Russell / Bride’s Shoes: “Chantilly Booties” from BHLDN / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Niceties Dress” in French Grey from BHLDN / Men’s Attire: Black by Vera Wang from Men’s Wearhouse / Bow Ties: J. Hilburn / Cufflinks: Bullet Cufflinks / Girls’ Getting Ready Robes: BHLDN

marissa Written with love by Marissa
4 Comments
  1. avatar Emily reply

    Heather’s magnolia bouquet is perfect, and I love their all-calligraphy invitation!

  2. avatar Hallie Deyton reply

    I loved this article! I absolutely loved her dress and hearing about all of her personal details she put into the wedding. I think that’s what a wedding should be about – the little personal details. My favorite part was her bouquet – that is something she will definitely remember for the rest of her life!

  3. avatar Stacy {Woodsy Weddings} reply

    Even the church doors match your nautical inspiration! The dress looks beautiful and I love that long dark wood table with the string of lights in the background. Rustic, comfortable, and intimate.

  4. avatar Southern Weddings Weekly Round-Up – Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] Brittany and Robert loved celebrating their marriage with 650 dear friends and family members! Heather and Eric incorporated all different pieces of their heritage into their classic wedding. Jeni and Adam loved […]

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Lisa and I always talk about how we knew we’d be friends even before she started working at Southern Weddings, and that we’d love to hang out and just gush over gorgeous weddings and epic love stories! Well, I feel that same way about Blakely, and I know Lisa would absolutely accompany me with sweet tea in hand to a front porch chat with her!

Not only is Blakely my kind of gal, but her and Curtis’ wedding was also full of sweetly crafted details and meaningful decisions that made their day a perfect reflection of their joy! Based on the gorgeous photo from Natalie Franke of the twinkle lights and the completely packed checkerboard dance floor, I can’t help but imagine how fun their wedding must have been. Be sure to read their adorable interview below for even more cuteness, like this line from their vows: “I promise to have a crush on you always, and to flirt with you even when we are old and wrinkly.” Gah, I love it!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Curtis and I both grew up on the Severn River in Annapolis, Maryland, but we did not meet until he was a junior and I was a freshman at the College of Charleston. I thought he was devastatingly handsome and completely out of my league. For fall break, I was driving back to Charleston from Annapolis with a friend, and Curtis was flying, so he met up with us so that we could drive some of his stuff back, but I had no idea. As soon as I pulled up, I swore to my mom that I couldn’t get out of the car–Curtis Little was there and I was wearing my “Saturday jeans” (my frumpy jeans). My mom forced me out of the car anyway. Curtis offered to help me carry some of my luggage, and on top of my laundry basket that he picked up was one of my paintings. He held it up and exclaimed, “This is amazing! Did you paint this?” “Yes,” I replied, “but you’re actually holding it upside down.” Mortified at the whole situation, I got into the car and decided to avoid Curtis for the rest of my life. Curtis says it was the first time he really saw me for me, a painter in my Saturday jeans. He decided that the next time he saw me, he would ask me on a date. And for two months, whenever I saw Curtis on campus, I walked the other direction, hid in an alcove, or delved into conversation with the nearest stranger. Finally, on a cold and grey day in December, I was walking out of the library when Curtis came flying down the street on his bike. The way Curtis tells it is, “Among all the black and grey winter coats, there was my girl in a red flower coat and turquoise high tops.” Curtis slammed on the brakes, hopped off his bike, and ran toward me. There, he asked me out on a lunch date. I’ve adored him ever since, and that painting that first made Curtis notice me is hanging in our dining room, upside down!

So darn cute!

I kept telling dress shops that I wanted something that looked like a white oyster shell or whipped cream, with no sparkles. I ended up finding a dress that I thought was the one, but after putting it on at my first alteration appointment, I realized that I did not like it anymore. I thought I would just have to fake it and pretend, but my mom looked at me and said, “I know you don’t like that dress, and you are only getting married once, so let’s find YOUR dress.” She was only in Charleston for one more day, so we searched and searched. We ended up at Bridals by Jodi in North Charleston. There, they had one section where you could you mix and match tops with bridal skirts. I fell in love with this skirt right away–it was a huge mix of tulle with no rhyme or reason. Our amazing seamstress, Nayada, took the skirt, helped me design a really simple top, and built it all into one dream wedding gown.

What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We chose two readings for our ceremony. The first was 1 John 4:16-19 and the second was Matthew 19:4-6. We wanted our whole wedding to show how our relationship with God is first and foremost. Without God’s love for us or our relationships with God, we would never be able to love one another. We felt those two verses truly captured how we wanted to put Christ at the center of our life and wedding, but still showed joy and fun!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? I have always dreamed of having my wedding in our 100-year-old colonial-style home. We moved there while I was in elementary school, and it has weathered birthday parties, graduations, proms, and much more. On that back porch was where Curtis decided he loved me, and in our family room was where I decided that I loved him. It was perfect. I got ready in my parents’ room, where I could see guests arriving though the back window. We had the ceremony out back, overlooking the Severn River. Guests then moved to the front yard for lawn games, hor d’oeuvres, and cocktails. We rang the dinner bell that came with the house when it was first built, and guests then headed to the tent for dinner. Finally, we paraded to the backyard for dancing and dessert. The backyard had been totally transformed from ceremony site to dance floor, complete with twinkly lights. It was magical!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We had a John Daly as our signature cocktail, which is a combo of Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka and lemonade. We called it “A Little Southern Charm,” because I figured we should play up our last name, Little. Our other drinks were served out of a rowboat. We also had a brass band play through dinner, and they led a parade from the dinner to the dancing in our backyard. The backyard was transformed with a checkered dance floor, twinkly lights, and lanterns hanging off the porch. These elements combined to give us the fun, laid-back atmosphere that defines what we adore about the South.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. For our wedding cake, we did lots of little cakes on different shades of turquoise cake stands. They were all round, but were many different sizes and texture of frosting. My brother said it was the best cake he’d ever had, and admitted to having four pieces the next day. Curtis’ favorite thing in the world is ice cream, so we rented an ice cream cart filled with cookie sandwiches, Choco Tacos, Reese’s Ice Cream Bars, and more. The guests loved this little surprise. It was perfect for a summer night.

Be sure to watch Drawn to the Image‘s film of Blakely and Curtis’ big day–it’s so very sweet, you won’t want to miss it!

Tell us all about the proposal! After Curtis graduated from CofC, he moved to DC. We started long distance and wrote to one another in a book. I expected to get engaged the next summer, and I wanted him to write about getting the ring, asking my dad, and on and on. Curtis had more ambitious plans to surprise me. I was studying abroad for my spring semester at an art school in Florence, Italy, so for my spring break, Curtis and I decided we would meet in Greece and visit Athens and Santorini. My family told us that it was unsafe for me to travel from Italy to Greece alone, so they were going to come along. When Curtis arrived in Greece, he made it very clear that we were going on a walk in the morning so that could could have some time alone, since we hadn’t seen one another in three months. That morning, we got breakfast and walked to the top of a cliff overlooking the most beautiful turquoise water I’d ever seen. I was raving about the water and the view, my art classes, and Europe itself, when I brought up the book we were supposed to be writing in. Curtis looked at me and said, “Blakely, I can’t write in the book about all those things because I’ve actually already done all those things.” I was extremely confused and thought he was joking until he pulled out the ring. He got down on one knee, told me I was the woman the Lord had made for him, and asked me to marry him. All I could do was scream with excitement!
When did y’all get married? June 7, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 200
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We wrote our own vows together about a week before the wedding so that we could practice and not sob through the whole thing. Curtis and I made our vows match in the beginning and ending phrases. In the middle, we made them personal to one another. One of my favorite lines that we both used was, “I promise to follow the Truth, and speak truth to you; to pray for you, and help you remain firm in your faith.” My favorite line that Curtis vowed to me was, “I promise to care for you and love you through color, through turquoise; I will laugh with you until it hurts and will always smile when I hear your sweet name.” Curtis’ favorite line that I said was, “I promise to live with you by the sea in a home overflowing with laughter and enthusiasm for life. I promise to have a crush on you always, and to flirt with you even when we are old and wrinkly.” I’m crying just rereading these!
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. I am super lucky to have a singer/songwriter as my best friend. Becky Kinder (her song “Taken” is actually written about Curtis and I!) sang “How Deep the Father’s Love For Us” during the ceremony, and it brought everyone to tears. I could truly feel the Lord’s presence. Curtis and I danced our first dance to “You and Me” by Penny and the Quarters. We chose it because it throws you back in time and is such a sweet, feel-good song. My dad and I danced to “The Way You Look Tonight” by Frank Sinatra because when I was young, I told everyone that it would be the song my future husband and I would dance to. Since my dad knew I loved it so much, he would always dance with me if it came on. Quickly, it became our song. My brother and I are really close, and he is an amazing dancer, so we had our own dance to “You Make Me Feel So Young” by Frank Sinatra, which was one of my favorite parts of the night. Finally, in honor of Curtis’ late grandpa, we finished the night with “New York, New York.” Curtis’ family are huge Yankees fans because of his grandpa, and after the Yankees win, they play “New York, New York” as the fans leave the stadium. I loved being able to look at Curtis as we were belting the song and say “WE WON! We get to keep each other forever! We really won!”
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The turquoise door! My mom is the most fun person you’ll ever meet, and one of her “things” is that she is always painting the color of our front door to match the season or event that we are holding at our home. It’s been red, yellow, coral, hot pink, and now turquoise! She and I picked the color to match the invitations, and I thought it looked perfect!
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? Curtis and I moved into a sweet little apartment in downtown Charleston. We are so excited to just be together! Learning to cook dinner and eating ice cream if it fails, loving those around us well and welcoming them into our crazy home, and just praying and holding hands. Curtis has been working as a commercial real estate broker here for about a year, which basically means he knows all the cool new spots in the area. I will be continuing my career as an artist in both my paintings at Blakely Made and in floral design at Charleston Stems.

Photographer: Natalie Franke / Videographer: Patrick McNamara / Venue: Private residence / Florist: Charleston Stems / Wedding Cake: Debbie Kupfer / Caterer: Ken’s Creative Kitchen / Rentals: Rental Works / Bridal Salon: Bridals by Jodi / Paper Products: Sara Metzger Designs / Bride’s Belt: BHLDN / Makeup Artist: Bare Minerals / Bride’s Shoes: Banana Republic / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: J. Crew / Men’s Attire: Macy’s / Alterations and Gown Top: Nadya D Custom Design & Alterations / Ice Cream: Scoops2u

Natalie Franke is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
20 Comments
  1. avatar Natalie reply

    Oh my goodness! It is such an honor to see my photographs on Southern Weddings today! Blakely and Curtis are two of the sweetest people you could ever imagine meeting… and I am so happy that you are sharing their love story!

  2. avatar Nicole reply

    Oh goodness, their vows almost made me cry at my desk!

  3. avatar Lisa reply

    Seriously, they could not be more adorable!! Love their story and how lovely and intentional their wedding was!

  4. avatar Stephanie reply

    Does anyone know where she got her mother of the bride’s dress? I love it!

    • avatar Blakely reply

      She got it at neiman marcus! It was a full length dress, which was beautiful too!

    • avatar Maghon reply

      Blakely, I have had your wedding pinned for months! I love every detail. Can you share where you got your canvas pennants? I love the white/natural ones and I want to find them for our wedding on May 22. I keep searching but haven’t had any luck! Thanks so much!

    • avatar Blakely reply

      Hi Maghon! Sorry I missed your comment. I actually made all the pendants. Sometimes you can find old DYI stuff on http://ruffledblog.com/recycle-your-wedding/

      Hope this helps!! Congrats on your wedding!

  5. avatar Alana Klein reply

    Beautiful story! It just made me so excited for me wedding, even though it’s 11 months away! Do you know where they purchased the flag with their initials? I am looking for something just like it!!

  6. avatar Sara reply

    I have to echo what Natalie said – it is an honor to have my invitations featured on Southern Weddings! It was one of the happiest moments of my life to be a part of their big day and celebrate my dearest friends.

    Alana, I designed the flag, but the mother of the groom had it made by Watermark, a company in Annapolis.

  7. avatar Laura reply

    I got the dress at Neiman Marcus. It was full length originally.

  8. avatar seaside maryland wedding. reply

    […] sky, and joy in the air, and I got to marry my dear Curtis! We were lucky enough to get featured on Southern Weddings Blog this week! There you will find all the details to our love story, and our wedding day + amazing […]

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  12. avatar Kristi reply

    I am curious about the invitations in this post. (blue with the compass at the top and water color map included) I love them and would be delighted to find them for a mountain wedding

  13. avatar Mallory reply

    where did she get her beautiful dress?

    • avatar Lisa reply

      Hi Mallory! Blakely’s skirt was from Bridals by Jodi in Charleston, and the top was custom designed by Nadya D Custom Design and Alterations in Mount Pleasant, SC :)

  14. avatar Mother daughter wedding photo ideas to capture on the big day – Wedding Party reply

    […] Natalie Franke via Southern Weddings […]

  15. avatar Susanna reply

    I love your style! And right now I’m really interested in your bridesmaids’ dresses. Where’d you get them?

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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