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Turning a Local Eatery Into the Prettiest Celebration Spot

This Atlanta wedding captured by Tenth and Grace will make you rethink your local eatery. Fave restaurants aren’t just for dinner and drinks; they also make the perfect backdrop for celebrating “I Do’s”. And this location done up with florals by Gold & Bloom proves extra special because it was the site of many a date for this Bride and Groom and also sits right across the street from where they got engaged. So to say JCT Kitchen was written in the stars for these two is a complete understatement.

Nicole and David wanted a wedding that really reflected who they are as a couple – part traditional, part modern and completely Atlanta. Choosing JCT Kitchen as the venue for their wedding was an easy choice – the couple lived nearby while they were dating and often dined at the restaurant. They even got engaged across the street! So the location was so meaningful to them and it was the perfect spot to exchange their vows. Although it poured fifteen minutes before the ceremony, the clouds moved out just in time for Nicole to walk down the aisle and we even enjoyed some sunshine later in the day. It was a beautiful day for this sweet couple!

Photography: Tenth & Grace | Coordinator: JCT Kitchen + Bar | Floral Design: Gold & Bloom | Wedding Invitations: Minted | Wedding Venue: JCT Kitchen + Bar | Ring Box: The Mrs Box | Vow Books: Seniman Calligraphy

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Bury a Bottle of Bourbon – This Groom Will Tell You It Works!

The forecast looked dreary when this groom turned to an old wives’ tale as a last resort and buried a bottle of bourbon…and boy, are we glad he did, because this perfect wedding day turned out to be so darn gorgeous! Jump right in to this classic, Southern fête at The Tate House, captured by the always wonderful Sawyer Baird.

From Sawyer BairdThe day was one that I was worried would be rainy and dreary. We had our fingers crossed for the couple of weeks leading up to the big day. The groom buried a bottle of bourbon and to say that is a wives’ tale, well we will never know, because it has certainly worked for all of my couples who have tried it! The sun came out, and it was a beautiful sunny day.

Caroline and Jared shared one of the most beautiful, heartfelt days in the North Georgia mountains close to where they grew up and now live together as one. Caroline and Jared shared such a beautiful first look together before the ceremony to have time together (which is something I always suggest), and even though they did a first look you can tell in Jared’s face as Caroline walked down the aisle that in that moment things are still so special, and it is such an amazing moment for both the bride and groom. It was in that moment that I,  as an outside party, remembered why I do what I do. It is these moments that are reminders that even in the hustle and bustle of wedding days, the little moments are the ones that will get to you.

Clean and classic is the bride’s style, and I think it shows. Classic greens, whites, and a black tux is one look that I will never be tired of as a photographer. It is something that I know in 30, 40, or even 50 years will never be old.

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Photography: Sawyer Baird | Cinematography: Black Hill Films | Floral Design: The Tate House | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Show Me Your Mumu | Hair + Makeup: Vigilante Cosmetics | Calligraphy: Carolyn Lohman | DJ: Backwood Boyz | Groom's Attire: Calvin Klien | Ceremony Music: test | Venue: The Tate House | Paper Goods: Crane & Co.

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The Key to the Perfect Outer Banks Wedding

We don’t need to tell you that the Outer Banks in North Carolina is a gorgeous place to tie the knot – the beauty in this seaside paradise truly speaks for itself. But if you’re on the lookout for a resort that can host your Big Day sans any stress on your part, we can help. The Sanderling Resort sits right on the Atlantic and has some amazing venue + package options that will bring your entire vision full-circle. Check it out.

The key to any amazing wedding? Finding the right locale. And with Sanderling Resort, you can pretty much sit back and relax while their planners take care of it all for you, starting with helping you land on the right package option. Sanderling Resort offers five elopement packages for 15 – 60 guests that include everything from wedding cakes to s’mores around the fire pit. Their full-service package works for those larger celebrations for up to 180 guests and their winter package waives the facility fee and the food and beverage minimum, which is awesome. And if you want to talk venues – you can tie the knot seaside on their beautiful beach or Observation Deck, host a grander event at their House + Deck or Pavilion, or celebrate in an intimate soiree at their Kimball’s Kitchen or Keeper’s Loft.

From their fresh southern coastal cuisine to their team of pros that know everything there is to know about planning a seaside wedding, we love Sanderling Resort and their breathtaking Outer Banks locale. To find out more about planning your Big Day, call their fab team of wedding planners at 877.300.0624 or visit their website here.

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THIS Is How You Throw the Ultimate South Beach Wedding

Thinking of saying “I do” in South Beach? Then let this gorgeous wedding (and couple) be your guide. Literally everything about their day screams total glamour – from the decor to the dance ’til your drop reception to the luxurious W South Beach locale. Find out so much more about throwing your very own dream wedding below.

Miami is made for marrying. And the W South Beach? They know how to get it done. From your very first moments of planning to your last sip of champagne, their team of wedding professionals will help you create that wedding you’ve always wanted, just like this gorgeous couple’s Big Day. They definitely took advantage of the amazing views from the oceanfront locale, awesome venue choices (indoor AND outdoor) and customizable menus. We love the way they transformed the Great Room into an ultra-luxe Miami party, and are especially smitten with The Grove for an al fresco reception up to 150 and the Cabana at WET for an intimate celebration if you’re looking for something a bit different. And don’t even get us started on the gorgeous rooms, guest amenities and fun activities. We love the WOW factor.

Whether you plan on saying “I do” with just a few close friends and family or want to throw the celebration of the century like this stunning duo, the W South Beach can make it all happen… and beautifully. From their amazing staff to their Whatever/Whenever® service (they’ll truly bend over backwards) to their awesome wedding packages, you honestly can’t go wrong. For site tours and booking, contact Marina Serret at 305.938.3028 to get your Miami party started.

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Contact the W South Beach to ask about SAYING “I DO” IN STYLE

  • Complimentary in-suite couples massage for bride and groom during the wedding weekend
  • 1 -Year-Anniversary complimentary room night with breakfast in bed
  • Cabana for the day after the wedding with a bottle of Veuve Clicquot
  • Complimentary 1 Hour of Wonderful Bar
  • Special pricing for Rehearsal Dinner and Wedding Brunch available
  • Minimum revenue applies

Photography : Max Photo | Wedding Dress: Stephen Yearick | Invitations: Wedding Paper Divas | Makeup: Veronica Gonzalez | DJ: DJ Xio | Officiant: South Florida Officiant | Monogram, escort cards, welcome sign, & welcome bag stationary: Siuleth of Eleven Note | Bridal Robes: Etsy | Cake and Dessert Bar: Elegant Temptations | Ceremony and Reception Venue: W South Beach | Floral Design and Decor: Nellie Matos | Here Comes the Bride Sign: The Ritzy Rose | Programs: Infinity Paper | Reserved Sign: Etsy

An Insider’s Guide To Your Birmingham Wedding

When it comes to tying the knot, Birmingham is one of those hidden gems that makes your wedding weekend just as fun as it is stylish. Trust us, just one stop in “The Magic City” and you’ll be smitten. Which is why we’re teaming up The Westin Birmingham to bring you a little insider’s guide on how to make the most of your Birmingham celebration. From fun activities to amazing restaurants, we’ve got you covered.

BEST SPOT FOR PHOTO OPS

Our Pick: The Westin Birmingham.

Why we love it: We all know that choosing a venue with stellar photo ops is sooo important, and The Westin Birmingham will definitely not disappoint. We can’t get over the vertical wall and stairs combo that jumps out at you the second you walk into the lobby (hello, drama) AND the views of Uptown from the rooftop pool. Taking those newlywed images to an entirely new (breathtaking) level has never been easier.

Our Pick: Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Why we love it: Three words: sooo many flowers. Plus, gorgeous greenery and awe-inspiring structures, too. Which means that you can snap those moments with your love surrounded by everything from beautiful roses to tulips to camellias, the perfect backdrop for those fall wedding captures. Bonus? It’s just a 10 minute drive from The Westin Birmingham, so you don’t have to miss your entire cocktail hour.

FAVE RESTAURANTS 

Our Pick: Todd English P.U.B.

Why we love it: No wedding is complete without a fabulous lineup of restaurants on the itinerary, and if one of those restaurants happens to be in the lobby of The Westin Birmingham? Even better. Todd English P.U.B. boasts a full Raw Bar, plus a lineup of traditional American “comfort foods” that will leave your tummies happy. And the Bloody Mary Cart? A must for your morning-after brunch AND a quick jaunt down from your luxe accommodations.

Our Pick: Perry’s Steakhouse

Why we love it: Just a short 20 minute Uber from The Westin Birmingham’s Uptown location, Perry’s Steakhouse is one of our fave spots in Birmingham. Why? It’s tasty award-winning menu will get you every. single. time. and the cocktails are super tasty. We suggest trying this locale out for a yummy rehearsal dinner or bachelor/bachelorette party.

Our Pick: Galley and Garden

Why we love it: And speaking of rehearsal dinners, the Galley and Garden is a beautiful spot for that night-before celebration with your nearest and dearest. We’re sort of obsessed with the historic Merritt House locale and the beautiful private dining options will really make your evening stand out. Oh, and the food? Spectacular.

FUN ACTIVITIES

Our Pick: Top Golf Birmingham

Why we love it: Guys, Top Golf is the best. Whether you’ve never picked up a club in your life, or happen to be the next Jordan Spieth, trust us on this one: you and your guests will love it. Plus, with good food, good drinks and fun to be had by all, it’s the perfect spot for any of those pre-wedding parties you have on the lineup… or a getaway with your love post-nuptials.

Our Pick: Sips n Strokes

Why we love it: If you’re looking for a more laid-back activity, Sips n Strokes is IT. Think wine, painting (your very own works of art) and tons of laughs with your besties. We’re loving this Birmingham hot spot as an amazing girls’ getaway with your bridal party – or a fun activity with all of your nearest and dearest who are in town to celebrate you and your love.

Our Pick: Locked in Birmingham

Why we love it: Having a list of activities for your guests is one of the most important parts of planning your Big Day and they’ll absolutely LOVE you when you add this brain charger to their itinerary. Because nothing says “bonding experience” quite like a game that requires you to use clues to escape from a room with your friends and family. So fun, you guys.

Ready to plan the week or weekend of a lifetime? Contact The Westin Birmingham as your starting point. They’ll take care of all of your wedding dreams (luxe accommodations, beautiful venues) and the city of Birmingham will handle the rest of the fun.

Photography: Sam Jasper Photography | Photography: NicTay Photography

A Classically Elegant Southern Wedding – With Fun Airline-Inspired Details!

Earlier today we got a good look at the colorful engagement shoot for these two jet setters and now it’s time to soak up their elegant Southern ceremony, one beautiful bloom and travel-inspired detail at a time. Amy Arrington captured it from start to finish and our gallery is jam packed with all the goodies, rounding out our day in the most delightful of ways. And don’t miss Imagine Video Productions film as well; can this get any better or more beautiful!?

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From the Bride… We chose to have our wedding at The Cloister on Sea Island. It’s such a special part of the country and we wanted our friends and family to share and experience true Southern hospitality.

I loved planning the wedding, it was such a fun thing to do. Though it can get a bit overwhelming at times, a friend of mine said that this is the one time you have to do it, so enjoy all the steps in planning it! When doing so, we wanted to personalize a few items of the day. Charles and I love to travel, it’s no secret that we bonded over airplanes and places we wanted to go. Our friends know we are the go-to people for airline advice, as well as travel tips! We brought the travel theme into the wedding by having our seating chart be a departure board, with the different airports and places we had visited and loved together. We had the obvious ones (JFK, ATL, LAX) but then had some of our unique trips TOS (Tromso, Norway) and LIM (Lima, Peru – both of our first trips on the other side of the equator). We also incorporated some smaller details, we made paper planes to serve as place cards at each seat.

The most special moment from the wedding day to me, was seeing our families come together for this union. Charles’ dad, Edward Ralston, had been in the hospital just two days before our wedding and we weren’t sure if he was going to be able to make it to the ceremony. To see him and his wife walking into the chapel with Charles, and being involved in the day, was such a blessing and a moment we will cherish forever.

Another moment that I remember is reading the letter Charles wrote me and seeing him at our first look. We wrote each other letters that would be presented to one another on the morning of our ceremony but we didn’t talk about what was in them, or how long they were going to be. It’s funny because when I started reading his, we ended up saying very similar things to each other in our own ways. We spoke about our dreams of our wedding as kids and how they both involved finding the right person to marry and knowing that it would be a very happy marriage. It was so special to see that he and I spoke of the same things to each other. I also remember seeing him as I walked up behind him for our first look. I was so excited that I wanted to run towards him. I didn’t know if I was going to cry or not but ended up just having the biggest smile on my face. I think from that moment on during the day and into the evening, I didn’t stop smiling or wanting to hug and kiss him.

A fun moment during the process was finding my wedding shoes! I knew I wanted to get a really fun, great pair of shoes and knew just what to do. I worked for an airline at the time, and my great friend from work and I would go on weekend trips to Europe (a great perk!). We decided that for the wedding shoes we would have to go to the best place we could think of – Paris! We hopped on a plane, went to Paris for a long weekend, and shoe shopped all day long. I tried on a few pairs at Le Printemps and then went into Dior. I saw my shoes and fell in love with them. They are completely unlike me, I wear typically plain pumps, but these were so special and screamed wedding to me. They had a delicate abstract satin rose on the front in a light pink. I knew after trying them on that I had found the pair – kind of like how you know with your wedding dress! They are so special and whenever I wear them I think of the crazy, fun trip I took to go find them! We even had the same flight attendants on the way back who knew of the story and couldn’t stop saying how great the shoes were as well as the story!

If I could offer one piece of wisdom to couples currently planning a wedding, I’d say take time each weekend to sit down and talk about things with your significant other. We set aside a few hours each Sunday afternoon to get a lot of the planning items done, so that we could focus on being together during the week and not having the entire wedding consume our whole life. Also, I’d suggest reading the Love Languages book. Our pastor had us read it individually and then we sat and talked about our different love languages. It was really eye opening to both of us and helps us understand the other person’s love language and let’s us figure out new ways to show them “I love you.” It was definitely a great way to start our marriage.

Charles and I decided to put our roots down in Atlanta, his hometown. It’s been amazing so far, we love our new house, our new golden retriever, Stella, and are happy being in the same time zone finally!

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Photography: Amy Arrington Photography | Videography: Imagine Video Productions (Ryan Lindsey) | Event Planning: Sea Island | Wedding Dress: Pronovias | Bride's Shoes: Christian Dior | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Jenny Yoo | Wedding Venue: Sea Island | Bridesmaids' Robes: Plum Pretty Sugar | Pastor: Bill Barrow | Rehearsal Dinner Venue: Ocean Forest Golf Club (Ann Heins)

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Rainbows + Spanish Moss for this Sweet Southern E-Shoot

We’ve got quite the double dose of Southern style for you here today! Not only do we get a peek into the colorful engagement shoot for these two cuties but we get to dive wholeheartedly into their classic “I do’s” at the stunning Cloister on Sea Island later today. Amy Arrington captured both special sessions and we’re oh so grateful she did! To kick start our special day, let’s love on this sweet e-shoot among the Spanish moss right this way…

From the Bride-to-be… Charles and I met about 10 years before we started dating. We met while we were at University of Southern California (Go Trojans!) when I decided to join the golf club, and he was the President recruiting new members. We had a lot of friends in common but just never connected in more than a friendly way during our years at college. Fast forward to 2012, I found myself back in LA and realized that Charles and I only lived eight blocks from each other in Manhattan Beach. We started hanging out as friends after realizing that we had so much in common, including our love of airplanes in particular. We started dating in May 2013, and just eight months later, I got offered my dream job in New York. Needless to say, we traveled long distance for the next three years, flying back and forth between LA and New York, and only missed a handful of weekends together. It was tough, but he was definitely worth the red eye trips back to New York! Because of my job, we got to travel a lot and had some amazing experiences together. We went to Norway in January and saw the Northern Lights, flew to Ireland to play golf for Charles’ birthday, and hiked the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu for my birthday. We’ve had some amazing adventures!

We knew that we wanted to have our engagement pictures in Sea Island, Georgia because that is where we would get married. Charles grew up going to Sea Island with his family, and they always spent important holidays there together. Charles’ parents actually went to Sea Island on their honeymoon, and while riding around the beach on bikes picked out houses they wanted to own (as we all do in amazing places in the world.) Mr. Ralston ended up buying one of the houses they saw a few years later and they have it to this day.

A year into dating, Charles brought me to Sea Island to spend Easter with his family. I remember immediately falling in love with the Spanish moss hanging from the live oaks; it seemed to be the perfect combination of romance and Southern heritage. There are some beautiful golf courses down as well, and because we are both golfers, it was never hard for his parents to get us out to the island for a weekend. Sea Island is such a special place that has a lot of Ralston family history associated with it. It’s not just a beautiful place, but a place that has a lot of deep rooted meaning with our family.

We had pictures taken on the Avenue of the Oaks, a beautiful long drive on the way into The Lodge, part of The Cloister. The Lodge has ruins from the colonial era that we used as a really beautiful backdrop. We then went and took pictures at a secret driveway on the island (I can’t tell the location though!!) and at Charles’ house. The engagement scene was really wonderful because working with Amy and Brandon was so easy. They have the kindest of hearts and are just a joy to be around. They put you at ease the second you start talking to them, and you barely notice when they start snapping away! Our session was during the 4th of July weekend, and it was of course SO hot and humid the day of our photos (like any good Southern summer day). It rained in the morning but the silver lining to that was that we had a beautiful rainbow over the ocean when we took pictures at Charles’ house.

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Photography: Amy Arrington Photography

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A Celebration That Embraces Its Southern Roots

You can take the blogger out of Savannah, but you can’t take the Southern out of the blogger. And so the story goes with this gorgeous Bride and her wedding day celebration that embraces the beauty of a true Southern affair. Designed by Posh Petals & Pearls, with blooms and greenery by August Floral Design and The Happy Bloom behind the lens, feast your eyes on this botanical inspired wedding.

From Posh, Petals & Pearls… Tess was such an awesome bride to work with! She came into wedding planning with the idea of what she wanted but wasn’t dead set on anything in particular (except pink) which made things super fun! Tess has always had a love for books and currently writes for her own blog, Peaches to Apples (www. Peachestoapples. Com) which focuses on a mix of cuisine, culture and commentary from a Savannah, GA raised southern peach who has found herself transplanted into the big apple of NYC. When we first sat down to discuss an overall theme or look for the wedding she knew she wanted an “enchanted forest” theme that also tied in her love for the south and books. We brought on Kim Cheney of August Floral & Event Design who helped us totally nail this look. From the handmade trees, Spanish moss wrapped books and even birds nests with baby quail eggs tucked throughout some of the arrangements, the “enchanted forest” theme came together seamlessly.

From the bride…Our wedding weekend was Southern from the start, kicking off on Thursday night with a Lowcountry boil for family and friends. From our ring bearer dressed in seersucker to our historically Southern venues (including the country’s oldest golf club), we infused Southern touches throughout our wedding weekend. Even our signature cocktails were based around Southern flavors like pecan pie and sweet tea! Also, like a true Southern gal, I love a good monogram so all the bridesmaid bouquets were wrapped with monogrammed ribbon. The one on my bouquet featured my married-name monogram and served as my “something new”. Of course, the most Southern part of our wedding was how much of a PARTY it was! The room was filled to the brim with happiness and people barely left the dance floor.

Albert and I wanted our wedding day to have a romantic botanical vibe and to feel like “us”. That meant lots of greenery everywhere and a more natural color palette that didn’t scream “wedding.” The goal was to coordinate, not match. My bridesmaids chose their own dresses off the rack in a light grey and the groomsmen wore blue suits that they would actually re-wear. We also tried to include personal touches like vintage books (a nod to my love of reading) and a cigar bar (alluding to our upcoming minimoon to Cuba).

Photography: The Happy Bloom | Florals: August Floral Design | Wedding Dress: Theia | Cake: Savannah's Hall Of Cakes | Stationery: Color Me Carla | Shoes: Loeffler Randall | Hair and Makeup: Salon Aqua | Lighting: JLK Events | Groom's Attire: L&S Tailors | Bridal Boutique: Lovely Bridal Shop | Design + Planning: Posh Petals and Pearls | Golf Club: Savannah Golf Club | Religious: Temple Mickve Israel | Rentals: Savannah Special Events | Rentals: Savannah Vintage Rentals | Veil: Noon on the Moon

When Rain on Your Wedding Day Is Actually a Blessing

This Bride had two dreams for her wedding: to hold the ceremony in the backyard of her childhood home and to wear her mother’s wedding dress. And while the carefully preserved gown fit her like a glove, rain threatened the other dream. At the last second, the weather looked like it would clear, so the sweet Bride decided to delay the ceremony – which ended up being her best decision! She quietly waited in her parent’s bedroom for the sun to reappear, and for the first time in months, she was able to sit and soak in all that was happening that day. Ashley Baber Weddings and Legendary Events are the duo who pulled off this outdoor wedding just minutes after the rain, and we’ve got the pretty photos by Virgil Bunao Photography to share with you here.

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From the Bride… William and I had our wedding in my parents’ backyard, which had always been a dream of mine growing up. It is a magical backyard: eight acres of beautiful valley filled with green grass, big trees, fragrant honeysuckle, merry creeks, and dragonfly ponds. So the morning of my wedding day, I woke up in my childhood bedroom. It felt right. The walls that had seen so much of my life story so far were now sending me off into a new chapter.

Two lovely young women from Aura Hair & Makeup arrived bright and early to do up the ladies. William and I decided just to have our siblings in our bridal party, so my future mother-in-law, Rose, my future sister-in-law Jordan, my mother, and I gathered in the kitchen for beautification. I also asked my dearest friend, Meghan, who has been my surrogate sister since middle school, to come and hang out with us. She brought her brand new baby girl, Elizabeth, with her, and everyone took turns cooing over the baby when they weren’t in one of the hot seats. There were some very happy moments of exchanging gifts, working on last-minute homemade crafts with my little brother, Tanner, hugging beloved grandparents as they arrived, and watching the final preparations under the tent outside. At some point, the boys arrived, and I hid on the kitchen floor behind the island while they headed down to the basement for their own preparations. Don’t worry; it is a very sexy basement, with a pool table and ping pong table to keep them occupied. But I loved the idea of William and I getting ready for our big day in the same house. Once it came time to change, I dressed in my parents’ master bedroom while William donned his suit directly below in my dad’s office. The nearness was such a fun tease.

In addition to getting married in my parents’ backyard, my second childhood wedding dream was wearing my mother’s dress. I grew up looking at pictures of my mom in her bridal gown and thinking she was (and is) the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. Well – would you believe it? – that dream came true as well. We took the dress out of the sealed box, where it had been residing under my parents’ bed for over 30 years, and it fit perfectly. Perfectly! All we did was add an inch or so of lace to the hem because I am taller than my sweet mama. And I wore flats, which I would have done anyway because of the whole backyard wedding thing. (And the I-hate-heels thing.) So it was a very special moment when my mom helped me into the same dress that she had worn on the day she married my father. I also wore a pearl necklace from my paternal grandfather who passed away in 2013, a sapphire ring from my maternal great-grandmother, and a pearl bracelet that William sent up to me from the basement that very day. I felt quite literally wrapped up in love and family. Also, I will add this nifty suggestion from my mom for any Brides or Grooms reading: Find a perfume or cologne that you love but which you wouldn’t wear every day. Only wear it the week of the wedding and on your honeymoon. Then, if you ever wear it again in the future for an anniversary or special occasion, that scent will immediately take you back, since your sense of smell is the one most closely tied to memory! I chose Jo Malone’s Peony and Blush Suede, and that scent now magically conjures some of my happiest memories.

Once we were all dressed, it came time for the father-daughter first look. We had a tradition in my family that my little brother and I always sat and waited at the top of the stairs on Christmas morning until my parents gave us official permission to come down. At various intervals, we called out, “Is it okay to come down yet?” until they replied “Alright!” with camcorder in-hand. It seemed fitting to sneak upstairs in all my bridal glory and call out, “Is it okay to come down, Daddy?” He followed tradition and replied, in a chipper voice, “Alright!” I descended that stairwell and felt so much love and appreciation for my family waiting below that I thought I would burst. My paternal grandfather, who is normally a tough teddy bear, probably lost it the most. I was doubly glad to be wearing my mother’s dress, knowing how much it meant to the man who bought it the first time around.

The weather predicted rain, and the sky sure looked ominous, so I resigned myself to the “Rain Plan” and quickly moved on. After months of worrying about the weather, it suddenly wasn’t important now that I was hours away from marrying William. That was all I cared about. I just wanted to get married. Pictures were a bit of an improvisation because the rain started coming down and coming down sideways. But Virgil Bunao and his photography team worked wonders. I am forever grateful to have had Virgil by my side throughout the day. It was imperative to me that I feel comfortable, relaxed, and myself with our chosen photographer, because in some ways, that is the person you see the most on your wedding day. When I met Virgil, I immediately fell in love with him. And when he journeyed to New York to shoot our engagement photos, William did, too. Virgil filled our day with laughter, joy, fun, and calm, and he let us be one hundred percent us, one hundred percent Hanley-and-William. And he took some gorgeous, unparalleled photos while he was at it.

Once guests began arriving, I went back into my parents’ bedroom to hide. Originally, the guests were supposed to head straight down to the ceremony site – a bridal path lined with enormous oak trees that formed a natural cathedral– but because of the rain, they all ended up in our living room and kitchen. I could hear the chatter grow and swell as more and more people arrived. Then my dad came in and said something unexpected and a little miraculous: “Hanley, I think this rain will pass if we delay. Do you want to get married down on the path if possible?” I hesitated for just a second and then gave him a fervent yes. So we delayed! And I entered into one of my favorite memories of the day. I got to sit quietly in my parents’ bay window, all ready to go, and just wait. It was the first time in days, maybe weeks, that I had sat still and basked in the moment. I could hear all those voices in the living room, the voices of people I loved, who had come just to support us, to witness for us. William and I are both actors, and it felt a little bit like what we call “half hour,” when the audience is taking their seats and you are getting ready to go on. I was in a real-life dressing room, sitting through a real-life half hour, waiting to go on for the most real-life of performances. And somewhere nearby, William was waiting, too. I cherish that moment so deeply. The moment before. And sure enough, the rain stopped.

The incredible team of Ashley Baber Weddings and Legendary Events, who between the two companies did everything from planning to tenting to catering to portable restroom-ing, rushed down to the ceremony site and dried off all of the seats, pulled tarps off of seating areas, got the outdoor bar ready, set out the lawn games, and basically did their best to hide the fact that we had just endured several hours of torrential downpour. Slowly the living room got quieter as guests made their way outside. I could hear our two dear friends, Trevor and Andrew, playing guitar and singing through a setlist that William and I picked out together down on the path. I watched from the bay window as our co-officiants, William’s best friend, Quin, and a beloved minister from my childhood, Reverend Wolf, headed down. Soon, only my father and I were left. After a moment of panic when we realized I had left William’s ring in my bedroom and my poor dad had to race back into the house to get it, we headed down. I hid behind a lace parasol that my mother bought for me since there was no way to disguise our approach. Once we arrived, I handed off the parasol and hid behind my father instead. The music changed, and the ceremony began.

William didn’t want us to see each other before the ceremony so that he could get an undiluted emotional wallop as I walked down the aisle to “Sweet Thing” by Van Morrison. I clung to my dad’s arm, shaking all over with the importance of the moment, and tried to take in all the faces as I walked by. But the face I was most excited to see was waiting at the end of the aisle, beaming at me. William and I wrote our ceremony script together, a mixture of traditional liturgy and our own ideas, a balance of the secular and the sacred. The best example of this: When Revered Wolf said the traditional “If anyone here can show just cause why these two people should not be married, speak now or forever hold your peace,” Quin countered with “Conversely, if anyone here can show just cause why these two people absolutely SHOULD be married, please reach below your chairs and do not keep your peace at all, but make a joyful noise in support of their union!” And guess what? We had taped kazoos to the bottoms of all the chairs. It gave us a wonderful chance to really look back at our guests and soak up the sight of them, feeling their positivity and blessings pouring over us. William and I also said both traditional vows and our own vows that we wrote independently so as to surprise each other. Holding William’s hands, staring into his beloved, beautiful eyeballs, making promises to each other, and feeling the loving presence of our guests, our witnesses, our village… That was my favorite moment out of the entire day. I LOVED our ceremony.

Unbeknownst to our guests, the Big Fun Brass Band from New Orleans snuck up behind them during the ceremony, and as soon as we kissed and were announced husband and wife, they struck up a rendition of Saint-Saëns’ Symphony No. 3 in C Minor, more popularly known as “If I Had Words,” as our recessional. Once William and I reached the end of the aisle, I picked up my parasol, the trumpets really blared, and we danced our way up to the house in a good, old-fashioned, NOLA-style Second Line Parade! We had bought white umbrellas for the guests as their party favor to protect them from rain or sun (or both, as it happened), so everyone grabbed one as they left their seats and we paraded to the reception. Along the 5-minute route, we had a drinks stand and passed appetizers, because eventually William and I stopped, turned around, and made the Second Line Parade into a Receiving Line so that we could greet all of our guests. This way, everyone had sustenance while they waited. We took our photos while the guests enjoyed a very Hanley-and-Willliam-esque cocktail hour. There was a Bacon and Biscuit Wagon (two of our favorite things) with multiple kinds of bacon, biscuits, and spreads. In addition to the regular open bar options, we offered two delicious craft beers specially-made for us by our friend Matt Curling, who will soon be opening up his own brewery called Variant Brewing in Roswell, GA. William’s beer was a Centennial-style IPA and mine was a raspberry gose. There was beer pong, corn hole, etc. and all with the fabulous brass band music bouncing along in the background. Thankfully, my childhood friend and professional videographer, Chandler Mays, of Bright Elephant Productions, beautifully captured the whole day, so I have a sense of the fun that was had while we were elsewhere.

William and I took a moment to ourselves so that I could change into a reception dress – a fabulous, lightweight gown by Modern Trousseau with pockets that looked like the playful baby sister of my mom’s dress – and so that we could just be alone for a second to revel in our newly-married state. Then we made our grand entrance into the big tent and ran straight onto the dance floor. We commissioned the brass band to compose a version of “Clair de Lune” as William and I both love that song, and it turned out to be a great, jazzy, danceable rendition and a very unique first dance song. Then we bid a grateful farewell to the wildly-talented Big Fun Brass Band, and the truly show-stopping Atlanta Showstoppers took over for dinner and dancing.

The two things I hear the most from our guests about our wedding are: 1) I loved your vows, and 2) THAT BAND, THOUGH. The Atlanta Showstoppers are the best wedding band on the planet. They can play anything and everything and sound like the original band while they do it, and they are as kind and lovely as can be as human beings. I barely got to speak to anyone because we were all so busy dancing like maniacs. My favorite mishap: William danced so hard that he literally ripped his pants open, from belt buckle to crotch, and he had to borrow a pair of my little brother’s khakis for the rest of the night! Thank goodness the wedding was in the backyard!

If it isn’t apparent already, William and I really wanted our wedding day to be filled with our personalities, and I think the way we exited the wedding is one of the best examples of that. We had discussed a fun, old car, but that was a little more expensive than it was worth, so William came up with a brilliant Plan B. We are both runners, so what if we literally ran out of the wedding? I loved it, and we decided to go whole hog. We created a hand-painted “Start” banner; we made “race bibs,” mine with the number 64 and his with the number 16, for our wedding date, 6/4/16; he wore a “Just” sign on his back and I wore “Married” on mine; we tied penny-filled PBR beer cans attached to strings to our waists and they dragged along the ground behind us; we replaced our wedding shoes with running shoes; and we wore headlamps on our foreheads to light our way into the dark. Our guests lined up with sparklers, creating a kind of runway for us, with the start line at the end, and with a big huzzah, and maybe a bit too much speed, we ran off into the night and into our lives as a married couple! In a kind of perfect circle from the beginning of the festivities when I could hear our guests in the living room, we could hear people cheering in the distance behind us as we jogged through an otherwise quiet and still evening. We traveled a full mile together, and it was actually magical to have another chance to soak in the moment, to revel in what we had just done, to honor the fact that we were now an official team, and though we had our village behind us, our marriage was now ours. The wedding was just the beginning.

I cannot thank my parents, our families, our friends, or our vendors enough for that day. While things went awry and some balls were dropped and it rained off and on the whole day, none of that matters. It is forgotten in the glow of all the things that went absolutely right, often in ways I could never have predicted or planned. That would be my last piece of advice to any Brides or Grooms: lay the foundation and then let the day happen. Live it. It really is just the beginning! Many blessings to you!

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Photography: Virgil Bunao Photography | Cinematography: Bright Elephant Films | Event Planning: Ashley Baber Weddings | Floral Design: Legendary Events | Wedding Dress: RL Couture Bridal Design & Alterations | Catering: Legendary Events | Hair + Makeup: Aura Hair | Officiant: Reverend John Wolfe | Officiant: Quin Gordon | Ceremony Musicians: Trevor Vaughn and Andrew Pastides | Ceremony and Reception: Bride's Parents Home | Cocktail Hour Musicians: Big Fun Brass Band | Decor: Legendary Events | Photo Booth: ShutterBooth | Reception Band: Atlanta Showstoppers

This Bride Wore 3 Dresses on Her Wedding Day

We’ve seen many a wedding where the Bride wore her mother or grandmother’s dress, but this story is a bit different. This stunning Bride, Anna, wore her grandmother’s dress that was also worn by her mother, four sister and 14 other women in their family! A truly special heirloom that inspired her vintage style soiree. Anna also had two more wardrobe changes, totaling three dresses. Amazing right? Eliza Morrill captured every moment (and every fashionable number) of this meaningful day—see it all here.

From Eliza MorrillWhen most brides envision their wedding day, they likely don’t envision wearing the same dress as her mother and all four of their sisters – much less by fourteen other women in their family! For Anna, though, that wasn’t the case. Wearing the dress that her great grandmother purchased in 1965 was an honor and a necessity. For that reason, she based her whole day around the dress, keeping everything light and elegant to match the vintage gown. Anna, a nurse, and Nick, an attorney, met in Anna’s hometown of Columbus, Georgia, and immediately hit it off. Though Nick was living there and Anna two hours away in Atlanta, it didn’t take long for them to realize that they were meant to be. Anna soon moved back to her hometown and, not much longer, the two were engaged! When Anna began planning their wedding, she knew that she wanted to celebrate all of the meaningful relationships in their lives: “I envisioned our wedding day being a really happy and beautiful day. I knew it would be very emotional and full of love – not only between Nick and me, but between our families and friends.”

The end result was a classic, elegant day with pops of fun and color to make it truly stand out. As the youngest of five girls, Anna wanted to ensure that her sisters’ dresses had a little extra “something” to distinguish them from the rest of her bridesmaids, who wore floor length, pale pink gowns. That said, she opted for the same dress but with a pop of color – a colorful, floral watercolor design on the skirt. It was the perfect touch. Nick and his groomsmen opted for white dinner jackets – the perfect compliment to the girls’ attire. Even the couple’s dog, Nala, made an appearance – sporting one of the most breathtaking flower collars I’ve ever seen. When choosing her vendors, Anna made it her priority to keep things local. “It was important to me to highlight our wonderful vendors here so I decided to ‘shop small,'” she said. “My good friend Courtney made my bridesmaids’ earrings. Our family friend at Shuler Studio designed the beautiful monogram that we used everywhere from the invitations, to the cocktail napkins and stirrers, to the gobo lit up on the gorgeous rock wall at The Big Eddy. My sisters even did the calligraphy!”

Though the details and vendors made the day unique and special, one part of the day, in particular, stood out to Anna: “My favorite moment, hands down, was walking down the aisle. I loved holding my dad’s arm and I LOVED seeing Nick’s face. I also loved those couple of minutes right before walking down the aisle with just me and my dad. It was a special feeling.”

For her reception, Anna felt that a wardrobe change was in order: “Although I loved the traditional feel that my mother’s gown had, I thought for the reception I would wear something a little more trendy- So I went with a BHLDN dress and belt that my best friend and maid of honor, Rion, surprised me with!”

Anna + Nick’s reception reflected her new dress – traditional decor but with a little more fun. “I wanted to surprise Nick and my dad with a few things, so I got the local cigar store to help me find a cigar roller to come to the reception. We had a cigar and bourbon/scotch bar on the patio and the men loved it! We also served mini cuban sandwiches at the cigar bar to go along with the theme,” Anna told us. “Once the band really got started, we handed out light up flower crowns to my bridesmaids and the mother of the bride and groom, which really highlighted them and made them feel special (and beautiful because everyone feels beautiful with a flower crown!)”

To top off the night, Anna opted for one more wardrobe change – an homage to a tradition of her mother’s generation. Anna wore a hot pink dress by Abbey Glass and Nick a blue sport coat as they ran down a tunnel of tossed lavender and sped off in a red cadillac. Truly, it was a day to remember!

“Tradition, family, and community are very important to me,” said Anna, “and I think that is what the guests could feel.”

Photography: Eliza Morrill Photography | Videographer: Perfect Circle Films | Event Planning: P. Hasting Design | Floral Design: Albright's Florist | Cake: Tara Van Etten | Invitations: By Invitation | Ceremony Venue: St. Paul UMC | Reception Venue: Big Eddy Club | Bride's Shoes: Pursona | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Alfred Sung | Catering: Big Eddy Club | Hair and Makeup: Emily Cumings | Groom's Attire: Henri's Formalwear | Bridesmaids' Jewelry: Bent By Courtney | Departure Dress: Abbey Glass | Monogram: Shuler Studio | Reception Dress: BHLDN

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The Magic of This Southern Wedding is All in the Details

Just like it’s the little things that make you fall in love with someone, it’s the little things that will make you fall in love with this Georgia wedding because for Megan and Adam, the dream wedding was all in the details. From a playlist carefully selected to ensure a packed dance floor to alternative guest activities (like cornhole), this day wasn’t just about the bride and groom, it was about making sure everyone was as blissfully happy as the newlyweds! Scroll on down for all the special moments, captured by the one and only Amy Arrington Photography!

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From the bride… Our story began in 2011 during football season while attending Georgia Southern University in the small southern town of Statesboro, Georgia. Fast-forward to four years later in November 2015, and we were happily engaged at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens.

Within a week or so after our engagement, Adam and I were already visiting a potential venue, “Little River Farms.” The moment the tour ended, we canceled our appointments everywhere else and never looked back. Little River Farms immediately gave us this feeling of “home” which was really important to us since our goal as a couple has always been to make everyone feel as comfortable as possible.

Choosing details that allowed people to feel like they were celebrating “with” us was a huge priority. We had an incredible catering company that allowed us to taste all of our food beforehand so we knew what our guests were being served. We listened to every single song on our band’s list to determine which ones would connect with our family and friends and keep them on the dance floor the longest with us. Seating charts were a huge deal to us because we wanted our family and friends to not have to worry about finding a spot to sit or not fitting their large family at a table together. We setup corn-hole boards outside for the guests whom preferred the fresh air and perfect Georgia weather. All these small things (and more) truly allowed us to connect with all of our guests in different ways.

Speaking of details, one of the aspects of our big day that has an interesting story behind it was my wedding dress, or should I say dresses? If you’ve ever seen a Hayley Paige dress, you know they’re irresistible and are all so perfect it’s hard to decide on just one of them. So I didn’t. My mom and sister still laugh about it because my perfect dress was actually two. I took the top half of The Ellie Gown and had it sewn on to the bottom of The Elysia Gown. It may have been a total diva move, but the end result was more than worth it. I was a little nervous having not been able to try on the actual dress before it was created, but it was truly a masterpiece and something I will never forget.

Looking back at our magical day at Little River Farms, if there’s anything I could pass on to future brides, my biggest advice would be: don’t be afraid to step out of the box or go the extra mile to follow your heart. It may sound cliché, but looking back I realize that focusing on the details is what truly made the difference; we wouldn’t have had it any other way.

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Photography: Amy Arrington Photography | Videography: Imagine Video Production | Floral Design: Boukates | Wedding Dress: Hayley Paige | Cake: Cakes By Anna | Invitations: A&P Designs | Bride's Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Bari Jay | Catering: Event Wise Catering | Hair + Makeup: Veronica Sitterding | Band: The Moxie Band | Groom's Attire: Macy's | Groomsmen's Attire: Macy's | Venue: Little River Farms | Bridal Boutique: Wedding Angels Bridal Boutique | Day of Paper Goods: The Brumby Nest | Event Planning + Coordination: Then Comes Marriage (Morgan Hereth) | Groom's Shoes: Cole Haan | Groom's Tie: High Cotton Ties | Linen Rental: Cover Ups

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This Venue Looks Like It Was Made for the Bride

Can a venue be made for a Bride? We certainly think so after seeing Eliza Morrill Photography’s bridal portraits of this gorgeous gal, with her stunning red hair and porcelain skin shining against the backdrop of the gorgeously aged walls of Illges House. P. Hasting Design and B. Andreson Floral customized the space to the Bride’s vision, and the final look could not have fit the Bride more perfectly. See it all in the Vault!

From Eliza Morrill Photography… What happens when a NICU nurse falls in love with a captain in the Army? A sweet, dreamy wedding day that will have us drooling for years to come. Ivey and Michael met on Tinder, of all places, and immediately hit it off on their first date over Thai food and a trip to the shooting range (what else would we expect from a military man?!). There’s no doubt these two were made for each other, and the rest is history.

Ivey and her team of vendors did an exceptional job of seamlessly marrying tradition with whimsy, creating a unique twist on the classic southern wedding. That said, she didn’t want to overdo it in the planning process. “Prior to planning our wedding, I envisioned a relatively small, intimate gathering of family and friends,” Ivey told us. “I had been a Bridesmaid in ten weddings prior to my own, and I knew after experiencing the planning process with these friends, I wanted to be able to enjoy each moment of the planning and each day of our engagement.”

When asked about her vision and style for the day, Ivey remarked, “The style I was going for initially was farm-to-table. I knew from the beginning I wanted things to be simple yet elegant. It all seemed to come together when I met with my floral designer, Brooke Anderson. I began telling her my visions to include lots of greenery. She immediately caught on to the style and thought of the potted herbs as centerpieces. I chose my favorite colors for the overall color palette. I referred to them as dusty rose and dusty blue. After choosing our reception venue, the Illges House, I knew the color scheme would be perfect.”

The Illges House, indeed, offered the perfect color scheme – an antebellum home full of unique and modern decor, and exposed patina plaster served as an incredible backdrop for Ivey’s porcelain skin and red hair. Seeing her seated on the emerald velvet sofa reminded me of Boticelli’s Venus! Ivey and her Bridesmaids – her sister and her best friend – carried bouquets of peonies, ranunculus, and anemones with a long, blush ribbon trailing from Ivey’s hands. “The flowers were by far my favorite part of the decor. I told Brooke I wanted everything to be very loose and natural, and that is just what she provided. It was magical!,” Ivey said.

Ivey’s gown, by designer Tara Keely, was seemingly made for her, and the Bridesmaids’ blue tulle skirts and simple, white tops were the perfect amount of playful and elegant. Michael wore his traditional dress blues and showcased his many medals (some of which he earned while he and Ivey were dating!) and had one of the sweetest reactions to seeing his Bride that we’ve ever photographed. To say that he loves his wife would be the understatement of the century, and watching the subtle ways he doted on her throughout the day had us melting. The feeling was certainly mutual: “My favorite moment of the whole day was walking down the aisle to my husband. I chose to have my mom and my stepdad walk with me, and I was immediately overcome with emotions as the doors opened to the chapel. From seeing Michael’s face to seeing all of the friends and family who had come to celebrate with us, it was the most joyous moment. I could not have been more thankful in that moment for all of the incredible people we have in our lives.”

The two were married in the same chapel where Ivey’s parents tied the knot years before and were married by a dear family friend. They entered their reception through a traditional saber arch (and cut the cake with a saber, too!).

Rather than traditional centerpieces, Ivey opted for potted herbs that also doubled as gifts for her guests. Classic southern fare was served on vintage china while a keg of craft beer flowed nearby. Guests danced the night away to music played by close friends of the couple before exiting through a tunnel of glowsticks. As for Ivey’s advice to other Brides? “For anyone planning their wedding, I would say to remember to enjoy each moment. It is easy to get caught up in the little details, but those details don’t matter at the end of the day. Remember the reason for your wedding to begin with. At the end of the day, you get to be with the one you love, forever!”


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Photography: Eliza Morrill Photography | Coordination: P. Hasting Design | Floral Design: B Anderson Floral | Wedding Dress: JLM Couture | Cake: Tara Van Etten | Invitations: Wildfield Paper Co. | Ceremony Venue: St. Luke United Methodist Church | Reception Venue: Illges House | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Revelry | Catering: The Farmhouse Ellerslie | Hair + Makeup: Anne Robertson | Beverage Services: It's Your Day Catering | Bridal Boutique: J. Andrews Bridal | Reception Music: Cracker Jack Prize | Rentals: Outdoor Events

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Our Fave Places To Tie the Knot In Buckhead

There’s no doubt that Atlanta’s wedding game is strong, especially if you’re looking to take your celebration a little north to the uptown district of Buckhead. But if you find yourself waffling on just where to say “I do” in this historic locale, no worries. We’re counting down four of our faves to help you out.

Photo Courtesy Of: The Westin Buckhead Atlanta 

THE WESTIN BUCKHEAD ATLANTA

Why we love it: With over 30,000 square feet of event space, The Westin Buckhead Atlanta always delivers when it comes to hosting magazine-worthy celebrations. And their talented weddings team, culinary expertise and proximity to all of that fab Buckhead shopping is key to any awesome wedding week or weekend. Plus, we absolutely adore those luxe accommodations. It’s just what you need after dancing the night away with your loved ones.

What you can’t miss: Their reception options. With over 20 venues woven throughout their property, you can celebrate your newlywed status in everything from a grand ballroom to a garden terrace. Urban vibe meets serene green space never looked so awesome.

Photography: Amy Arrington

ATLANTA BOTANICAL GARDEN

Why we love it: You know we love a good garden ceremony, and if you’re looking to say “I do” surrounded by lush florals or just steps away from a picturesque pond, you’ve found your winner in the Atlanta Botanical Garden. We’re especially fond of the Alston Overlook with its Midtown skyline views and intimate setting for just 60 of your nearest and dearest. Now that’s romantic.

What you can’t miss: The Rose Garden. It features over 21 varieties of your fave flower and it’s amazing.

Photography: Justin DeMutiis 

THE SWAN HOUSE

Why we love it: Put simply, ceremonies at The Swan House are quintessential southern affairs. They’re grand, they’re classic and they’re all sorts of take your breath away dreamy. So are we obsessed? You betcha. And those gorgeous staircases are literally are everything.

What you can’t miss: The museum tours. Guests aren’t allowed to party inside the mansion, but you can offer them tours of all of the beauty before you say your “I do’s.” We absolutely love that.

Photography: Carla Gates

THE ESTATE

Why we love it: Centered in the heart of Buckhead, once you enter the grounds of The Estate, you’ll feel like you’ve literally into another time and place. That’s because these three acres smack-dab in the center of the city are surrounded by tall trees that cocoon you from all of the outside activities. And with outdoor ceremony options that include a beautiful fountain, you’ll be giving your Big Day that historic charm you wanted.

What you can’t miss: The charm and history. This sweet locale won The Buckhead Beautification Award for a reason.

If you’re ready to tie the knot in Buckhead, be sure to visit each of these amazing locales for more information. And don’t forget to contact The Westin Buckhead Atlanta for all of your reception and accommodation needs for an event that is fabulous from start to finish.

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9 Wedding Locations You Havent Heard About Yet

We know that finding the perfect wedding venue isn’t always easy, especially if you’re looking for something that totally speaks to you and yours. So today we’re running through a list of nine (yes, NINE) fab venues we absolutely love, so you can find that dream locale. Scroll for some hidden gems you haven’t even heard of.

THE ST. REGIS WASHINGTON, D.C.

Why we love it: Just steps from the White House, The St. Regis Washington, D.C. is the perfect mix of luxe accommodations and upscale wedding offerings – all with a dash of historical charm. You can opt for a cocktail hour in the Italianate revival lobby, or celebrate your “I do’s” in the Astor Ballroom with its hand-stenciled ceiling (an original 1926 decorative feature) and Palladian windows overlooking The Astor Terrace. This place is beautiful, you guys – and it’s no wonder it continues to be named the “Best Hotel for Small Weddings” by Washington Magazine. It’s just that good.

What you can’t miss: The Astor Terrace. Perfect for ceremonies OR receptions, this gem of an outdoor space features a dreamy fountain. Need we say more?

W SCOTTSDALE

Why we love it: Located smack-dab in the middle of Scottsdale’s Entertainment District, W Scottsdale is every modern lovin’ bride’s dream. Think totally chic contemporary spaces (both indoor and outdoor) perfect for celebrating your Big Day, plus amazing accommodations that will make your entire wedding weekend.

What you can’t miss: Their fab W Insider service. It’s concierge plus some with everything you’ll ever need just a push of a button away. Whatever you want, whenever you want it.

LE MÉRIDIEN DELFINA SANTA MONICA

Why we love it: Situated just three blocks from the ocean with great access and breathtaking views, plus offering up some awesome amenities for guests (hey there, Bicycle Programme), Le Méridien Delfina Santa Monica seamlessly combines a glam spot to say “I do” with all of that laid-back Southern Cali charm we love so much. We’re obsessed with their Pool Terrace receptions, not to mention their chef-inspired catering menus and views of the Pacific Ocean.

What you can’t miss: Their venues. From the Delfina Ballroom to the Terrazza GardenLe Méridien Delfina Santa Monica has you covered when it comes to celebrating in style.

HOTEL COLONNADE CORAL GABLES, A TRIBUTE PORTFOLIO HOTEL 

Why we love it: Ideal for those travel lovers who want to say “I do” in complete luxury, the Hotel Colonnade Coral Gables has elegant weddings (and accommodations) down to an absolute science. From their 23,000 square feet of event space to their gorgeous venue options (hello, marble-tiled rotunda) to their talented staff that knows everything there is to know about throwing the perfect wedding, you’ll most definitely be making a statement.

What you can’t miss: Their Make a Green Choice Program. Guests receive a $5 food credit or 500 SPG points just for making the choice to conserve natural resources in their room. We love that.

THE WESTIN CHICAGO NORTHWEST

Why we love it: It’s hard not to fall in love with a setting as pretty as Hamilton Lake and when you add in a climate-controlled tent and fully-renovated guest rooms, you have yourselves one of the prettiest wedding locales in all of Chicago. Plus, the Westin Chicago Northwest also offers up a plethora of indoor + outdoor venue options, customizable menus AND your very own wedding specialist.

What you can’t miss: Their 24-hour room service. (Enough said.)

SHERATON SAN DIEGO HOTEL & MARINA

Why we love it: You honestly can’t go wrong with a San Diego wedding, and the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina is the epitome of a perfect SoCal soiree with a gorgeous seaside location and deluxe amenities. Now add in a stunning garden ceremony spot (with marina views) and indoor venue options that are just as cool and you have the perfect place to say “I do.”

What you can’t miss: The Culinary team. They’ve been named “Best Caterer” by San Diego Magazine for 15 years running. Yum.

THE EQUINOX, A LUXURY COLLECTION GOLF RESORT & SPA, VERMONT

Why we love it: You know we can never get enough of Vermont weddings and if you’re looking for the perfect destination spot: this is it. From their three unique venues (Pond Pavilion, Colonnade Ballroom and Meadow House) to the amazing views of the Equinox Mountain and the Taconic Mountain Ridge, The Equinox Resort has everything you’ll ever need for that dream wedding… AND can accommodate anywhere from 80 to 250 guests.

What you can’t miss: The activities. This four-season resort offers up a world of fun-filled adventures, from golfing to skiing to fishing to snowshoeing – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

THE ST. ANTHONY, A LUXURY COLLECTION HOTEL, SAN ANTONIO

Why we love it: Four words: Open-air rooftop ballroom. Yep, you can literally dance the night away under the stars. Plus, the St. Anthony has been hosting weddings for over a century, so you know you’re in good hands with their talented staff of event professionals. From their gorgeous rooms to their convenient downtown locale, you won’t be missing a thing.

What you can’t miss: The details. From crystal chandeliers to a winding staircase to theatrical lighting and a 19th Century French tapestry, get ready for some non-stop oohing and ahhing.

THE WESTIN GALLERIA & OAKS HOUSTON

Why we love it: If you’re having a celebration with a lot of out-of-town guests, you can’t pick a locale better than the Westin Galleria & Oaks Houston. Its Uptown location paired with its amazing guest amenities and reception space for up to 1,000 makes it the ideal location for those looking to explore the Galleria neighborhood of Houston. Think shopping, dining and spa-ing the days away. It’s perfect.

What you can’t miss: The Monarch Ballroom. With floor-to-ceiling windows and views of the city, this 24th floor gem is a reception dreamland.

Visit SPG Weddings to find out even more about these hidden gems AND all of the amazing perks of having an SPG Wedding. You can thank us later, friends.

College Sweethearts Tie The Knot In True Southern Style

Michelle and Jeff knew that in order to pull off their dream Southern wedding, they needed a dream location. “We knew we wanted to get married at a place that encompassed all of the things we value which is family, friends and of course, animals,” Michelle said. Naturally, they turned to Georgia’s Barnsley Gardens as the backdrop for their entire wedding weekend and the result was a springtime affair filled with timeless style, Southern charm, and a whole lot of love. Take a peek at their special day (including a cameo from the couple’s darling pups!) all captured by Simply Sarah.

From the bride… Jeff and I met during our junior year at Clemson University and were completely enamored with college life full of friends, football, and fun. Our paths had crossed a time or two before, but it wasn’t until the night of a football game tailgate that we decided just bumping into each other occasionally wasn’t going to cut it. Jeff was on the baseball team at Clemson and although I rode horses and knew nothing about sports, we quickly realized that we shared so many other things in common and fell completely head over heels for one another.

After graduating college, Jeff was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers and pursued a career in professional baseball while I moved back home to Atlanta to begin my first job. After only a few months of long-distance, Jeff retired from baseball and immediately jumped on a plane headed for Atlanta so we could be together again. Being ‘college sweethearts,’ we weren’t exactly prepared for the trials we would face in the transition from college to real life. Through that tough transition, one thing never changed and that was our love for one another.

On February 7th, 2016, after 6 years of dating, we went from just growing up together to growing old together when Jeff asked me to spend forever with him. It was truly the most amazing moment of my entire life! He knows me all too well and included the two most important things in our lives in his proposal: our bulldogs, Charlie and Sophie.

When it came to planning our wedding, we knew we wanted to get married at a place that encompassed all of the things we value which is family, friends and of course, animals. We wanted to get married close to Atlanta since it’s not only where I grew up, but where we now both call home. The moment we saw Barnsley Gardens we knew it was the place for us—not only is it completely beautiful and encompasses an amazing story of love, but it was the perfect place to host all of our friends and family in one location, including our two pups! Our one wish was to have a wedding weekend rather than just a wedding day, so we kicked off the weekend with a southern-style welcome barbecue in the beer garden and ended with a farewell breakfast in an old 19th-century farmhouse. We chose to have our wedding ceremony in a beautiful, intimate chapel on the grounds and then held a cocktail hour and the reception in the ruins and gardens of an old estate built in the 1800’s by Godfrey Barnsley for the love of his life. Is that not the most magical setting you’ve ever heard of to begin our new love story together?!

We aspired to have a celebration truly capitalizing on the beauty of springtime in the South. This became the inspiration for all of the design details throughout the day- from our ceremony in the chapel adorned in lush greenery to our reception in the gardens with floral arrangements in soft hues of blush, peach, ivory and blue. It’s funny where design inspiration can come from sometimes- during the search for dresses for my bridesmaids to wear, I fell in love with the steel blue color that my Maid of Honor wore. It ended up being the color inspiration in many places from linens to floral elements and paper goods. At the end of it all, we wanted to be able to look back and feel like the whole day just felt like “us.” Every design element we chose was selected with our own styles and personalities in mind; simplistic yet romantic and timeless. A day that we will look back on in 50 years and still think it was just as beautiful. The old ruins was also a huge inspiration to the design as well. There was so much natural beauty throughout the grounds that allowed the beauty of springtime to show that we truly didn’t need to do much!

Looking back we do have one favorite part of the day that stands out above all the rest. Instead of attending cocktail hour with our guests, we chose to take the time after our ceremony to spend just the two of us and reflect on everything from the day. There was dinner set up on a private patio where we could sit and eat and talk about our excitement to now be married. It was such a special moment and I couldn’t recommend doing this more to future couples! During this time, we were able to visit with our two pups too! The photos Sarah was able to capture during that time with them are some of my favorites!

Simply Sarah Photography was an absolute dream to work with! Sarah is incredibly talented and captured our wedding perfectly. Jeff and I were very hesitant when we first got engaged about being “bad” at taking photos. That thought was quickly whisked away when we met Sarah for the first time for our engagement photos. She made us feel so comfortable in front of the camera and we couldn’t have appreciated that more. We truly can’t recommend Simply Sarah Photography more! She is the sweetest, most professional person and we felt so honored to have her capture the most special day of our lives. Best decision you can make is hiring her for your wedding!

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Photography: Simply Sarah Photography | Coordination: Kristen Scott | Floral Design: Lindsay Coletta | Wedding Dress: Pronovias | Cake: Sugar and Slate | Invitations: Marked | Shoes: Aquazzura | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Monique Lhuillier | Hair + Makeup: Jennifer C. Nieman | Band: Trotline | Groomsmen's Attire: Suitsupply | Venue: Barnsley Gardens Resort | Bridal Shop: Bel Fiore Bridal | Live Painter: Paint by Chloe | Rentals: 12th Table | Rentals: Crush Event Rentals | Wedding Design: Tailor & Table

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A Dreamy Driftwood Beach Shoot for Summer Love

The beach has long been my special place but this one right here takes the cake. Subtle yet striking style and plenty of romance – with just a dash of coastal charm for good measure – this scene is the epitome of summer love if we do say so ourselves. Posh, Petals & Pearls orchestrated the looks and Amanda Watson captured it all for our hungry eyes to enjoy – see every pic right this way!

From Amanda WatsonI am the host behind this inspiration shoot. I’ve always loved the historical side of Jekyll Island but there are so many other beautiful areas of the island including Driftwood Beach where I have wanted to shoot for some time. I wanted this shoot to bring out the natural textures and tones of the beach and surrounding sights.

I enlisted the help of Posh, Petals & Pearls to perfectly execute this vision. Tara & her team did an impeccable job bringing the beach tablescape to life with custom driftwood place cards, an oyster garland and sea glass votives – perfect for any coastal bride!

Incredible florals from Marble & Pine brought out the colors of the sunset and were such a stunning addition to the table. And the bride’s bouquet was to die for and such perfect florals for any bride of almost any season!

The cake reflected the tones and textures of the waves. Cathy Huber brought it to life with ruffled layers topped with a beautiful silver sea fan and oyster shell.

Our real bride wore a beautiful Carol Hannah gown that flowed in the wind and waves along the shore and if the dress didn’t evoke enough romance, it was just oozing from our real couple Karli and Will having it been just over their one year anniversary – what a perfect way for these still newlyweds to celebrate!

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Photography: Amanda Watson Photography | Event Planning: Posh Petals and Pearls | Floral Design: Marble + Pine | Gown: Carol Hannah | Cake: Cathy Huber Cakes | Hair + Makeup: Emma Collins Beauty | Venue: Driftwood Beach | Film Lab: Indie Film Lab | Ribbons: Tono & Co | Workshop: Amanda Watson Workshops | Workshop Host: Amanda Watson Photography

This Beautiful Bride’s Father Officiated at the Ceremony!

The ceremony is undoubtedly among the most memorable moments at any wedding, but it was extra special for this Bride’s Southern wedding planned by Design Studio South. After her father walked her down the aisle, he turned around and officiated the ceremony! She explains, “Each word had extra meaning as it was the first man I loved marrying me to the last man I’ll love.” The beautiful moments don’t stop there, so keep scrolling to see all the photos of the day, from the always-dreamy Jenny Yoo Bridesmaids’ dresses to the garden-worthy florals by A to Zinnias, captured by The Happy Bloom.

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From The Happy BloomMyles and Brianna’s wedding day was full of laughter, love, and pretty pops of lavender! Talk about the perfect spring wedding day here in the South. Brianna and her girls began their day at a beautiful, light-filled mansion in historic Savannah, Georgia, with fresh flowers all around and champagne in every glass. Brianna chose a nearby square for the girls’ photos, full of greenery and Southern charm. Her Bridesmaids donned grey dresses and held bouquets with shades of midnight purple, soft lavender, and clean ivory. Myles and his guys got ready nearby in a riverside hotel. The boys opted for a gray stone mansion for their portraits, the perfect sophisticated backdrop for their photos. Read more of their story below!

From the Bride… My husband and I are both from Georgia, so we knew we wanted to get married in the South, and what better place than Savannah, Georgia? It was close (enough) to where we live so we can visit often, and it just doesn’t get any better than the Spanish moss and the beautiful historic homes. We knew immediately it was the place for us!

My husband had only one request during the planning process: to NOT get married during football season! We both attended Auburn University, so getting married during Auburn’s football season was just not an option. Instead, we chose a weekend in May — the same weekend as my grandparents’ 54th wedding anniversary. To honor their anniversary and our marriage, we had a dance for three generations at the reception – me and my husband, my parents, and my grandparents.

If I had to choose one word that we wanted our day to revolve around, I would choose “dreamy.” We envisioned a light and airy day that just flowed together perfectly. We wanted things to feel romantic, so we opted for mauve tones and greenery in the florals, which really popped against the gray in the fabrics. I wanted my dress to have a tulle skirt so it and my veil could drag behind me, also creating more of a romantic feel. We also knew we wanted a more intimate wedding with only our closest friends and family, but we still wanted it to be fun.

For me, I would have to say the ceremony was the most memorable part. Aside from FINALLY getting to marry Myles, my father officiated the ceremony, so it was extra special. He gave me words of encouragement, walked me down the aisle, and then turned around and married me to my husband. The ceremony didn’t last long, but each word had extra meaning as it was the first man I loved marrying me to the last man I’ll love.

For five out of the six years we were together before we were married, we were long distance. We are so excited to finally be able to spend time together without worrying about when one of us has to travel back home. We have a sweet golden retriever, Jack, and we are just happy to relax and see where life takes us!

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Photography: The Happy Bloom | Event Planning: Design Studio South | Floral Design: A to Zinnias | Wedding Dress: Watters | Cake: Savannah's Hall Of Cakes | Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Jewelry: Lauren B Jewelry | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Jenny Yoo | Catering: Thrive Catering | Hair and Makeup: Beyond Beautiful By Heather | Suits: Michael Kors | Ceremony Music: New Arts Ensembles | Wedding Venue: Trustees Garden | Bridal Boutique: House Of The Bride | Ceremony Sound: All About You Entertainment | Film Lab: Indie Film Lab | Paper Goods: Every Little Letter | Reception Band: Deas Guyz | Rentals: Amazing Event Rentals

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Bride Steals the Show in Hayley Paige Wedding Dress

There’s something about Southern weddings that pair so well with twirl-worthy dresses, don’t you think? It goes without saying that this Bride steals the show in her lovely layers of Hayley Paige. Paired with a sweet yellow bouquet designed by Gloriosa Design and her Groom looking dapper in navy, this day documented by Simply Sarah is the definition of darling.

From the Bride… We were roommates before we even knew each other. Through a mutual friend, we ended up living in a six-person house in Northwest DC. I had just transferred to finish undergrad at American University up the street, and the five boys were all starting out with new jobs in the area. We moved to Georgia together to attend Emory graduate school: he went to the law school, and I was in the art history program. In Decatur, we built a life a life together. Both of us became deeply involved with wildlife rescue and rehabilitation work while living in the area, and found a beautiful community there (our DJ, Zack Falls, is a dear friend who volunteers at Atlanta Wild Animal Rescue Effort). Volunteering also a strengthened our relationship–nothing brings two people together like rescuing a hawk or raising baby opossums as a team. We fell in love with Georgia as our love was growing into its own, and that may be the reason why, when it came time to choose a wedding venue, there was no question of where it should be.

Carmine proposed to me in Ft. Pierce, Florida, during a quick weekend getaway. At the time, he was living in Westchester, New York, for work — but I was working in DC and living at my old apartment. After almost five happy years spending everyday together in Georgia, this was a tough time for us both. But we made it through, and now we are married and back in the same place!

I’m not sure what my favorite moment of the wedding was but the best candidate may be popping the bottle of champagne during our ceremony. Carmine and I had a great experience touring the champagne caves of Reims, France, in the summer of 2015. So we chose a bottle of Taittinger champagne for a toast during the ceremony, which happened right before our officiant, friend, and former roommate gave Carmine permission to kiss the bride. Before toasting, we went over to open the bottle and pour two glasses for ourselves: this is my alternative to lighting a unity candle. I popped the cork and he poured, the same as we do at home, and it just felt so warm and familiar even with everyone’s eyes on us. That, or any moment spent with the goats.

My best advice to future bride is to try to find a venue where you actually want to be. In a vacuum, does it feel good to be there? Things will go wrong, but if you are somewhere that makes you feel happy, then you’ll feel less stressed even when you aren’t together. I know that once I was with Carmine, I didn’t have a care in the world, but even before I saw him, I had the baby goats and the gorgeous landscape at Serenbe to keep be me calm and that definitely made a difference.

We had quite a week leading up to the wedding. It started with me losing my wallet with everything inside, including my passports, before we left to drive down to Georgia. Having to replace everything delayed us leaving D.C., messed up our rental car reservations, had us scrambling to make up for time, and little things just kept going wrong from there. For example, our trunk opened somehow while we were driving at night and a few gifts flew out and disappeared. Luckily we were able to replace them in time!Our wedding week was such a ridiculous comedy of errors that I felt completely calm on the day of our actual wedding. Somehow, I remained calm when things kept going wrong throughout the day, too. None of it mattered, honestly, except that I got to marry my best friend and start the next chapter of our life together. In the end, everything worked out just fine, and we had the most beautiful, Georgia spring day full of goats, daffodils, and champagne–not to mention all the love and joy we felt from our friends and family.

We loved working with Simply Sarah Photography. There were a few bumps in the road and Sarah definitely helped me to stay happy and have fun throughout the day. The final results arrived so much sooner than we anticipated, and the images are breathtaking. They captured gorgeous details like the ethereal pinstriped organza fabric of my Hayley Paige gown, and the varieties of heirloom daffodils grown specially for the day. We are also so grateful for the beautiful pictures of the two of us. They perfectly represent the dreamlike quality of the whole evening. I would recommend Simply Sarah to anyone getting married, we were so glad to have them with us and so grateful for their beautiful work.

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Photography: Simply Sarah Photography | Event Design: Gloriosa Design | Event Planning: Sashay Creative Events | Floral Design: Gloriosa Design | Wedding Dress: Hayley Paige | Cake: Cakes By Carissa | Ceremony Venue: Serenbe | Catering: Gloriosa Design | DJ: Zach Falls | Film Processing and Development: PhotoVision Prints

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Sweet as Pie Americana-Style Engagement

Not only are Taylor and Anthony officially the cutest, but their Savannah engagement session? Well, it’s just the pretty we need to kick off this 4th of July celebration. Think crisp whites, historic charm, and a little dose of stars and stripes for good measure. Thanks to The Happy Bloom for these captures and an extra happy birthday to the U.S. of A.

From The Happy Bloom... Taylor and Anthony chose historic (and beautiful!) Jones Street in Savannah for their engagement session. The street is filled with cobblestone, ivy walls, and so much Southern charm. We spent the early morning exploring and stopping at our favorite picturesque staircases and iron gates! We can’t wait for their September wedding where they will actually share OUR same anniversary. As we (Justin and Amanda of The Happy Bloom) share our 11 year anniversary, we will celebrate Taylor and Anthony’s first moments of wedding bliss!

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Photography: The Happy Bloom

Charming Lakeside Wedding With Garden Party Style

The vision for this tented affair? Elevated backyard elegance. And boy, did TOAST Events deliver. Along with loose, organic florals by Amy Osaba Design, they brought an enchanted feel to Georgia’s Lake Burton and the couple, Bailey and Ben, perfectly looked the part. A Bryan Photo and Brandon Rice Films documented as the wedding weekend unfolded, and we’ve got all the festivities right at your fingertips.

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From TOAST EventsWhat’s better than being able to combine an intimate wedding with a festive party? Bailey and Ben created a whole weekend affair which began with a small tented wedding on Friday night for 85 guests, followed by a big lake party on Saturday night for 200 of their closest friends!

We love creating wedding weekends that are full of different events because each event allows the couple to celebrate even more with their friends and family while creating varied and unique settings in which to interact. The intimate wedding celebration on Friday had an elegant and organic feel.

Elevated backyard elegance was the overall mood we were going for with this classic tented wedding on Lake Burton. Every element, from the decor to the florals, had an upscale, yet approachable and relaxed, aesthetic.

We wanted to play on, and highlight, the natural beauty of the area. A color palette of neutrals browns, creams, and greens, accented by metallics, was the perfect complement to the natural backdrop of the lake. The rest of the decor was subtle, yet elegant, from the cafe lighting to the all white cake, adorned with flowers.

One of the fun and relaxed elements we loved were the hors d’oeuvres. The waitstaff passed items for guests to enjoy in antique trays. While it was a small detail, we loved that it created more character and charm to the overall feel of the evening.

All the floral elements were very loose and organic, yet had bright pops of color to draw in your eye. Since we were having so many events over the course of the weekend, one area that we used to bring a cohesive feel to the weekend was the floral design. Amy Osaba’s team did a great job bringing their bold, but loose, floral look to the flowers at each event over the course of the weekend.

One of our favorite floral elements was the greenery canopy inside Friday’s tent. It was a beautiful and cohesive way to connect the decor with the mountain surroundings. It was also a gorgeous way to highlight the head table and keep the focus on the bride and groom!

The lake party on Saturday was meant to feel a bit more fun and laid-back so we took a bolder approach to the Saturday color scheme.

One of the most heartwarming moments of the weekend was when Ben’s sister read a letter from Ben’s late mother to him during a toast at the wedding.

It was so special to be able to have double of everything over the course of the weekend. Bailey had two dresses, one more traditional and classic for Friday and a more bohemian look for Saturday. We got to play with two venue spaces and, as the pictures show, the views all weekend were to die for!

The stationery was one area where we were able to think outside the box and get creative since we needed to include details on all the weekend elements. All the stationery items were illustrated to portray to the beautiful scenery of Lake Burton while sharing pertinent weekend information with guests.

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Photography: A Bryan Photo | Videography: Brandon Rice | Event Planning: TOAST | Florals: Amy Osaba | Wedding Dress: Marchesa | Cake: Sweet Caroline's Cakes | Stationery: Lovely Paper Things | Reception Venue: Farmhouse at Persimmon Creek | Catering: Epting Events | Lighting: Magnum Lighting | Transportation: Georgia Valet Services | Transportation: Daniel's Charters | Venue: Waterfall Country Club | Beauty: Claudia Mejerle | Drapery: Event Drapery | Rentals: Royal Restrooms | Rentals: Goodwin Events | Rentals: Southern Vintage | Second Dress: Stone Fox Bride | Welcome Gifts: From Sir With Love