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Happy Saturday, lovelies! I’m back home in Charlotte for the weekend, which makes today’s film a little more special for me. Y’all know there’s no place like where you grew up, and we know many of you are planning weddings in your hometowns. Emily + Taylor did the same, and we love how it came together and focused on family.

From Emily, the bride:

“We wanted our wedding day to be an expression of our love for each other while also reflecting our personalities and style, and I think it did just that! Taylor and I met and fell in love in Jackson, Mississippi and he proposed on a surprise trip to Disney World. But when it came to our wedding venue, I could not imagine getting married anywhere other than my home town of Monroe, Louisiana. I wanted the ambiance to be casual but elegant, keeping the look neutral with touches of soft light color. “Southern garden” was the original inspiration but it evolved into so much more! Kendall Poole Event Planning of Jackson really made the whole event come together exactly like we wanted.

“Both the ceremony and reception were full of personal touches. We chose March 24 as our date and the Spring weather was a gorgeous backdrop! The ceremony was held in the church in which I grew up, making it incredibly meaningful. Fresh Cut of Jackson transformed the Sanctuary, filling it with candlelight, scattered lanterns, and a square arbor of greenery and white hydrangeas. It was truly breathtaking! We have wonderful family and friends and it was important to us that they participated in our ceremony. The musicians included both Taylor’s father as well as his brother, along with several of our good friends. We had two officiating pastors: one from my church in Monroe and one from Taylor’s church in Jackson. We both had 11 attendants — all of them special friends of ours. Having all of these significant people play, sing, officiate, and stand with us made for an incredible night. Of course, the best part was seeing Taylor at the altar and our families and friends in the audience.

“The reception site was the auditorium of the first high school in Monroe. Facing the Ouachita River, the Ouachita Grand Plaza had the character we were looking for and it was large enough to accommodate our 400 guests. The food included some of our favorite dishes like Louisiana jambalaya and beignets. The five-tiered bridal cake was a replica of the lace on my dress and it was topped with handmade birds (a play on our new last name, Byrd) from Wolfe Pottery of Jackson. The groom’s cake was a golf bag with clubs that featured club covers of his
alma mater, Mississippi State. It was placed in a outdoor courtyard that was strung with lights and the weather was perfect for the guests to enjoy mingling outside. The guests received pralines as favors, a Southern favorite! Mo Money of Jackson kept the guests on the dance floor with Motown hits. We left in a classic 1957 Thunderbird. The list of what made this day special could go on and on! But in the end, sharing it with Taylor made it special and fun. It was a great start to a new a life together!”

Photographer: Followell Fotography // Videographer: Nathan Willis Wedding Films // Wedding planner: Kendall Poole Event Planning // Florist: Fresh Cut Catering & Floral // Lighting: Davaine Lighting // Wedding cake baker: The Cake Diva // Rentals: Great Southern Events // Band: Mo Money Band

P.S. We think you’ll love these past films, too:
A homespun Georgia wedding film
A fun + casual Arkansas wedding film
A glamorous Charleston wedding film

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole

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Happy weekend, belles! Remember our fun little Southern Spotting from a few weeks ago, the one with the cheeky bar? If you loved Catherine and Sean and their sense of humor, you’re in for a treat today, because we’re sharing their highlight film from PenWeddings! Take a minute to watch their clip – my favorite part is seeing the gorgeous Cooper Memorial Chapel!

From Sarah of PenWeddings:

“This is the Traylor-Parks wedding. Yes, those are their real names. And Catherine and Sean took full advantage of this coincidence, using an Airstream trailer as the bar for their adorable backyard reception. There ceremony was held at the stunning Mildred B. Cooper chapel in Bella Vista, Arkansas, created by renowned Arkansas architect E Fay Jones. Although it’s not far from the nearest highway, once you’ve walked the meandering path through the trees to the chapel, you feel as though you’ve left the world behind. We were so thrilled that Catherine and Sean set aside time after the ceremony to take photos by the water, in a field, and at a neighbor’s barn, too. They finished the night with an adorable reception at Catherine’s parents’ house. Wooden signs directed guests to the “out house” and cocktail hour on the front lawn. Beautiful arrangements of bottles, flowers and tree stumps awaited guests at their tables, along with their favors of honey and tea. The Southern cooking was to die for, and the dancing seemed like it would never end. Nothing could have made this day better, other than maybe a 20-degree drop in temperature. I can’t say enough about what a fabulous day it was.”


Cinematography: PenWeddings // Photography: Wisner Photo // Coordination: Bates Marketing & Events // Ceremony Venue: Mildred B. Cooper Chapel // Reception Venue: Bride’s Parents’ house // Flowers: Jules Design // Cake: Rick’s Bakery // Catering: The Event Group // Lighting: Dance Enhance // Bride’s Dress: J.Crew // Transportation: Pinnacle Car Services

emily Written with love by Emily
  1. avatar NatalieG reply

    I absolutely love this!!!!! I still have teary eyes and goosebumps :) …and a special shout out to NWA wooohooo!!! I can’t wait for September 1, 2012 :) I hope everyone has this much fun celebrating with me and Austin!!!

  2. avatar Sarah reply

    What an awesome day this was! Catherine and Sean were a dream to work with. Thanks so much Emily and all the girls at Southern Weddings for sharing!

  3. avatar Wedding Invitations reply

    Absolutely adore the burlap details! <3

  4. avatar Southern Weddings | Arkansas Wedding Film feature reply

    […] were so thrilled when we learned that Southern Weddings wanted to feature Catherine and Sean’s film from their adorable wedding in Bella Vista, […]

  5. avatar Cristina Wisner reply

    I absolutely loved this wedding and I have honestly watched this film 72 times! I love every second of it!

  6. avatar Nathan reply

    Gorgeous! They look very happy!

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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Welcome back to Emily Plans a Wedding! Today I would like to talk with you about our videographer. Yes, we are having a videographer at our wedding!! I am so very excited about this. I’m particularly excited because for a while it didn’t look like it was going to happen for us, and so I’m still pinching myself a bit. I’d love to tell you all about it, and about how we eventually fit video into our budget, because I hope it might help one of you! Let’s go!

As I said, we knew from the very beginning that we wanted a videographer. We hired an insanely talented wedding photographer almost immediately (yay Tanja!) and know without a doubt that come our wedding day, she will do what she does amazingly well. However, because we went over our budget to hire Tanja (which I don’t regret at all!), we only were able to allocate $1,000 for videography in our initial budget. Working at SW, I knew that was far too low, but it didn’t seem there was anything we could do about it except cross our fingers.

On top of the fact that we initially budgeted too little for videography, we didn’t budget anything for videographer travel expenses. Why would that be necessary, you ask? Unfortunately, John and I are not a fan of any of the videographers we’ve been able to turn up in Connecticut, Rhode Island, or Massachusetts. They’re just not our style, and most are so well established as to be prohibitively expensive, at least for us.

Of course, there was one videographer we fell in love with, and of course, they happened to be based in North Carolina. Yes, I’m talking about Inkspot Crow Films.

I had the good fortune to work with MacKenzie and Philip on a shoot SW produced for V4 last summer (you can see their behind the scenes film of the day here!). I, like everyone who meets them (I can only assume), quickly fell in love with their warm personalities and immediately apparent honesty and integrity. Of course, John and I also love their modern but classic filming style, and their story-driven editing. All in all, they are exactly the sort of people you want following you around on your wedding day.

There was only one thing to do, then, and that was inquire about their packages and pricing. Ladies, I was so nervous!! Not because I thought they’d be mean to me or anything, but because before I inquired, I could hold out hope that our budget would be enough, even though in my heart of hearts I knew it wouldn’t be. Do you know what I mean?? And yes, as nice as MacKenzie is, even her niceness couldn’t help the fact that their basic package was three times our budgeted amount. So we sadly parted ways, though MacKenzie did offer to waive their travel fee if we could make everything else work, since they could combine the trip up North with a visit to her Mom. A supremely kind offer to be sure, but still, not much to go on.

Fast forward to two months ago. I received a completely unexpected and very generous gift, and immediately decided to put it towards video. With that gift plus our initial budgeted amount, we were suddenly 2/3 of the way towards our goal. At that point, we knew we could make it work, so we sat down and took an even harder look at our budget. Extra hors d’oevres? Gone. Beloved bamboo chairs? Replaced by less fancy ones. Custom cocktail napkins? Gone. Less expensive (but still awesome!) band instead of more expensive band? Yes. Borrowing a few accessories from dear friends and family instead of buying them? Yes. Mini cutting cake? Now being made by yours truly instead of our caterer. With these cuts and more, we were able to shift enough of our resources towards video to make it a reality for us. Thank goodness Inkspot was still available on our date!

I know that videography isn’t a priority for everyone, and if it’s not for you, then that’s totally fine! But if it is a priority, and you haven’t hired someone because you don’t think you can afford it, I would encourage you to look again. I would make those cuts and more three times over to have a moving record of our day. We have a lifetime to throw parties with awesome details, but only one chance to capture the ones we love the most in action on one of the most special days of our lives. I have never heard a bride say she regrets spending money on videography, but I have heard more couples than I can count say not hiring a videographer is their number one regret. I didn’t want that to be us, and thankfully, it won’t be.

Whenever I got sad about something we were cutting from the budget, I had a few tricks to make me feel better — maybe they’ll work for you, too! First, watching one of Inkspot’s highlight films can always put a smile on my face. I’ve sprinkled a few of my favorites throughout this post! Second, whenever I had a doubt about whether the expense of videography was worth it, I’d go read through Inkspot’s reviews on Wedding Wire. Hearing the beyond-glowing affirmations of past clients is what really tipped the balance for us in the end — not so much about MacKenzie and Philip’s talent (we already were convinced of that!), but of how GLAD and thankful these couples were that they had spent the money in the end.

Trust me, I am not trying to put the lean on anyone to hire Inkspot Crow or anyone else, I’m not encouraging anyone to bust their budget, and I sincerely hope I’m not making you feel worse if you’ve already looked at the numbers and concluded videography’s not in the cards for you. BUT. If you love videography, if you see the value of it for you and your fiance, and if you REALLY want to make it work, I’m here to encourage you!! To finish, here are a few more budget tradeoffs that I think would be worth it in the end:

— Do your hair and/or makeup yourself, or have a talented friend do it.
— Cut back on your bar package.
— Forgo ordering an album from your photographer (you can always ask for it later as a Christmas, birthday, or anniversary gift).
— Buy a less expensive pair of shoes (mine were $35!) or wear a pair you already own. Same goes for jewelry, hair accessories, clutches, etc.
— Skip favors.
— Make one larger menu instead of placing one at each guest’s seat, or drop menus all together.
— Cut back on ceremony decor or cut it altogether. Whether you’re getting married outside or in a church, the focus will be on you and your fiance, not fancy decor, anyway. We might have wreaths on our church doors, but that’s it — nothing inside the church.
— Serve just one hors d’ouevres at your cocktail hour, or none at all. Consider shortening your cocktail hour to a cocktail half hour if you choose to do this.

There are many more ways to cut costs at a wedding, but I trust you’ll find the ones that pain you and your fiance the least :)

Ladies and gents, tell me: Are you hiring a videographer? Whether or not you’re hiring a videographer, I’d love to hear some more suggestions on relatively painless ways to cut costs. I’m sure we could all use some help in that department, and I’d love to learn from y’all!

In case you missed a post…
The main characters
Where we’re getting married
I go dress shopping
We choose a photographer
I ponder bridesmaid style
Mini food!
The music
We’re renting a tent!
We discuss bouquets + boutonnieres
We send out our save the dates
I gather hair and makeup inspiration
We talk cake and sweets

Note: As many of you know, Inkspot Crow Films is a member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory. However, this post is NOT a form of paid advertising, and they did not give me any special discounts for my wedding… though I wish they had :) Just kidding!! But seriously, John and I obviously love them, and this post is the straight-up truth containing only my personal opinions.

emily Written with love by Emily
  1. avatar amanda reply

    I’m curious to this too. I’m not sure if I really need a videographer or not! I’m dying over the new videos like Inkspot Crow but I KNOW I can cut things, but also my budget IS small, around $15,000 total in Raleigh. But I found a videographer whose prices aren’t bad but I’m already chipping in for the photographer and maybe the invitations myself (photographer is unbeknowst to my family but I just HAD to have her so I fudged the price a little) so I’m just not sure! Ah! I’m curious to how other brides/wives/brides to be feel about this! So I’d love some response too. :) Yay for your ability to get Inkspot Crow!

    • avatar Emily reply

      Hi Amanda! We’re definitely chipping in for things ourselves, especially for things that are traditionally considered “extras.” Our budget is split as follows: 43% my parents, 32% John’s parents, 14% John and me, and 11% my grandma. We definitely could have cut our budget and not put in any money ourselves, but I think of our budget contribution as being for things (like, perhaps videography), that I wouldn’t necessarily expect our parents to pay for, but that are extremely important to US as a couple. I hope that helps a bit! :)

    • avatar Brittany R reply

      Emily: I love that you let us in on your budget percentage breakdown. So glad to hear that someone else is having their groom’s family paying for a significant portion of the wedding! I think that’s more of a reality these days anyways. Thanks for sharing!

  2. avatar Jessica Stephens reply

    Emily you won’t regret it one bit! Hiring a videographer for our wedding was hands down the BEST money we spent on our wedding. We had to stretch a bit ourselves ( smaller centerpieces at the reception, less decor, bought cheaper shoes, my best friend did my hair, etc.) but I wouldn’t trade it for anything! We honestly watch it all the time between my nieces and nephews who want to see me in my “princess” dress :)
    See for yourself if you would like!

    • avatar Emily reply

      Oh Jessica, I love hearing from people like you! Can’t wait to watch your video! :)

    • avatar Jessica Stephens reply

      Emily: Oops! I meant to post the trailer ( ) not the full length! Sorry about that!

    • avatar Ashley, Indie Atlantic Films reply

      Yay! We just love Jason and Jessica!! Your wedding was by far, one of our most FAVORITES to capture!! You guys are just AMAZING!! :)

    • avatar Ashley, Indie Atlantic Films reply

      Hey Brandy, we would love to chat with you about our packages and what we offer. We can customize our packages to fit within your needs/budget. Send me an e-mail and I would be happy to send you our price guide. :)

      Indie Atlantic Films
      [email protected]

  3. avatar Victoria reply

    I don’t know if I want to spend the money on a videographer. I went over my photography budget, and I’m SO excited about that aspect, and I just don’t know how often I will watch a video…I know I would love having it, but I’ll be just as married without one and I feel like my photos will cover everything I want them to. :)

    • avatar Emily reply

      Hi Victoria! If you aren’t passionate about having videography, then 100% don’t do it!! It’s by no means a necessity. And, knowing the amazing choice you’ve made for photography, I know that will be a wonderful way to remember your big day by :)

  4. avatar NatalieG reply

    Hey Emily,
    I was looking at your post about your photographer using … just wondering if you ladies at SW could suggest a photographer in the AR area :)


    • avatar Emily reply

      Hi Natalie! I’m happy to try! Unfortunately, I just am not familiar with too many (if any!) photographers in Arkansas. My best recommendation would be to bring someone in from a neighboring state. Josh McCullock is one of my FAVORITE photographers and he’s based in OK. Amanda Watson is also a great photographer based in OK, with a bit more of a vintage processing style. I hope this helps a little bit, and if I think of anyone else, I will definitely email you! Best of luck with your search!

  5. avatar Jennifer reply

    I hope you share some clips with us of your happy day! What is your new last initial going to be? What colors are you using? I may be able to help you on your wreaths for the church doors. I DIYed two for our church doors & have some helpful (budget friendly) tips.

    • avatar Emily reply

      Hi Jennifer! Of course I will share!! My new last initial will be T :)

  6. avatar Jenna reply

    I loved this post. I admit I was a little nervous when I started reading that it would end up as a case where you were granted some sort of special privilege (although I guess since I know you and know who you are that wouldn’t make sense with your personality!), but I loved how it all worked out. You are a real bride talking about how you make things work, and I love reading your posts. I look forward to watching your video and seeing so many faces I recognize (and love!)

    • avatar Emily reply

      Thank you so much, Miss Jenna! Yes, I think it will be especially fun for you to watch our video :)

  7. avatar Ashley Pepitone reply

    There are oh, so many things I would have done differently if I could re-plan my wedding, but probably the biggest would have been to hire a videographer. I had never seen the beautiful, artistic work that is available now and I just kept envisioning the cheesy reels of yore. Good on ya for recognizing the importance of capturing the sounds, sights, and movement of your day- not just for you, but for future generations to enjoy.

    • avatar Emily reply

      The work that some wedding videographers are turning out now is SO different that even just a few years ago, don’t you think? Honestly, before we found Inkspot, we would rather have just filmed and edited something ourselves (with the help of family and friends, like we did for my sister’s wedding), than hired someone whose style we didn’t love!

  8. avatar Kelsey reply

    Emily, I totally agree – I had such a similar situation! There was no room in the budget for videography when we started planning, so I put it out of my mind. Then I started interning for a wedding planner here in Raleigh and realized what I would be missing out on! I started inquiring about prices – was pretty crestfallen like you were – but then decided we just had to make it work because I’d regret it if we didn’t do it! I decided to go with somewhat of a beginner on the wedding scene, because his prices are still lower than most, but he has excellent experience in videography and filmmaking in general. We’ve decided to dip into my fiance’s savings to cover it, but I think it will be so worth it. One thing my videographer does that I’m really excited about is interviews with those special to the bride and groom – I think those will mean so much to us to watch over the years! Something else for brides to consider is that even though photography will capture the moments, it won’t capture the voices of those you love (like your groom saying his vows!), the music, or the action of things you might not see, like the groomsmen getting ready and guests arriving! :)

    • avatar amanda reply

      Kelsey: I live in Raleigh and I posted about thinking of whether or not I did want a videographer but if you have any recommendations for a lesser price I would totally be interested in looking at your vendors if you don’t mind! It seems the people I find in the magazines scattered about town want $3,000+! Which is definitely and physically out of budget for sure! Thanks!!

    • avatar Kelsey reply

      Hi Amanda! I am using Peyton Lea (Peyton Lea Productions: Weddings are not his main thing, but you could certainly inquire! He just started his own company and previously worked for Exum Photography. Also look at f8 in motion ( They have been doing wedding photography for a while, but more recently started doing videography. You could definitely do either for less than $3,000!

  9. avatar Kelly reply

    Videography is something that I so desperately want, but haven’t had the courage to ask my fiance to put in the budget. I would love to be able to share our vows with our children or grandchildren as well as relive our best friends’ speeches. John and I are covering all of our expenses ourselves and he just wants to throw a great party. I am hoping that once it all comes together we can find a videographer that I love and he wants to pay for. It will probably be one of the last decisions we make, which will also limit we can book.
    I hoping that I can cut corners in other places on top of the savings we have already found so we can afford it. We blew a lot of our budget on an expensive venue but it doesn’t need much decor. I LOVE flowers, but we won’t have any floral arrangements outside of bouquets, corsages and boutonnieres. John proposed with candles so I think it would be great to incorporate them. Everywhere.
    I won quite a few contests, including invitations, a birdcage veil, a gift certificate for our DJ among other items.
    I used a Groupon for Vistaprint for to get our save the dates that I designed which ended up costing $24. I opted for a postcard design so the postage will be less. I plan to do the same for our RSVP cards to cut out the cost of an extra envelope as well as cutting postage there.
    I go back and forth on this, but I love baking and might end up making cupcakes or purchasing donuts to make a tower topped by a cutting cake.
    We selected a caterer that will allow us to bring in our own alcohol, so we can purchase a couple of kegs and some wine. Anything that doesn’t get consumed, we get to keep.
    These are just some of the ways we are keeping our budget in check, and hopefully we can get everything we want!

    • avatar Emily reply

      Hi Kelly! Love all these ideas! I also love candlelit weddings, so I 100% go for it!

  10. avatar Sarah reply

    Hi Emily, I was so glad to see this post, and am thrilled that you hired Inkspot! Your story really resonated with me as I went through the same agony and decision process, and was eventually able to make room to hire Inkspot Crow for my wedding in August as well! I’m especially excited as MacKenzie’s sister Meredith Perdue is our photographer, so it’s going to be quite the family affair!

    It was so reaffirming to hear another bride going through the same thought process, and making the same decision! Best wishes — I can’t wait to see your highlight video!

    • avatar Emily reply

      Hi Sarah! Oh, I’m SO happy to hear that! I completely adore MacKenzie, Philip, AND Meredith, and I know you will be in excellent hands. Can’t wait to see YOUR video (and photos) pop up on their blogs!!

  11. avatar Brandy reply

    I am currently struggling with this decision as well. I am trying to figure out if we want to add the expense right now or not. My gut feeling tells me i will regret it if i dont but it’s so expensive for a good one. I have considered hiring Inkspot, Heart Stone, or Life Stage Films. I am pleased to her that Inkspot was willing to work with you guys but still unsure. I am absolutely LOVE Life Stage but I am betting they are pricey. Has anyone used any of these videographers in the past?

    • avatar Emily reply

      Hi Brandy! I have worked with both Inkspot and Lifestage before (and we love Heartstone, too!). Inkspot’s basic package is $2,900 (or at least it was when we booked them). The package with Lifestage was about $5,000, I believe, so they are more expensive, but we loved working with them, as well. Other readers have posted some good options on this post that you might want to look into: Indie Atlantic (FL) and Peyton Lea (NC). I also JUST heard about another Wilmington film company, Blueberry Fusion. I’m not sure what their pricing is like, but they could be worth a look!

    • avatar Brandy reply

      Emily: Thanks! I will take a look at your suggestions. Such a hard decision!!

  12. avatar Kelsey reply

    We’re using MacKenzie and Phillip for our June wedding and I couldn’t be happier! I struggled with finding a videographer too because I knew what style I wanted and our budget wasn’t working with us. I’m so glad we figured it out because I know our video is something that we’ll watch (as will our family and future children) for years to come!

  13. avatar Katie reply

    I can’t believe I just now discovered this post, because this is the battle I currently feel like I am fighting. We’ve been going back and forth on the videographer for about 6 months now, and every time I think we are going to move forward with booking, something happens to change that (and by “something” I mean we lose the funding). I definitely think there are many places we can cut corners, it just comes down to finding something quality that’s not going to cost over $5000 total (we’d prefer something around $4000). Also, our wedding takes place in southwest VA, so choices there are extremely limited, which means we always have to pay for travel. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

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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