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Carnival Inspired Wedding in Madison Georgia from Liana Photography

This Bride is amazing. Yes, she is gorgeous, and yes her wedding is not only beautiful but fun – but this stunning lady also happened to plan her Georgia wedding all the way from Abu Dhabi. Yes you read that right. And that gorgeous dress she wore? She picked it out a week before her big day. So long story short, my figurative hat is off to this talented Bride, and I’m pretty sure yours will be too. See all the pretty images from Liana Photography here.

From the Bride… Carnival of Love. One that is not based on status, perks, social clubs, prim and proper, formal or any of that other stuff that sometimes gets in the way of a meaningful and happy wedding. Just a carnival of love. This has been the phrase to sum up our courtship. I first met Quincy while walking to work with him smiling at me and saying “You wanna get married?”….. It has summed up our lives together so far. We randomly decided to move to Abu Dhabi…. And it was only right for it to sum up our carnival/country themed wedding in Madison, Georgia.

Now I have seen many weddings and even many themed weddings, but none compare to the DIY talents, love, long distance planning and friendships that were manifested in our one special day, which was also our one year anniversary (this was supposed to be a surprise, but it turns out I told more close friends than I thought! Oops! So much for that grand announcement). We arrived back in the US only two weeks before the wedding and we had to hit the ground running immediately.

Our wedding day was as perfect and unperfect as our love for each other and while everyone urged us to submit our photos to someone, I was hesitant at first because too often people use these wedding blog platforms to brag about their fairytale stories, wonderful loves, lives and careers when all I want to do is to show our awesome pics, highlight our wonderful vendors and offer the background behind every DIY project and idea, to help brides begin to truly explore their creativity instead of falling in line with what everyone “expects” a wedding to be.

We wanted to have a carnival wedding because we love to have fun. I love cotton candy, my husband loves games, so it seemed perfect. We chose the location because although both of us are from big cities, we love the calm and quaintness of the country. Our wedding day included a bingo game, spiked strawberry lemonade, popcorn, peanuts and other carnival treats, and we wanted everyone to have fun and not be so stuffy. The ceremony was officiated by my father’s sister, in my father’s absence, since he passed away in 2006. My stepson was my husband’s best man, my sisters were my maid and matrons of honor, my best friend walked me down the aisle, and my closest friends served as my Golden Girls, who all sat in the front row during the ceremony. Our reception included almost all of the down south comfort foods, mini hot dogs and hamburgers, strawberry lemonade, sweet tea, beef brisket, mac and cheese, baked chicken, and funnel cake as dessert.

The story of Jessica and Quincy starts in Brooklyn, New York. From there, we got married in Manhattan, took our love abroad to Abu Dhabi, and began planning a wedding that I hoped would be all that I envisioned, down to the wedding date being on our one year anniversary…I’m such a planner! A wedding which started out being located in Greensboro, Georgia (where my mother’s family is from), and ended up in Madison, Georgia, which is literally the next town over.

What made this day special was all of the little touches and details. As the bride I had many DIY projects, which included the save the dates, reception menus, wedding fan programs (which included the wed lib game on the back), the carnival ticket centerpieces, our bunting at the entrance, our puzzle piece guest book, the photobooth frames, the seating place cards, mini pinwheels for every guest and the bingo cards. Our wedding favors; personalized mason jars stuffed with roasted peanuts, added such a nice touch to the table decor. We wanted the guests to remember the little things from their childhood that brought joy to their lives. The little things. Knowing that on that day we were also celebrating one year as husband and wife was a blessing as well. It felt like a true celebration and that we had already put in a little work, so this party was a treat for our accomplishment as a couple.

This turned out to be probably one of the most tedious projects I have ever worked on, as I am a true micro-manager and I always tend to insist on doing EVERYTHING myself. With this planning, so many things that I thought I desperately needed to make our wedding day perfect, did not happen in the end, but I learned to let go, trust my husband, friends and family and let things fall together, and they did (one example of this was going to see our venue for the first time and finding out the caterer we had selected was located right next door!) From the wedding invitations, to the bridesmaid dresses that my sisters thought looked like couch covers, to the food, decor, and picking out my wedding dress a week before the wedding, it took a lot, but was all worth it, and quite budget friendly, might I add.

I also chose to have what I called Golden Girls instead of tons of bridesmaids. I have way too many good friends and although I only chose my sisters and best friend from high school to serve in my bridal party, I still wanted these ladies to be recognized. They were asked to wear yellow dresses, the same color as my bridal party, and red shoes, the same color as my shoes. They took on various roles throughout the wedding day, from hosting our wedding bingo game to leading our sorority sweetheart song!

Photography: Liana Photography | Cinematography: Liana Photography | Floral Design: Le Petit Jardin | Event Design: Variety Works | Event Planning: Bride + Variety Works | Ceremony Venue: James Madison Inn | Reception Venue: Variety Works | Invitations: Tyra Nicole | Wedding Dress: David’s Bridal | Shoes: Traffic | Makeup: Erin Marshall | Hair: Suite Lavender | Favors: The Knot Wedding Shop

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Madison Georgia Wedding from Simple Color Photography + No Regrets Events

I may not know this darling duo in “real life,” but there is one thing I can say with absolute certainty. This wedding is soooo them.  A little bit classic, a little bit fun-filled and a whole lot of sophisticated everything, it’s the kind of day that is chock-full of elegant moments and bundles upon bundles of personality.  So even though we may only be virtual besties (we sooo are), it’s not hard to see their smiling faces bursting from every second planned to perfection by No Regrets Events and captured by Simple Color Photography.  See them all in the full gallery.

From the Bride… When we started planning our wedding, we tried to decide how we wanted to feel on our wedding day. We agreed that we wanted to be relaxed, traditional, and authentically us. We wanted family to be a big part of the weekend and we wanted a chance to really spend time with our bridal party and out-of-town guests. We answered this desire by doing a semi-destination wedding. We rented out the Farmhouse Inn in Madison, Georgia (a frequent childhood retreat of my family) for the entire bridal party to stay at, and had a ball staying up late around a bonfire the night before and having breakfast together the morning of the wedding. Both of our venues really captured the character of Madison and the feeling we wanted for our day; the church was an 1840’s beauty that touched on my love of history and our deep faith, and the reception hall was a renovated schoolhouse (perfect for a teacher-bride!) with an airy, lovely space for our guests.

The day was steeped in family and tradition, and I wore a traditional Irish engagement ring that has been in my family for generations and has been worn by every bride on her wedding day, as well as a garter made by my lovely grandmother out of my great-grandmother’s lace gown, and carrying the same handkerchief that my mother carried on her wedding day. The love that is carried through our families was displayed in canvas photos of mine and Andy’s parents and grandparents on their wedding days, bringing with them the memory of decades of happiness. The grandparents who are no longer with us were present through candles lit in the church and ornamented with beautiful pendants with their photos.

We love to swing dance together, so we chose Big Band Atlanta to play at the reception, and loved swinging the night away with our guests. When it was time to depart the band played the Georgia Tech fight song (for Andy!) and the University of Georgia fight song (for me!) and our guests chose white-and-gold or red-and-black pom poms to cheer us on our way. It was such a fun way to get our guests involved and have so much fun with the traditional going-away.

We were delighted with how smoothly and beautifully everything went; we were so relaxed and happy on our big day, and we wouldn’t change a thing!

Photography: Simple Color Photography | Event Planning: No Regrets Events | Floral Design: Le Petit Jardin | Wedding Dress: Justin Alexander | Ceremony Venue: Church of the Advent | Reception Venue: Madison-Morgan Cultural Center | Shoes: Franco Sarto | Catering: Hallie Jane's Catering | Band: Big Band Atlanta | Accomodations: The Farmhouse Inn | Parasol: Priscilla's Parasol

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here
Rustic Shabby Chic Wedding from Janet Howard Studio

Rustic soirees?  I love ’em.  Especially when they are bursting with sweet shabby chic details, a crazy beautiful bride and groom and one heartwarming moment after another, a little combo that this gorgeous day from Janet Howard Studio has in spades… and then some.  It’s a Southern affair with enough inspiration to last a lifetime… and it’s all sitting pretty in the full gallery.  Join me there for more.

Rustic Venue

From Janet Howard StudioI’m so excited to show you this gorgeous Georgia country wedding with tons of rustic details. The wedding took place at a private residence in a newly-built barn, and it’s a casual, fun day that features sunflowers, hay bale seating and decor, cowboy boots, and games of cornhole. Instead of a signature book or frame, guests signed custom corn hole boards. Lots of the decor was either DIY or done by family friends or local vendors in nearby Madison, GA where the wedding took place. The bride’s goal was for a rustic shabby chic decor and for everyone to be comfortable and have a great time!

Wedding Photography: Janet Howard Studio | Wedding Venue: Private Residence, Madison, Georgia | Officiant: Chad Cheatham | Floral Design: LePetit Jardin | Catering: Cheryl Gaines | Cake: Cecilias Cakes | Signs: Misty Autry | Sunflower + Hay Bale Linens: Madison Mall Market | Cookies: Baby Cakes | Favors: Oriental Trading | Corn hole Boards: Hammerhead Backyard Games | Cups: Ballard Designs | Invitations + Programs: | Paper Products: Party City | Wedding Rings: Jared | Wedding Dress: David’s Bridal | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: David’s Bridal  | Men’s Attire: Perno’s Formal Wear | Landscaping + Wood Blocks: Jack’s Creek Farm | Rentals: Madison Rental | Hair: Jennifer Johnson of Classic Hair and Spa Athens | Music + DJ: Chad Cheatham | Transportation: Big Dog’s Tire and Service and Limousine Service

Farmhouse Inn Wedding from No Regrets Events + Adam Nash Photography

Not only am I totally in love with this organic, farm wedding, I’m totally smitten with this adorable couple as well. I love the fact that they designed and created their invitations together and wrote their own, super personal vows. No Regrets Events designed this perfectly intimate and laid back affair while Adam Nash Photography snapped up all the pretty. And you can see it all right here.

From the Bride…Dustin and I are very outdoorsy people with a healthy affinity for nature. We got engaged while sailing in Florida, and knew that we wanted to have an outdoor wedding and reception. After looking at several venues outside of Atlanta we came across The Farmhouse Inn and knew that it was the perfect place to bring our family and friends for the weekend. The wide open spaces, the lake, sitting by the campfire, and dancing under the stars were all a part of the magic and intimacy that was our wedding weekend.

When we began planning, I was charmed to find that Dustin wanted to contribute so much. We had so much fun working hand in hand to create it all. There were many personal touches and handmade pieces of decor throughout. We designed our invitation suite together that we had letterpressed. Dustin built the chalkboard ceremony program, menu, and table numbers. We put together a crazy fun photobooth, cupcake display, and asked our favorite band Mudcat to play the reception. Our florist truly blew us away with the bouquets and centerpieces. All I asked was simply to reflect “a perfectly over-grown flower garden” and they nailed it. We didn’t choose specific colors that we had to abide by, rather we designed everything to be very organic, with soft colors. We didn’t want to distract from the natural setting that was already so beautiful. Every decor decision was made to enhance the natural landscape, and reflect our personalities.

While we wanted to throw a great party for our guests, we also wanted to build a meaningful, heartfelt ceremony. We wrote our ceremony together with the help of our officiant, and we wrote our own vows. After living with one another for 3 years prior to getting married, it was important that we felt married at the end of it all. We incorporated unique rituals, and had a dear friend recite The Irrational Season by Madeleine L’Engle.

While I wish I could go back and relive the entire day over again, there are 2 specific moments that stand out as my favorites. The first was when I was walking through the field, down the hill towards the ceremony on my father’s arm. The sky was cloudy, my dad was talking nonsense about the honeymoon (trying to keep his cool I’m sure) and the string trio was playing “Here Comes the Sun.” Then, right before we approach the aisle, the clouds parted and a beam of sunlight came shining down on us all. Dustin began to cry, and it was truly a magical moment that was missed by none.

Lastly, there is a family wedding tradition on my husband’s side of the family to play the song “Brick House” during the reception. But instead of the traditional words, everyone sings “She’s a BILT…..HOUSE!” Earlier that morning, my future sister gave me a bright green tank top that read “I’M A BILTHOUSE!” Right before they played that song, my MOH tossed the shirt to me and I threw it on over my dress to everyone’s surprise. What followed was a dance off! Each of the Bilthouse men danced with me and passed me off to the next, ending with my husband. Things got a little wild on that dance floor, and I will never in a million years forget it!

Wedding Photography: Adam Nash Photography / Wedding Venue: Farmhouse Inn at Hundred Acre Farms in Madison, Georgia / Event Planning: No Regrets Events / Floral Design: Le Petit Jardin / Wedding Invitations: Lenspeace

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here
Southern Vintage Inspired Wedding Photo Shoot by Berrytree Photography + Chancey Charm Weddings

What better way to celebrate America’s independence than with a good ole fashioned southern, vintage style photo shoot by Berrytree Photography! The unbelievably charming table arrangements and elements of gingham with lace have all been so beautifully coordinated by Chancey Charm Weddings and I absolutely love the splashes of cotton that Gardenia Floral Design added in the mix. Feeling extra peachy? Me too! Wait until you see the entire gallery here!

From Molly McKinley of Chancey Charm Weddings “Southern Peach” was the theme that Sarah of Berrytree Photography and I came up with after many hours of brainstorming. A styled wedding shoot inspired by the great Peach State… why hadn’t we thought of it yet?! Madison Oaks Inn was the perfect Southern bed and breakfast for the shoot to take place. Covered in giant oak trees and flowers of every kind, the grounds are an absolutely gorgeous place for a Southern affair. The home itself has a large porch with rocking chairs and giant columns that remind me of my grandmother’s. Of course, Coca-Cola (born in Atlanta, the South’s favorite drink) had to make a debut. We used vintage Coke bottles, along with vintage glassware, for the centerpieces. Each guest had their own glass bottle Coke. Place cards were real peaches with DIY pendant flags. As Southern girls, we often call ourselves “Georgia Peaches.” Peaches are one of the state’s best products and proud motifs! The fabrics incorporated by robintreelane were Southern as could be: gingham and florals, reminiscent of home. We used vintage doilies as “place mats” and rose-colored depression glass for the settings. Goodwin Rentals provided us with one of their farmhouse tables, along with stunning white chiavari chairs. Mismatched silverware, from different thrift stores, completed the look. The flowers, by Gardenia Floral Design, incorporated soft colored florals and cotton (another well-known Georgia product), with a pop of red to match our Coca-Cola bottles. The bouquet was tied with a vintage red polka dot scarf. Ashley Bardash, a Stella & Dot stylist and wedding planner, styled the jewelry for our Southern bride, who wore a vintage ruffled peach dress and a pearl bib necklace. What Southern girl doesn’t love ruffles and pearls? Invitations by Plainjane Designs were the perfect addition to the modern Georgia Peach’s wedding, with a watercolor background and bold fonts. Sugar Kneads Cakery designed a beautiful modern coral and peach cake, which complemented our colors so well! We loved the idea of having a custom cake flavor for both the bride and groom that reflected Georgia. Silver Lining Cupcake Company created two “special” cupcakes for our bride and groom: peach cobbler cupcakes for the bride, and cherry cola for the groom. Not only were they super cute, they were delicious too. Our models were a real Southern couple, both from Macon, Georgia, who just married this past March.

There are so many other ideas you could take from this shoot that we did not touch. Instead of a traditional guestbook, why not use a map of Georgia? Have guests sign by where they are from, where they were born, or their favorite place to visit in the Peach State. Treat your guests to boiled peanuts during cocktail hour! Have a sweet tea bar for your guests, where they can choose from different flavors and add fruit to their drink. Pimento cheese is always welcome at a Southern wedding. Pecan pie would be a yummy alternative to a groom’s cake! Dogwoods could be a fun addition to your flowers, and if you are on a budget, just fill thrift store baskets with peaches instead of using flowers for all of your centerpieces. Your bridesmaids could also carry baskets of peaches, with a few flowers tucked in. Be creative and have fun with planning. Take the time to think of what truly reflects you as a couple, and incorporate those ideas into your wedding. Southern girls, be inspired by your roots. You are part of a beautiful history!

Photography: Berrytree Photography / Photo Shoot Venue: Madison Oaks Inn & Gardens in Madison, Georgia / Styling + Planning: Molly McKinley of Chancey Charm Weddings / Floral Design: Gardenia Floral Design / Invitations + Paper Goods: Plainjane Designs / Wedding Cake: Sugar Kneads Cakery / Cupcakes: Silver Lining Cupcake Co. / Cake Stand Rental: Barron’s Rentals / Chiavari Chairs + Farm Table Rentals: Goodwin Event Rentals / Napkins, Runner + Ties: robintreelane / Wedding Dress: Vintage / Bride’s Makeup: Linda Brothers Purvis, Independent Mary Kay Consultant / Jewelry Styling: Ashley Bardash, Independent Stella & Dot Stylist