News

The Southern Bride

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Let me empower the southern girl in all of us to make your wedding a reflection of what you truly want. Don’t let anyone persuade you to navigate away from those details and touches that you want to incorporate into you big day.

You are a Girl Raised in the South (GRITS) after all, so grab your mint julep and let’s get this shindig planned!

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For starters, it’s okay if your top three wedding supplies are sunflowers, an old pair of boots and mason jarslots and LOTS of mason jars.

If you want burlap table runners and antique milk pail centerpieces at your reception, girl, you do it.

Tease that hair to heaven. God is, after all, in heaven.

If you want to drop the “g” from every word in your weddin’ and replace it with an apostrophe, you get out that eraser and you do it! I do declare, it’s adorable.

Make everyone at your reception sit according to their SEC loyalties. It’s good to know your friends, it’s even better to know your enemies.

Like I said, buy those 150 mason jars with lids and straws that you are never going to use again just to serve sweet tea for 2 hours.

Coca-cola and Maker’s Mark are AMAZING wedding favors. It’s not trashyit’s a “nod to your roots.”

Moonshine. It’s a cultural thing.

Kindly request that your clean eating friends bring their own quinoa because you’ll be serving the four basic southern food groups: chicken, grits, biscuits and my personal favorite, red velvet.

I’m sorry but is a dog walking down the aisle any more unpredictable than a child? NO. Put a bow tie on that bulldog and include him in your ceremony.

A bag of boiled peanuts thrown in for good measure never hurt anyone.

So many cute sayings to pain on distressed wooden boards. You better get to it. Gotta give that paint time to dry.

What’s that? You’ve seriously underestimated the number of mason jars? By all means, girlGO BUY MORE.

And if in the midst of taking your engagement shots in the bed of a dusty old truck, you feel the eye of judgment upon you, take a swig of tea, chew your sugar granules and think to your self, “They’re just jealous, bless their hearts.”

images courtesy of Eric & Michael

Southern Bridal

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Bachelorette Trips: Four Awesome Southern Girls Weekends

A lot of brides are foregoing Bachelorette parties for Bachelorette weekends. It serves as a great break in the midst of wedding planning and the craziness of life and allows you to go off with your girlfriends without having to talk about the business of the wedding. (Do your bridesmaids a favor and drop the wedding checklists for the weekend…this trip is for fun). So where do you go? Here are a few great destinations for your bachelorette weekend.

Savannah
Savannah is the city for the history loving foodie bride who wants to relax. If you’re looking for an old southern city with amazing dining, beautiful buildings and limitless shopping, Savannah is a great destination. The biggest problem you will have here is narrowing down what you want to do. You and your girls will love walking the beautiful streets lined with historic homes and taking in a museum. Build your wedding trousseau at the local boutiques or hunt for beautiful unique wedding jewelry for your bridesmaids. Have a spa day at one of the many beautiful facilities and enjoy relaxed dining waterside as you sip wine and eat the local fare including seafood and old southern favorites. Savannah is for the bride who just needs to be transported for a few days to simpler times in a place where she can be near the melodic sound of the sea. See also Charleston.

Biloxi
For the bride who wants to try her luck before the wedding, Biloxi is calling your name. It’s the next best thing to Vegas and it’s within driving distance of most Southern towns. The great thing about towns with Casinos is that everything you could possibly want to do is very nearbybecause they don’t ACTUALLY want you to leave the casino. With live entertainment, lots of dining options and nightclubs, you can have one of those weekends where you don’t sleeplike in collegeexcept not because you have a paper due tomorrow. Biloxi is a great town to go to for the girls who need a little more excitement out of their weekend. Towns like Biloxi are designed to keep things bright and colorful all through the nightjust remember, this is a gambling town so don’t bet the wedding budget at the nickel slots!

North Georgia Wine Trail
Georgia has become an impressive winemaking hub. While it’s not Napa, it does make for a fun wine tasting weekend. Hire a car/bus/van, find some quaint mountain accommodations and head through the foothills on a journey to taste the sweetness of southern grapes. This weekend is great for the girls who want to spend the weekend catching up. There are no nightclubs to stay at, not a plethora of options in terms of sightseeing, but with just a weekend, you can get in a lot of that much needed girl time. This is also an excellent time for spa therapy. Wait…it’s always an excellent time for spa therapy. In addition to wine tasting, the trail is near outlet shopping, gold mining and some beautiful walking trails for those ladies that love to explore the outdoors. You may also choose to rent a mountain cabin, plant yourself in the hot tub with a glass of wine and laugh the weekend away.

No matter where you choose to go or what you plan to do with your bridesmaids, this weekend is an opportunity to take a break from the details of the wedding, get out of bridezilla mode (I’m not judging) and enjoy some real girl time.

Say “I Do” to Doing Good: Four ways to be charitable at your wedding.

It can be very easy to lose sight of what a wedding is all about. Sifting through vendors, cute Pinterest ideas and breathing in and out over general wedding sticker shock can make it easy to shift your focus on the business of weddings rather than the meaning behind them. A great way to keep you grounded and focused on what really matters is to infuse some giving into your wedding. Now I’m not suggesting that you depress the wedding guests with a Sarah Mclauchlan sountrack-ed ASPCA video prior to cutting the cake, this is, after all, supposed to be a happy occasion. There are some great ways to do some good for others as you say “I do.” And it’s great way to kick off your life together! Here are four ways to pay it forward during your wedding season.

White wedding dress hanging on a shoulders

Donate your Dress
Rather than spending a ton of money to preserve this worn-one-time outfit in the off chance that someone will one day unearth it out of a closet and want to wear it again, there are many places that you can donate your wedding dress for a great cause. A majority of charities that accept wedding dresses do so to sell at a discount for money for their organizations. Other projects aim to provide gently used gowns to brides who are going through a financial hardship of some kind and cannot afford their own. Research charities in your area that accept wedding dresses and see which pulls on your heartstrings the most. One charity that has made national news lately takes wedding dresses and repurposes them to create angel gowns and/or blankets for families who have experienced the loss of a baby.

Extra Food
A lot of times weddings end up with a ton of leftovers from the caterer. Everyone that stays later than the bouquet toss gets a doggy bag of leftover chicken tenders, beef wellington pastries and some wedding cake. How great would it be to, arrange ahead of time to have the leftover food distributed to the homeless in your area. Maybe it’s something you would book a later flight out for the honeymoon in order to participate. Take the food and spread the love of this special day with those who don’t know where their next meal is coming from. If you are worried about not having a lot of leftovers, buy extra food from the caterer to keep in the back or have your bridal party make up sandwiches the day before. Logistically, yes, this seems like a lot to take on in addition to the wedding itself, but think of the beauty of this gesture as well as the avoidance of so much wasted food.

Bring a Donation
While it may not be reasonable to ask you to write, “in lieu of gifts, bring a donation,” on your wedding invitation, you can ask your guests to bring smaller items for a specific cause. Maybe they can bring small toiletries and other items for soldiers gift boxes, school supplies for kids who can’t afford it or even canned goods for the local homeless shelter. These items are small and often inexpensive, but when combined in one effort can make a huge difference in the lives of a few and most people won’t mind the added request. You and your guests can feel great about your wedding day. Don’t forget to tally up the donations, tell them about the great cause and thank them for their generosity at the reception! Also, don’t forget to donate yourselfnever ask people to do something that you are not willing to do yourself.

Bride and Groom Gift
It’s become a popular tradition to bestow a token on each other before the wedding. It can be something sentimental or something expensive. But imagine if you and your spouse, in secret, chose to do something for someone else instead. In the midst of trying wedding cakes and choosing table decorations, you and your soon-to-be could have a great deal of fun finding a charity to donate money or supplies. Maybe a family in the community has been hit hard with a cancer diagnosis and they need a few bills paid, maybe you are both animal lovers who would like help end abuse or maybe there is some great environmental cause to give to. Decide ahead of time that your bride and groom gift to each other will be looking at the world around you and helping out those in need.

Paying it forward is a great way to add perspective to the stress of planning a wedding. There are so many great ways to do something awesome for others in the midst of the craziness. Still maybe your wedding is incredibly overwhelming to you and it’s simply not feasible to add one more thing to your listthat is completely understandable. I do challenge you, however, to make a commitment to your spouse that your marriage will always include a joint effort to look up every once in a while and lend a hand those who are struggling. You will never regret the decision to give.

label with Thank you!

This or That? Which bride are you?

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There are lots of decisions to make about your wedding. It seems like as soon as the ring is slipped onto your finger, it’s time to put your tennis shoes on and start running until the honeymoon. The amount of decisions to make about whom to hire can be simply overwhelming. But even before you get down into the nitty gritty of choosing vendors, there are some basic questions to ask first. Knowing the answer to these will help you narrow the playing field a bit.

Are you a local bride or a destination bride? Will you be taking the plunge in a place familiar to you or will you be opting for the oasis of a gorgeous destination? This decision, particularly if you choose for a destination wedding, can help a lot of other things fall into place for you. Either option makes for a breathtaking and meaningful day for you and your guests. While the logistics of a destination wedding can seem overwhelming, it makes for a seamless transition into your honeymoon and frees you up from worrying about much else than getting your people to pay for their rooms. The hometown wedding can be equally daunting but there is a lot of forgiveness built into the schedule since you can run home and get your wedding dress if you happen to forget it. That’s not going to be easy in, say, Barbados…but hey…you’re in Barbados.

Are you a church bride or a venue bride? One of the very first agreements between the bride and groom should be about where they want to take their vows. This should be between the two of you. No one else that day is going to be promising to be there during not-so-glamorous, ugly and downright hard times. Try to drown out the opinions floating around and choose a location that will mean something to you. Are you a couple that really want to have a traditional church ceremony? Or perhaps there is something meaningful about a particular location and you want to have your ceremony there.

Are you a big wedding bride or a small wedding bride? The truth is that there are pros and cons to both and if you choose a destination wedding, you are most always headed for a small wedding. Big weddings are pricier but small weddings mean tougher guest list cuts. The other truth is that you can’t even begin to calculate a budget until you know your headcount. So as hard as it is and as much as nailing people down to get headcounts on relatives is like herding cats, you’ve got to get your mind wrapped around your number and try to make that number fit with you big wedding or your small wedding.

Are you a sit down dinner bride or an hor d’oeuvres bride? This is going to make looking for a caterer a bit easier. Also, keep in mind, some venues (like hotels) require you use their caterer. But if you do get to choose, these two catering styles are vastly different. Although most Southern weddings lean toward a buffet style spread with seating, it’s not unheard of to have a fully catered dinner at the reception. Once you decide which route you are going to go, look for a caterer with great reviews for that style of reception.

There are going to be so many times during the planning of your wedding where you will be asking yourself, “Am I this or that?” Remember to keep focused on your most important wants and keep an open mind about the rest. There are no wrong decisions in this, there is only creating a day that you will remember fondly.

Laugh about it…A wedding with a sense of humor.

Let’s face it, most people love to laugh. And I find that laughter is sweetest in unexpected moments. In moments that are supposed to be solemn, when we are meant to be reverentsomething either completely unexpected or unexpected to us happens and it lightens the atmosphere and makes people perk up…
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Four Offbeat Wedding Ideas – Go Bold

Southern Wedding News_vintage wedding
Pin-up gangsta.

Go Back in Time

It’s one thing to go vintage.  It’s another to go full on reenactment for your wedding day.  But if history is your thing, pick a time period and go wild with ideas. Maybe you are a Civil War buff and want to Virginia Reel yourself down the aisle Scarlett O’Hara style, curtains and all.  Or maybe you and your fiancé love all things medieval and would like to pay homage to the Renaissance by toasting with your turkey legs at the reception.  For the history lover, this type of wedding can be so much fun to plan.  From authentic costumes to a sampling of the food of the time, you’ll guests will enjoy taking a step back in time to celebrate with you on this special day.  The possibilities and time periods are limitless and while not everyone will necessarily “understand” why you would want this type of wedding – well, who cares, right?  Off with their heads.

Honor your Obsession

Are you the biggest Disney fan on the planet?  Do you think Georgia is the greatest college football team of all time (my husband says the answer to this is yes)? Do you have every Lego set ever made (If so, my son would like to come over)? Embrace your obsession.  Whether you want to subtly work college hues into your color scheme or have Mickey Mouse marry you, this is a fun way to show off your personality.  Sit down before the planning begins and write down every possible wedding idea involving your obsession that you can think of (yes, some of them might be a little nutty).  Then go from there.  Maybe you want to incorporate Disney’s tradition of “Hidden Mickeys” into your day.  Perhaps a Bulldog grooms cake is appropriate.  Lego centerpieces, anyone? Maybe you want all of your wedding vows taken directly from the movie Scarface.  I’m not judgingI swear.

Occupational Weddings

I know of two dancers who got married onstage during intermission at the Nutcracker.  The audience members were their guests, the other dancers helped with the ceremony and their costumes served as their wedding attire.  It fit. They loved it.  Do you have an occupation that defines you?  Are you and your fiancé window washers who want to get married on the side of a building (unfortunately, due to my crippling fear of heights, I will be unable to attend)?  Are you a doctor?  A teacher? An occupational wedding seems like a fitting way for two people who have the same job to get hitched but you don’t necessarily have to have the same job.  Is there some fun way to pay homage to your life’s work as you marry your life’s partner?

wedding golf

Spotlight your hobby

I’ve heard it said that, “opposites attract but having similar interests is like cash in the bank.” As I look at this quote, I feel like I’m paraphrasing but you get what I mean.  It’s amazing that you and your partner have a hobby in common.  A wedding is a fantastic time to celebrate that similar interest.  So go ahead and get married while balancing on a rolling log at the lumberjack festival.  Nature lover?  Find a beautiful spot to hike to and get married at sunset. Do you both enjoy boating? Travel? Cooking? Golfing?  Find something that both of you have in common and find a unique way to delight your guests by incorporating it into your wedding.

You do not have to tie yourself down to a traditional wedding if it’s not you.  Weddings are a sacred time of commitment but should also be a reflection of who you are and the things that you hold dear.  So the sky is the limit (oooh, a wedding in the sky maybe)! Go forth, take inventory and be creative and bold!
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Woman in a wedding dress holding piggy bank

My Cheap and Meaningful Wedding

Ten years ago, I was planning my wedding. Wait, I’m having one of those cliché moments of panic and disbelief.

I just glanced over at the six year old who calls me “mom” sitting to the left of me playing Angry Birds on my iPhone and I’m wondering where this alien being came from.  Has it been ten years?

My wedding presents are practically antiques at this point.

Anyway, ten years ago…
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Southern Wedding News: Color Spotlight - Coral Ashe Greenwood by Bryce Lafoon Photography

Color Spotlight: Coral only wants to flatter you

When in color scheme doubt, go with coral.  Seriously, there is a reason that this not-quite-orange yet not-quite-pink color has been infused into so many weddings of late.

It’s such a versatile color. From beach weddings to shabby chic motifs, this color can do it all.  Don’t believe me? Of course you believe me…why wouldn’t you?
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Just Go With It…

You’ve dreamed, you’ve planned, you’ve pinned your little heart out. You’ve cried, you’ve compromised, you’ve vented over a few hundred glasses of wine to your girlfriends.

Now the big day is here.

It’s time to fret, to obsess, to worry about every little detail…

Or is it?
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