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Even if you’re getting married just down the road from your apartment, chances are your wedding will be a destination for at least a few of your guests. And if you’re getting married in the South, almost any location will feel like an idyllic place to visit! :) Whether near or far, play up all things local with a welcome gift for your guests–either themed around the state in which you’re saying “I do’ or the states from which you hail. We jump started your imagination in Southern Weddings V9 with luxe boxes from four Southern states, but know this is just a starting point.

P.S. If you have a large guest list, don’t be intimidated by the grandeur of these boxes–feel free to reserve the full complement for VIP guests (your families and bridal party), and then wrap up just an item or two for everyone else!

Introduce your guests to the Commonwealth in classic style. For this box, Marigold & Grey included mini bottles of Pellegrino; a booklet with information about the wedding weekend by Poppy & Scooter; Virginia pears; roasted Virginia peanuts; trail mix in a muslin bag; and a sugar cookie in the shape of Virginia’s state flower, the dogwood, by Two Sugars.

The Bluegrass State is represented in racing form with this box from Memento & Muse, including mini bottles of Perrier, caramel corn, state-shaped sugar cookies by Oak City Cookies, a sweet note from the couple in a horseshoe frame with calligraphy by Quietude Co., Molly & Me bourbon pecans, and all the ingredients for a single-serve mint julep.

Teak & Twine captured the artisan cowboy vibe of Nashville today with this monochromatic welcome box, tied off with custom leather disks from Warfield Supply. Tucked inside are an Olive & Sinclair chocolate bar, a Moscow Mule carryon cocktail kit, Willa’s shortbread cookies, and two monogrammed copper mugs from Mark & Graham.

A Signature Welcome capitalized on the talented companies based in Raleigh to welcome guests to the Old North State. Included in one of ASW’s custom boxes is a bag of Counter Culture coffee, a Videri sea salt chocolate bar, Moravian cookies, a jar of Outer Banks sea salt, Five Points Baking Co. cheese straws, a can of Legendary Sunshine Beverage, a watercolor itinerary by One & Only Paper, and a custom Revelry + Remedy kit created by the ASW team.

For more from our newest issue, pick up a copy in the Southern Weddings Shop or on newsstands around the South!

emily Written with love by Emily
  1. avatar Shaun – Wedding Videographer reply

    What a great idea. Love the designs on these boxes.

  2. avatar Adam – Party Bands for Hire reply

    Awesome retro designs in the Tennessee box!

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Y’all, I am so excited to share today’s beautiful wedding with you!! As you may remember, Ashlyn was our Southern Bride of the Summer, and she generously shared her super Southern, magnolia-filled, Alabama wedding plans with us a few months ago. We have been waiting on eggshells to see how her and Wes’ day played out, and as you can easily see in their photos by Holland Williams Photography, it was just as lovely as we know Ashlyn hoped it would be. Even more than that, their day was focused on what matters most to them–their faiths, their families, and starting their marriage on the firmest footing possible. Be sure to read Ashlyn’s interview below to learn about the heart and intention she and Wes poured into this sweet day!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I’m a girly girl, but I’ll be honest, the food and band seemed like more fun decisions to plan! The dress was too much pressure. Mama, my sister Kristen, and I made four appointments in Atlanta one Saturday. You think you don’t care until you turn around and see yourself in the mirror in “the one.” Changes everything! I loved my dress–it was all lace and had hook-and-eye buttons down the entire back. I was also staunch on a bow or a sash–funny enough, that pretty shade of ivory on the bow is called “magnolia!”

As soon as we started planning, one of the only things Wes was really vocal on was not seeing me before the ceremony! I loved that. Our photographer, Holland, was so fantastic, it didn’t hinder the day or put a hitch in timing one bit. We prayed together without seeing each other, and then we both got that “church doors swing open” moment. I’ll never forget it!

I saw my florist, Melissa Kendall, write “Southern elegance” on her worksheet–if there was a theme, I told her the theme could be magnolias! Charming and gracious, they’ve always said “home” better than any other flower or tree to me. I love their scent, glamour, and beauty. I even had a blog when I traveled for ADPi called Miss Magnolia! Gardenias weren’t plentiful in August, but loads of other white flowers and roses complemented all the greenery. We also wanted a magnolia-covered cross at the ceremony. My sweet daddy built it, and it was one of my favorite touches! The bridesmaids’ bouquets were wrapped in monogrammed hankies.

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. I had a running iPhone list for a year of hymns that struck me! I pieced those together for the ceremony. The prelude included “In Christ Alone” and “The Power of the Cross.” My grandfather was a Southern Baptist music minister, and I had the grandfathers be seated to his favorite hymn, “Crown Him with Many Crowns”–he teared up telling me that surprise made him so happy! I gave Wes a couple of options, and after playing it, he said he wanted me to come down the aisle to “Trumpet Voluntary.” We sang “Great is Thy Faithfulness” as a congregation.

I loved the vows we used. They’re updated, traditional, Biblical vows that Pastor David Platt wrote. Many people kindly let us know they really enjoyed that part of the ceremony. We found them in “The Christ Centered Wedding” by Catherine Parks. My favorite line is “I will join with you in the mission God has entrusted to us.” We’re a few short weeks into marriage, and already see how life’s challenges do not stop just because you get your fairy tale wedding, cute little house, and some pretty crystal! We were thrown curveballs early, and partner in encouraging each other to fight the good fight.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? It was fairly easy: First Baptist is the church I grew up in, and my parents are tremendously involved. We wanted a Christ-exalting ceremony, but I don’t necessarily believe that can ONLY happen in a church! I’m just the type of girl who gets rain on her birthday every year, so we needed something indoors. I also wanted to respect my parents and pay homage to nostalgia–I have so many sweet memories in that gorgeous building. It’s a beautiful, old, Southern church. Montgomery Country Club ended up being the winner for a reception. I have a lot of memories from growing up going there–plus, I’m the biggest Zelda Fitzgerald fan you’ll meet. I have about 18 books about the Montgomery girl who won F. Scott Fitzgerald’s heart, and they met at Montgomery Country Club in 1918. Only fitting, right?

With a Montgomery wedding, there isn’t much that won’t end up covered in Southern-ness! I wore pearls, and magnolias were everywhere. Family keepsakes like silver goblets, mint julep cups, and old wedding photos made appearances. My sorority sisters wanted to sing, of course. And then that menu, gracious. We had shrimp and grits, pimento cheese finger sandwiches, fried chicken, fried green tomatoes, hush puppies, and Arnold Palmers–you know, health food. And as an Auburn fan, I had to salute the plains: Momma G’s nachos came out for “late night!”

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Samford University is a small school tucked away in the hills of Birmingham. I was a junior when Wes waltzed in as this cute former-high-school-QB freshman and joined Sigma Chi, which happened to be the guys I hung out with. I confessed my crush to my close friend Ryan, his fraternity brother. Ryan told me he’d “endorse me like Nike” to Wes. Fast forward, and my best friend and I were walking toward Wes and Ryan one day after class. Paths crossed, and there was a brief hi-and-shake-hands moment. We walked off, and Ryan turned around and yelled “Like Nike, Ash!” Embarrassing for me. Fortunately, Wes took it as “game on.” We were fire and dynamite from that time on!
Tell us all about the proposal! Wes wrestled my type-A planner habit away from me by staking claim to a January Saturday as his date to plan. Kindly, he let me make the brunch reservation, so naturally, I still thought I was planning things. What a guy. He picked me up Saturday morning, and we laughed and chatted over coffee, eggs, and gravy-covered biscuits at no. 246 off the Decatur square. Side note–I had the stomach bug the night before, y’all. Poor Wes didn’t sleep a wink as me and my germs almost wrecked his plans! After brunch, he wouldn’t tell me what was next as we drove down Peachtree Street toward Buckhead. ANY notion I had of “maybe this is it” was null and void–surely he wouldn’t ask me since I was sick! Wes’ nerves set in and he got quiet as he pulled over to Duck Pond Park. He led me to a bench and told me he wanted to talk about something important. God washed a peace over us, and we had the sweetest next few moments together worshiping: Wes led us in a time of prayer, and then read from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians (chapter 5) about biblical marriage, and said he wanted this with me. Next thing I knew, he was grinning on one knee while–duh–I cried. Wes drove us back to my little Buckhead townhouse, where my three roommates and about 25 friends and family members had the Veuve Clicquot ready to pop! He thought of everything, and having dear ones there to celebrate was so special. Wes is the most thoughtful man I’ve ever met.
When did y’all get married? August 15, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? About 325
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Everyone knows Peggy McKinney’s desserts in Montgomery. She’s the best! I don’t adore traditional wedding cake, so I opted for strawberry cake with white icing. Wes went with Miss Peggy’s good ol’ chocolate cake! We have a crystal cake stand that was cut around 1890 and belonged to my great-great-grandmother. It’s been used in weddings and at family parties for generations, so it had to make an appearance at ours, too.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Wes and I read through “The Meaning of Marriage” by Tim Keller and were counseled through our church. Wes also had us both read Francis Chan’s “You and Me Forever.” I think we stayed the course throughout planning, knowing that the day we woke up after our wedding, THAT was really day one!
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? My mama was the best, free wedding planner I could have ever “hired.” :) My family did a lot of crafty, DIY things, from baking sugar cookies in the shapes of Alabama and Georgia to asking the Visitor’s Bureau for hotel bag goodies. We opted for the country club as it offered an all-in-one event space–rental fees rack up! Third, I have said it before and I’ll say it again: you CAN spend only $1,000 on a wedding dress and get it ordered during your six-and-a-half month engagement, regardless of what the industry or experts tell you.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? I had a “first look” with my daddy, which was really special. I was having a lot of anxiety issues that day, and mama’s two best friends came and put hands on me and prayed over me–that was a precious gift. Other then that, the whole blur of standing in the MCC ballroom right next to my best friend as an endless string of family and friends came to hug us was my favorite memory. They flew in from all over! It’s so humbling to know people love you, but maybe more humbling to see people love on your spouse–it made me fall more in love with Wes to see all his fraternity brothers and family friends drive all the way to my hometown because they love him.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? A HONEYMOON! Halfway through planning, Wes scored a dream job at Delta Air Lines. Tremendous blessing–but training started the Monday after our wedding! Those flight benefits will behoove us well into the future though. ‘Til then, we’re two of a kind working on a full house. I have the handiest husband, and our cute little Decatur home by East Lake Country Club is enjoying its facelift–and Wes is enjoying learning about things like my fall decoration, pumpkin, and mum budget.

Photographer: Holland Williams / Ceremony Venue: First Baptist Church of Montgomery / Reception Venue: Montgomery Country Club / Florist: Melissa Kendall / Cake Baker: Peggy McKinney / Band: Bobby Moore and the Rhythm Aces / Paper Products: Virginia Noblin / Bridal Salon: Bel Fiore / Hair Stylist: Amplify Salon / Makeup Artist: Hope Wallace / Bride’s Shoes: Jack Rogers / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Style 8472 in Navy by Sorella Vita / Menswear: Men’s Wearhouse / Getting Ready Venue: PARISH by Ashley Gilbreath

lisa Written with love by Lisa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Caroline Nelson reply

    Can you please tell me where the adorable floral romper she is getting ready in is from? Also, where the cute Alabama cookie with the gorgeous AW monogram welcome tag came from?

    Thank you!

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We’re starting a new feature round here called Southern Hospitality which I know y’all are going to just love! Why? Because it focuses on different cities and states across the South (hopefully yours!). How it works: Each month, we pick a Southern city and host an “expert” in that area. The expert will select their favorite items that give a taste of what the city is all about. These items will go in a customized tote to make the perfect gift bag for friends and family to enjoy upon arrival for your wedding weekend. A perk for attending destination weddings!

This month, we featured one of my all-time favorite cities and hometown, Nashville, TN! Holler if you’re from Music City USA! The Nashville “expert” was our good friend Amber Housley of Sweet Life Designs. Below are Amber’s picks for a Nashville tote bag. She chose everything from Loveless’ Cafe Butter My Biscuits Gift Pack (famous secret biscuit recipe you can make at home along with apple butter) to a bottle of Jack Daniel’s with glass bottles of Coke (since us Southerners know that Coke always tastes best in a glass bottle! – or Lemonade to make either one of these famous recipes: Jack and Coke or Lynchburg Lemonade) to tickets to a backstage tour at the historic Ryman Auditorium, the original home of the Grand Ole Opry!

A. Hatch Show Print Ladies Cowboy Tee ($20), B. Southern Artisan Chocolate ($5.99 each), C. Bluebird Cafe Gift Certificates (varies), D. Loveless’ Cafe Butter My Biscuits Gift Pack ($19.95), E. Bottle of Jack Daniel’s ($19.99), F. Spirit of Nashville Shortbread Tin’s with Willa’s cookies and Spirit of Nashville Postcards ($14.95). G. We Are Nashville Decal ($4), H. Handmade I Love Tennessee State Necklace in Silver ($55), I. Tickets to a Backstage Tour at the Historic Ryman Auditorium ($17), J. Plantable Music Note from Country Music Hall of Fame ($3.99), K. Blackberry Wine from Belle Meade Plantation Winery ($19.50) and Meet me at Belle Meade Plantation Recipe Book ($19.95), L. Tickets for a Dinner Cruise on the General Jackson Showboat down the Cumberland River and past downtown Nashville ($87.95).

Okay, these really make me want to plan a trip to Nashville. I mean a showboat. Any takers?

Amber also created an overlay to go on your Nashville tote. There are two options: You can download a PDF of just the design with no customization or you can download a PDF with room to add the couple’s name and date (example left). Either way, you can download the print from our site and take it to your local screen printer!

From the Nashville area and have additional suggestions to add to our Nashville tote? What did you love about Nashville if you’ve visited before?

Have a city in mind for future posts? Let us know!

Written with love by Sierra
  1. avatar Tracy reply

    You say in the blog that there’s a free PDF download but there’s no link?

    • avatar Sierra reply

      Hi Tracy, thank you for letting us know. I’ve relinked the downloadable graphics for you, so you should be good to go. Enjoy!

  2. avatar Southern Hospitality :: Atlanta Tote « Southern Weddings Magazine reply

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    […] Have a city in mind for future posts? Comment below and let us know! Check out past totes: Nashville Atlanta xo Sierra November 2, 2011 | view Sierra's blog 0 viewcomments hidecomments […]

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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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