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This Jekyll Island Wedding Is Giving Us Butterflies

When this couple first visited Crane Cottage, hundreds of butterflies were flitting about the property gardens. They couldn’t forget this magical scene, which ended up providing a beautiful bit of inspiration for their special day. Custom silk butterflies were tucked into the floral arrangements by Colonial House of Flowers, and a beautiful watercolored butterfly by Every Little Letter was incorporated into the stationery. Yes, it’s as enchanting as it sounds, so head into this gorgeous gallery photographed by Sarah Ingram.

When D.C. couple, Courtney and Chris, started planning their wedding, they knew a destination affair was the right move for them. The bride grew up in Florida and knew she wanted a coastal location where guests could really disconnect and treat the trip not only as a wedding weekend but a true getaway. Jekyll Island was a vacation spot for the groom growing up, so the couple decided to visit and see if it felt right for the wedding. The bride says, “We immediately fell in love after touring Crane Cottage for no more than 15 minutes. We both knew this would be it.” The southern charm along with the dreamy landscape including Spanish moss, historic architecture, and the ocean shore steps from the venue was an instant draw.

“I remember when we had initially visited Crane Cottage, that there were a ton of butterflies in the gardens. This stuck with me when I started to think about an underlying theme, and I ended up having custom silk butterflies made, which we sprinkled amongst the floral arrangements. We also had our invitation designer paint watercolor butterflies to weave into our crest on the Save the Dates,” Courtney says.

She also shares a sage piece of advice for other brides-to-be: “Someone told us to take a moment in the midst of everything with your significant other to stand back and take everything all in. I would say that was the most memorable moment of our day! Seeing friends and family all together in one place having a good time is very special.”

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Photography: Sarah Ingram | Coordination: Jekyll Island Club Hotel | Floral Design: Colonial House of Flowers, Est. 1968 | Wedding Dress: Marchesa | Cake: Jekyll Island Club Hotel | Invitations: Every Little Letter | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Badgley Mischka | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Needle Thread | Catering: Jekyll Island Club Hotel | Hair and Makeup: Emma Collins Beauty | Ceremony Music: Music By Pegge | Venue: Jekyll Island Club Hotel | Bride's Earrings: Mallarino | Film Lab: PhotoVision Prints | Film Lab: Goodman Film Lab

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This Piedmont Park Wedding Gets an A+ in Our Book

When tying the knot, these two teachers wanted to give their guests a taste of what Atlanta had to offer, so they started with a favorite piece by local artist, Britt Bass. From there, they chose the look for their colorful day, brought to life by Elizabeth Marie Weddings + Events. With the couple’s big smiles, the fabulous florals by Victory Blooms, and photographs that keep us coming back all day long captured by Amy Arrington, this Southern wedding at Piedmont Park gets and A+ in our book.

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From the bride… We are both elementary school teachers. Josh and I met when I was moving into my classroom right before my first year of teaching. Another teacher in the building suggested Josh deliver some books to my classroom and introduce himself. So, Josh came by with some books, and we immediately hit it off. We would spend hours walking at the park near our school after work that fall, and two years later at that same park, Josh was down on one knee proposing!

We knew we wanted to get married in a park, and what better park in Atlanta than Piedmont Park? Josh’s family is from Michigan, so we wanted to give them a taste of Atlanta. Our welcome bags were filled with Atlanta goodies, and our accommodations were right in the heart of Midtown.

When planning our wedding, we were very intentional. Our ceremony alone totally reflected us as a couple. When thinking back, we always say, “That was so us!” We asked Josh’s brother, Chad, to perform our ceremony, had a friend read a poem about all of the things you learn in Kindergarten (Josh is a Kindergarten teacher!), and exchanged our own written vows.

My favorite local artist is Britt Bass, so we actually decided to use one of her paintings as our inspiration for all of the colors – lots of reds, pinks, berries, blues, and some hints of gold throughout. We even used the painting as the backdrop for the seating chart. We decided to give guests each a cookie from our favorite local bakery, The Patio, to say thank you. When it came to choosing a guest book, we chose one of our favorite children’s books, How The Grinch Stole Christmas. Our groom’s cake was actually a tower of donuts with Star Wars characters to top it.

My most special memory from the day was walking down the aisle to my groom. I will never forget the feeling I got when the doors opened, squeezing my dad’s arm extra tight while saying, “I love you,” and finally seeing Josh standing at the end of the aisle. We decided not to do a first look, so this was such a special moment for us.

My wedding band was actually custom made using nine of my grandmother’s diamonds. The diamonds were given to her from my grandfather in the form of a necklace. I also wore two pieces of jewelry from my other grandmother – a gorgeous vintage ring that my grandfather had given to her on their 25th wedding anniversary and a beautiful bracelet my dad had given her when I was born.

One of my favorite stories looking back is my dad’s speech right before our father daughter dance. My dad is typically a man of few words, but that night, he shared so many touching words about Josh’s and my relationship and becoming one family. It was beautiful. Of course, we were both too emotional after that to remember all of our practiced moves to our dance!

We absolutely love to dance. Our first dance was to the first song Josh ever sang to me while we were dating, Everything. Our last dance was to one of our favorite songs to dance to in the kitchen, La Vie En Rose. We couldn’t help looking around while we were dancing, talking about how amazing the night was and how lucky we truly were to have each other and all of these amazing people there to celebrate.

If I could offer one piece of wisdom to couples planning a wedding, I would say to choose the right vendors for you and your vision. Throughout the entire process, I had the best vendors that went with my vision for the day so perfectly. I loved getting to think out of the box, and my wedding planner and vendors were so supportive with my ideas. They were the ones who were able to make it all come to life! The colors, the flowers, the calligraphy, the art, the special touches… It was amazing the way they all pieced it together to bring my dream to life!

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Photography: Amy Arrington Photography | Cinematography: BEV Weddings | Event Planning + Design: Elizabeth Marie Weddings And Events | Wedding Dress: Augusta Jones | Cake: Lush Cakery | Bridesmaids' Dresses: BHLDN | Catering: Proof Of The Pudding | Hair + Makeup: Jennifer C Nieman | DJ: Jesse Busch | Tent Rental: James Nesmith | Bridal Boutique: The White Magnolia | Ceremony & Reception: Piedmont Park | Floral Design, Decor: Victory Blooms | Furniture, Draping, Lighting, Linens: Crush Event Rentals | Invitations, Signage, Stationery: Ashley Buzzy | Trolley: Marietta Trolley Company

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
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These Featured Designers are members of our Look Book.
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This Is How to Keep Blush Looking Fresh

Holy Bouquet! I love this bride’s big, beautiful, merlot and blush bouquet by Colonial House of Flowers so much, I may have to run to my nearest floral designer and beg her to recreate it as an arrangement for my kitchen. The Happy Bloom absolutely nailed it when they pointed out just what’s so striking about this bouquet AND this celebration – in a world of beautiful blush weddings, with the help of Emily Burton Designs this couple took the popular hue and made completely transformed it!

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From The Happy BloomAshley and Marcus could not have had a more perfect wedding day – sunny with a breeze, a waterfront ceremony underneath Spanish moss, a bright and spacious reception space. It was a dream. In a world of MANY blush weddings, Ashley decided to take blush and make it her own by adding dusty blues and deep maroons.

From the bride… When I think of the South, I think of the deep South, where my grandmother grew up. I think of the marsh, the live Oak trees, and of course the Spanish moss. A proper Southern wedding to me, combines the carefree Southern attitude with elegance. Our wedding happened to be this perfect combination of fun and fancy. I couldn’t have asked for a better venue; Musgrove Plantation is a beautiful location right on the marsh, and we were surrounded by these grand old live Oaks covered in Spanish moss.

My vision for the wedding day was a combination of otherwise contradicting elements; I wanted to be married on the marsh, in the backwoods, surrounded by live Oaks and Spanish moss, but I also wanted it to be an elegant affair. I wanted it to be both effortlessly fun and yet sophisticated. The decor almost picked out itself. We had a rustic look with classic dinnerware and chic little elements added in. As for the colors, I knew I wanted to incorporate blues and pinks without it looking like a baby shower, and the deep merlot and gold just happened to complement perfectly.

I remember it all! It was so much fun, from getting up early with the girls to get ready to dancing the night away. I want to do it all again! The moment I remember most, and perhaps my favorite of the day, was walking down the aisle with my father. I stepped out from the little maze garden and was immediately struck with joy by the sight of all of the people that had come to celebrate with us. The sight of my soon-to-be husband, standing under the giant Oak tree, looking very dashing in his tux, didn’t hurt either! I’m definitely not one of those people who likes to be the center of attention, but in that moment, will all eyes on me as we walked down the aisle, everything was perfect.

We are just getting settled in to our new life in Austin, Texas. (I wouldn’t recommend moving to a new city while planning a wedding!) We are looking forward to being able to rest now that the wedding planning is over, and we will be going to Hawaii in May. After that? We’re not sure. We would like to travel before we settle down too much, but we’re just taking things slow for now.

From Emily Burton Designs

The Vision: Whimsical fall elegance with an emphasis on the natural surroundings. I pulled in natural farmhouse tables that matched the natural wood on the surrounding trees. All of the signage was a combination of wood and lucite to bring in a bit of whimsy and was adorned with natural greenery and oversized peonies.

The Food: Ashley and Marcus are such foodies, hence we chose “fun plays” on their first dates like the famous taco truck in Dallas (hence the mini margaritas and beef tacos that were served at their wedding).


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Photography: The Happy Bloom | Event Planning: Emily Burton Designs | Floral Design: Colonial House of Flowers, Est. 1968 | Wedding Dress: Crystal Design | Invitations: Minted | Catering: Cape Creations Catering, Inc | Hair + Makeup: Emma Collins Beauty | Men's Attire: The Black Tux | Venue: Musgrove Plantation | Bridesmaids Dress Boutique: Bella Bridesmaid | Music: All About You Entertainment | Rentals: Beachview

Why Finding the Perfect Wedding Vendors has Never Been This Easy

We all know that you can’t have an amazing wedding without an amazing team of vendors, but we also know that finding that oh-so-awesome dream team takes a lot of work and research. Unless, you make plans to attend the Outer Banks Meet + Greet at Sanderling Resort on Sunday, March 10th from 5 – 9 pm. It’s your chance to mix and mingle with the best in the biz, plus find those wedding pros that will turn your destination wedding on the Outer Banks into the celebration you’ve always wanted.

Duck, North Carolina is one of those vacay spots you never want to leave and Sanderling Resort sits right smack-dab in the center of all of the action. With gorgeous views, luxe accommodations and a talented staff that knows a thing or two about dream weddings, you can count on that celebration of the century to happen. Now add in a meet + greet with talented OBX Wedding Professionals, hors d’oeuvres, wine tastings, a reception style dinner and dessert samplings and it’s not just an evening planning your big day… it’s a lot of fun, too. You can even dabble in Sassy S’mores at the Firepits at the Event House. (Yum.)

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Trust us on this one, you guys – the Outer Banks Meet + Greet at Sanderling Resort is one of those events you seriously can’t miss. Mark those calendars for March 10th from 5-9 pm, then visit Sanderling Resort to purchase tickets, book rooms and learn more about getting those engagement pictures taken. You’re going to have a blast.

Meet the Unexpected Style Combo You’re Going to Fall For

If you needed proof that a modern wedding could be done (and done beautifully) in a rustic space, here it is. Detailed I Do’s conceptualized this bold and sophisticated design with its bright colors, sleek silhouettes, and pops of pattern yet seamlessly tied it in with the rustic, romantic setting that is Foxhall Resort for a wedding editorial captured by Diana Lupu Photography that’s truly one of a kind.

From Detailed I Do’s… We are so delighted to share this Southern, minimalist shoot that was captured at Fox Hall Resort with an awe-inspiring vendor team who brought our bright and bold design to life. We felt so inspired by the stately historic stables on the venue’s property. We wanted to show couples who have been pining to do a rustic wedding that they can put a modern twist on that and really wow their guests while also creating a more sophisticated affect. We incorporated pops of fuchsia pink and bright red, greenery climbing the shiplap walls, and a handwoven striped linen for a dramatic but playful look. Rachel and Patrick, our sweet couple, also influenced our design with their strong features, compelling chemistry, and true adoration for one another.

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Photography: Diana Lupu | Event Planning + Design: Detailed I Do's | Floral Design: Victory Blooms | Wedding Dress: Houghton Bride | Cake: Gingerspice Bakery | Stationery: Tiger Lily Invitations | Shoes: Kate Spade | Hair + Makeup: Margaret Snider | Groom's Attire: The Black Tux | Venue: Foxhall Resort And Sporting Club | Bridal Boutique: The Sentimentalist | Earrings, Comb: Hushed Commotion | Linens: La Tavola Fine Linen Rental | Model: Rachel Hegner from Salt Model & Talent | Model: Rachel Hegner from Salt Model & Talent | Rentals: Presentime Rentals | Veil: Jaclyn Jordan New York | Welcome Gift: From Sir With Love

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
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These Featured Designers are members of our Look Book.
For membership information, click here
An Eclectic Autumn Wedding in Stunning Savannah

An amazing, eclectic setting and pops of radiant red; this is an autumn wedding not to be missed. And the icing on the cake? It all took place in one of our favorite Southern cities: Spanish moss-covered Savannah. Stacy Hart captured it all, from the getting ready festivities to the trolley smiles and kisses – see it all right this way in our gorgeous gallery!

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From Stacy Hart… Michelle and Jake were married at the charming SoHo South Cafe, nestled in the heart of Savannah, GA. Originally from the East Coast, these high school sweethearts honored Southern tradition in the details of their day. Guests were welcomed in with a whimsical guest book: Jenga pieces for everyone to sign! The ceremony was held in the cafe and the industrial vibes were perfectly complemented by soft, romantic blooms. Ivory & Beau, the event planner, created the most dreamy floral wreath and played up the bohemian feel by using mismatched chairs from the venue. Like every aspect of their day, the decorations were kept simple and set the mood for a relaxed evening. Michelle stunned in her two piece, Martina Liana gown and Jake kept his ensemble classic and understated with a navy Michael Kors suit. The pops of red in their bouquets paired perfectly with the neutral color palette; the bridesmaids carried this same sentiment in their mismatched, cafe-au-leit gowns. The girls got ready in a stunning Airbnb; an awesome alternative to brides and grooms not wanting a traditional hotel look.

During the evening, the bridal party rode to different locations on the best transportation in Savannah: a trolley! This totally captured the historic charm of the city. They rode under the Spanish moss and cobblestone streets while the ceremony space was transformed into a romantic seated reception. Each table held beautiful, ivory candles and fall inspired floral centerpieces with different textures of greenery! Michelle and Jake danced the night away in the soft candle light, celebrating their love with their closest friends and family!

From the Bride… My husband and I️ knew of each other since we were kids but didn’t really cross paths until we were nearing the end of high school. Whether he knew it or not, I️ had my eye on him way before then. The day he finally noticed me, was at a football game when I️ was awkwardly trying to dodge a kid I️ wanted nothing to do with. He saved me and asked if I wanted to go to the snack bar. We talked and laughed the rest of the night until we parted ways. After that night we exchanged numbers and shortly after, we went on our first date. Since that first date we have been inseparable.

With its history, night life, awesome food and beautiful Spanish moss streaming from every tree, we knew Savannah was the perfect place to do it! Picking Soho South Cafe as the venue was the easiest part. We knew we wanted something different from the average and after seeing all mismatch tables and chairs, decor, and eclectic bar area we knew it was just that. When thinking about the theme, we wanted both whimsical and romantic touches. We chose neutral colors, with taupe bridesmaids’ dresses, navy suits, and white and burgundy florals with greenery. We had matching farm tables and mismatching chairs. The tables had handmade arrangements in rose gold compotes with candle stick holders and mercury glass votives scattered throughout. Our hope was that our wedding would be more than just a day of celebration, but rather a weekend where all of our loved ones could make new friends, great memories and help Jake and I️ celebrate the best day of our lives!

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Photography: Stacy Hart | Event Planning: Ivory and Beau | Floral Design: Ivory and Beau | Wedding Dress: Essense of Australia | Cake: Savannah Rum Runners | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Show Me Your Mumu | Hair + Makeup: Royal Makeup & Hair | DJ: Island Sound | Groom's Attire: Michael Kors | Groomsmen's Attire: Michael Kors | Officiant: Reverend Steve Schulte | Transportation: Old Savannah Tours | Wedding Venue: Soho South Cafe | Photography - Assistance: Megan Steele

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Your Sneak Peek At One Of Miami Beach’s Most Stylish Wedding Venues

You know what’s better than ogling over one of our fave South Beach venues? Seeing one seriously stylish duo tie the knot in that very space. We call that that a win-win, and we suggest you cozy on up for one of the prettiest weddings ever at the W South Beach. It’s one glam detail after another that will have you booking this Miami hot spot in a heartbeat.

When it comes to your Big Day, we know that finding that dream locale isn’t always easy – whether you plan on tying the knot with only a few in attendance or want to host a luxe reception in that over-the-top Miami style we all love. The W South Beach makes it so, so easy with an experienced team of wedding professionals that will help you create that statement-making event you’ve always wanted – big or small. From their breathtaking Atlantic views to their fabulous amenities to their FOUR venues (check out the tree-filled Grove, one of our faves), they have you covered. And don’t just take our word on it – take your cue from this stunning duo, who hosted what can only be described as a movie-like celebration, complete with an outdoor ceremony and a ballroom reception with dancing ’til dawn.

W South Beach is all about next level weddings with every glamorous detail that you could possibly imagine. Trust us, your every want will be taken care of, right down to their amazing Whatever/Whenever® service, aka, the best concierge service on the planet. Need even more proof? Take it from beautiful bride, Samantha – The best part of working with the W was not having to worry about our day not being beautiful. The venue itself is so stunning without anything extra, it was comforting to know that, no matter what, it would be beautiful. Working with Marina made everything about the day less stressful. She really helped organize our dream wedding from start to finish!

See more of their beautiful day here, then contact Marina Serret at 305.938.3028 to get planning.

This Vow Renewal Is Why We Love Love

John and Abigail were married in a beautiful Virginia wedding, but for a number of reasons, they had to keep things simple. Three years later, they decided to renew their vows on their anniversary, this time adding in elements that reflected their unique journey as a couple with the help of Rachel Slauer Weddings. From the special story behind the sari Abigail donned to the choice of venue (read about both below!), every detail photographed by Abigail Malone was full of thought and meaning. And this, ladies and gents, is exactly why I love my job.

John and Abigail Pothen were married in the summer of 2014 in a small Virginia chapel. Their wedding was beautiful, but with John entering medical school, they had to keep it simple. For their third wedding anniversary, the couple decided to renew their vows. Only this time, they were able to add the details that reflect their unique story.

That story began just a couple of years before their wedding. Both John and Abigail are passionate about improving lives through healthcare across the globe. In her last year of training to become a nurse, Abigail traveled to India to study. Little did she know, her future husband was already there for a long term research project. They were introduced through mutual friends and had their first date on a long train ride. When the train came to a stop 30 hours later, they wanted more time together. They spent the rest of the month exploring the country, and as they did, they began to fall for one another. On one of their last dates in India, as they strolled through the streets of Mumbai, John and Abigail ducked into a sari shop. Abigail was enchanted by the soft fabrics and the rich colors. Her plane ride home was only a few days away, and the spending money she had allowed herself for her trip was just about out. She turned to leave, but John stopped her, offering to buy one of the prettiest saris in the shop as a gift. Abigail knew in this moment that their feelings for one another would continue on when they returned to the States.

Abigail’s gown on their wedding day two years later was perfect, but it didn’t tell the whole story. At their vow renewal, she decided to change into the sari John had given her, highlighting this piece of their story as well as John’s heritage. As a venue, they chose the gardens of a restaurant that quickly became their favorite date spot upon moving to Atlanta, the place they bring their parents during visits, the place they enjoy cocktails and laughter and honest conversation with friends, the place they retreat to when they want to forget the rest of the world and focus solely on one another. So, on their anniversary, they renewed these beautiful vows they made to one another three years ago:

“I vow to become your closest friend and confidante, your faithful partner through good and bad times, a supporter of your dreams and passions, your biggest fan and a believer in your future potential. I vow to encourage you, to be honest with you, to be gracious towards you, to love you in all circumstances, and to seek reconciliation in times of conflict. I ask you, God, to sustain our marriage through the power of your grace – a perfect love given without reservation to those who do not deserve it.”

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Photography: Abigail Malone | Event Planning: Rachel Slauer Weddings | Floral Design: Gold & Bloom | Wedding Dress: Chantel Lauren Designs | Ring: Susie Saltzman | Makeup: Stunning By Rachel | Hair: Claudia Nicole Hair | Cakes and Desserts: Gingerspice Bakery | Film Scans: PhotoVision Prints | Henna: Horizon Henna | Paper: Meredith Mejerle | Rentals: Collection Event Rentals | Restaurant: Wahoo Grill

A Classic Southern Wedding – With Some Fabulously Fun Touches Added In!

I’m all for a classic Southern celebration any day of the week but when it’s infused with personal details and fabulously fun touches. You too? Well, look no further than this Amy Arrington gallery of gorgeousness. From the wine corks to the going away outfit on our beautiful Bride, it’s a wedding to remember and be inspired by – see it all right this way!

From the Bride… Drew and I have been going to school together since middle school (6th grade!), but we didn’t start dating until we were Juniors at Wake Forest University. We have been so fortunate to have an amazing group of friends and family support us in this journey from friends, to dating, through engagement, and now in marriage. We really wanted our wedding day to be a true celebration of our past and what brought us together, and what our future holds. Mostly, we wanted to have a great evening and we wanted everyone to have fun with us. The number one recommendation I would make to a bride would be to hire someone to help you plan and execute on the day-of. I had been a bridesmaid in a wedding that TOAST planned, and the bride was the most relaxed I had almost ever seen her – and they handled everything. I knew immediately that I wanted to be the same way, and to arrive on my wedding day having given all the details over to a trusted partner. We hired TOAST, and Kerri and I laughed throughout the process about only making decisions which would enable me to be “cool as a cucumber” and we succeeded – I had the best day because I was so relaxed, I knew they had everything under control! At the beginning of the planning process, I had a few strong opinions about certain elements, and then I wanted to allow my vendors to take the reins from there – they are the experts! Kerri and I had a great brainstorming session where we, along with my Mom, talked through the vision: a great celebration that combined beautiful and classic Southern colors and traditions with some modern updates and personalization.

​Kerri connected us with great vendors ​who​ are incredibly talented and wonderful to work with. They​ immediately understood my vision for the style of the wedding​ – Lisa at Paper Daises and Gabi at Edge Design made my loose conception and ideas of what I was looking for into a reality – more perfectly than I could have ever imagined. They understood and helped us maintain the balance between a more updated look that reflects our style and a traditional black tie Southern wedding. When it came to the day of the wedding, our amazing vendors took care of everything and​ ​we were able to enjoy every moment – which is evident in the beautiful photos that Amy and Brandon (Amy Arrington Photography) took.​ Amy and Brandon were able to perfectly deliver our need for more traditional, posed wedding photos of extended family, but also offer their beautiful artistic eye and use of light to take photos where everyone looks amazing and not “stiff.” We will enjoy their images forever. ​ ​

We cannot say enough great things about our band, the Atlanta Showstoppers, who had everyone on the dance floor until the very end of the evening. They played the perfect mix of oldies for swing dancing and upbeat pop songs, which appealed to the whole crowd. ​They ensured my vision of a great celebration (i.e. a really fun party) was a reality! At the reception, instead of a traditional guest book for signatures, we had blank corks and asked everyone to sign a cork. Drew and I save the corks from bottles of wine we drink on special occasions and with special friends and family. He used our cork collection when he proposed, so we loved including this element in our wedding. Lisa (Paper Daises) and Gabi (Edge Design) created a beautiful area of vases and pictures to tell this story – and now we have a whole bowl of corks from our wedding guests which we’ve added to our collection! We also opted for a “grooms cake” that was an ice cream bar, because Drew LOVES ice cream. This was a great choice because late June in Atlanta guarantees hot and humid weather, ​and most of our guests were very interested in a bowl of ice cream! Chef Christophe Joignant and the team at Capital City did a beautiful job with all the food and I loved collaborating with them on the flavors and location of our “grooms cake” ice cream and cookies station! My mom loved her going away outfit and I wanted to embrace the classic tradition myself. So I changed before the evening ended into a shorter white cocktail dress. Not only was it a fun nod to tradition and my mom’s outfit change, but it was a surprise! I’d kept my dress a secret, and only a few people knew I was planning to change at all, so it was fun for me to have a little reveal! It also turned out to make my last few moments on the dance floor the most fun I had, as my short going away dress was much more comfortable for dancing and departing than my long and heavy wedding dress! ​

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Photography: Amy Arrington Photography | Event Planning: TOAST | Floral Design: Edge Design Group | Wedding Dress: Buckhead Bridals | Cake: Classic Cakes And Cheesecakes | Stationery: Paper Daisies Stationery | Ceremony Venue: Peachtree Road United Methodist Church | Reception Venue: Capitol City Club, Brookhaven | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Bella Bridesmaid | Hair + Makeup: The Moore Agency | Lighting: Unique Event Elements | Band: East Coast Entertainment | Transportation: Atlantic Limo | Rentals: James Nesmith

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
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These Featured Designers are members of our Look Book.
For membership information, click here
A Gorgeous Multicultural Celebration: From Start to Finish (A Ballroom Transformed into a Wedding Wonderland!)

I write about weddings day in and day out but sometimes I’m just at a loss. And today is one of those days. But it’s not because I’m not inspired – it’s the opposite in fact. This wedding before me, well, I’m just in awe and obsessed and just want to look through every single one of Joseph Rogero’s pics over and over again. The color palette: perfect. The Bride: beyond beautiful. The ballroom: transformed into a wedding wonderland. I don’t even know what else to say… I’m head over heels. Hop on over to our gallery right this instant and join me in this love fest.

From Joseph Rogero… When the bride wanted a ballroom transformed into her ethereal wedding dream, Emily Claire Events did just that. With timeless imagery by Still55 Photography, gorgeous blooms from Forage Botanical, and a stunning lace BHLDN gown, this celebration can’t be missed!

From Emily Claire Events… It’s not hard to say that Deepak and Annabelle are one of the sweetest couples I have ever worked with. With the pair living out of state, we were unable to meet in person until a few weeks prior to their big day. Most of our collaboration was done over Skype where I spent many hours getting to know this lovely duo. It was obvious after our first conversation that they had a passion for travel, as well as their heritage, and we wanted to incorporate that into their wedding.

Annabelle initially had a vision of a dreamy outdoor wedding, but she already had a ballroom booked for her date because of logistical factors. We worked closely together to bring her vision to life by including loads of lush greenery and florals, setting up wedding party portraits to be captured in the gardens of the stunning historic Swan House, and integrating flowing white drapery and linens to lighten and brighten the venue space.

As for the travel inspiration, one of the couple’s favorite destinations is France, so we included macarons as a tribute in the welcome bags and little French details can be seen throughout the wedding styling. As an ode to the groom’s Indian heritage, the bride and bridesmaids had traditional Indian henna done after the rehearsal dinner. The bride’s family being from Vietnam, we served a delicious Asian ice cream alongside the wedding cake. It was truly enjoyed by all!

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Photography: Joseph Rogero | Videography: Kale Fitch Films | Event Planning: Emily Claire Events | Floral Design: Forage Botanical | Wedding Dress: BHLDN | Cake: Sweet Caroline's Cakes | Invitations: Quinn Luu | Invitations: Sarah Ingram | Ceremony Venue: The Westin Atlanta | Reception Venue: The Westin Atlanta | Bride's Shoes: BHLDN | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Jenny Yoo | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Amsale | Catering: The Westin Atlanta | Catering: Bombay Cafe | Hair + Makeup: Jennifer C Nieman | Groomsmen's Attire: The Black Tux | Venue: http://www.aAtlanta History Center: Swan House & Grand Overlook Ballroomtlantahistorycenter.com/ | Decor Rentals: collectioneventfurnishings | Draping: Unique Event Elements | Rentals: We Rent Atlanta

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
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A Cleveland Holiday Wedding Complete with a Hot Chocolate Bar!

Well if this classic holiday wedding doesn’t put you in the mood for the Christmas, I don’t know what will! A Charming Fete and La Tavola Fine Linens took the best of the season—including Christmas trees, hot cocoa and luxe fabrics — and created a winter wonderland captured by Emily Millay. You’ll wonder why all winter weddings aren’t this cozy and full of winter charm!

From the Bride, Molly:
When Michael and I started planning our wedding, we knew we wanted it to be a classic, timeless affair but also a great expression of ourselves. We decided to get married in my hometown of Cleveland, Ohio in early December which helped guide our winter wedding vision, complete with blackwatch plaid, navy velvet, luxe hunter green and even a hot chocolate bar!

When we walked into The Union Club for the first time, we both got chills! From the grand staircase (trimmed in garland and a beautiful Christmas tree), to the multiple fireplaces, ornate rugs, and dark wood it’s old world feel was just right. The Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist is one of the most stunning churches with detailed ceilings and a cobblestone (soooo long!) aisle. It was such an incredible moment walking down that aisle with my dad to Michael.

All of my planning dreams came true when I met Lauren and the team at A Charming Fete. They helped bring our dream to life and made the process so much easier and more enjoyable. Haley at Lather + Maggie Kleinman made up my glam squad and truly made me feel like a timeless, classic winter bride. Our florist, Scott Sella made winter magic happen with the flowers.

The entertainment and guest experience was so important to us and our band, The Orchestra (Cleveland Music Group) really delivered. I don’t think I have been to another wedding where the dance floor was jammed pack from start to finish.

Aside from the elegant decor, we really wanted this day to feel like us and we wanted to surprise our family and friends with some fun things throughout the day. I got ready at my childhood home with all my bridesmaids, cozied around the fireplace and Christmas tree with Father of the Bride playing. Michael and I exited the church with a Cleveland Fire Department bagpiper (who is retired FDNY – just like Michael’s father). We chose to have fresh baked pies instead of wedding cake and displayed them on a beautiful walnut wood pie stand that Michael’s brother custom built for us. I surprised Michael with a (spiked) hot chocolate bar with all the fixings. We served late night pizza (with ranch dressing!) to guests as they danced the night away. And we ended the night with a sparkler send-off.

Michael and I are so blessed to have such wonderful friends and family who have supported us every step of the way. Our wedding day was a (very cold!) dream of a day that truly felt so special and true to “us.” Our love story has only just begun!


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Photography: Emily Millay Fine Art Wedding Photography | Cinematography: Full Bloom Photography | flowers : Every Blooming Thing | Stationery : Aerialist Press | Ceremony Venue: St Johns Cathedral | Reception Venue: The Union Club | makeup : MKleinman Artistry | hair : Lather A Salon | Band : Cleveland Music Group | Transportation: Lolly The Trolly | Invitation Design: The Groom, Michael Miano | Linens : La Tavola Fine Linen Rental | Pies : Simply Delicious Pies | Planning and Styling : A Charming Fete | pie stands : Chris Miano

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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: Savannahs 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