From the Editor: On Our 5th Issue

One of our questions on our wedding submission form is “What made your wedding day unique?” While every wedding is superbly beautiful and unique in its own right, it’s this question that often merits a variation of the same response:

“Our family and friends.”

This is not only funny to me that so many respond with this answer, but incredibly eye-opening. Perhaps what is so magical about our wedding day is not the gorgeous gown or fantastic flowers (though those are certainly important!), but instead the idea that your wedding brings people together.

Whether your families are meeting for the first time or your reception is a great excuse to bring your best friends from college back together, every couple has the same dream in their head – that their loved ones will be there on your big day to support, love and celebrate your marriage.

Your wedding day is the ultimate showcase of love, but not only for you and your spouse. It’s also a chance to show your love for guests who have traveled many miles or helped you hand-stamp 100 invitations. When we dance the night away, it’s with our very favorite people in the entire world. And what could be more special than that in making your wedding day so uniquely you?

In our 5th issue, you’ll find incredible weddings that will not only inspire you (and maybe swoon a little), but will hopefully give you that cozy warmth felt when surrounded by “your people,” those who know and love you best.

To love and magic, friends and family – may we all be so lucky to celebrate with the uniqueness that is your wedding day!

Liz Long, editor

Shopping is the Fun Part, Right?


My sister (and my mom) is a quilter, and therefore always down for fabric shopping.

You know how women have this reputation that all they ever want to do is shop? Well that’s about as far from the truth as you can get when talking about my sister and me (Unless it’s fabric shopping. My sister is always up for fabric shopping). This has not changed with wedding planning. It’s actually become more frustrating because none of us are there in person when the other one is shopping.

This is how conversations tend to go:

Mom: “I found these pumpkins that might make great centerpieces!”

Me: “Okay?”

Mom: “Although, the more I look at them the less sure I am about them.”

Me: (With a lot of sarcasm) “I understand completely.”

Mom: “You’ll just have to look at them yourself when you come home.”

Me: “Yes. I’ll do that.”

Yeah, there are challenges about planning a wedding from multiple states. Pinterest only takes us so far. But we’re kind of managing. Mostly. Our key phrase has been “We’ll figure it out when we’re all together later.” That one week my sister and I will be home in November is apparently going to be very busy. But maybe once we’re all in the same room the shopping will be more fun.

Another struggle of this distance thing: without the pressure of seeing my sister every day or every week and therefore needing to collaborate more often, it’s way to easy to push things off. Start looking around at bouquets and bridesmaid dresses? Sure, I’ll do that this weekend…or next…(it has now been over two months I am very sorry sister). Part of my justification for procrastination is there is still so much time; we don’t need to have these things set in stone yet. But they’re also simple things that we could check off the list and actually feel accomplished about in all this planning. (It will get done I swear. I will do it next week).

Thankfully my sister doesn’t procrastinate as much as me, and I suppose being the bride she’s also more motivated. She’s been shopping around on her own a bit for some stuff, and this has presented a whole new set of challenges. For one, shopping as a plus size bride is already a horror on its own, but my sister also needs a good quality strapless bra. Those are incredibly hard to find. In her words, “There are no strapless bras I can put on alone without looking like a contortionist who should be fired.”

Now I want you to follow this train of thought with me: If she can’t find a bra to put on by herself, that means she needs one that someone can help her with. Logically, that falls on the Maid of Honor’s shoulders. Keeping up? Have you realized that’s me? Ding ding ding, I’m the lucky winner!

I knew I’d be helping her into her dress on the big day, but having to help with her bra too blindsided me a little. I’m not saying I don’t want to be as helpful as I can, and I’m certainly not complaining about having to do this. Truthfully, I really don’t mind all that much. It’s just helping my big sister into a bra wasn’t exactly on my bucket list. But hey, that’s what family and Maid of Honors are for, right?

It’s mostly frustrating that I’m not there in person right now to help. All we can do is text pictures to each other or try to explain what we mean over the phone, which isn’t the same at all. And a lot of stuff we want to try and get done keeps getting pushed off until we’re all together. Which makes sense, it’s easier to do it when we’re together. That’s why it’s so hard to be trying to do anything on our own. It’s just a lot harder to support my sister and my mom when I’m hours away. Texting that everything will work out and that it’ll be a great wedding just isn’t the same as hugging them and telling them that.

But for all its challenges, I’m excited to see the final product come together next year. And knowing how much work went into this will make the big day that much better, I think. (You know, assuming we aren’t all dying of stress making sure everything stays perfect).


From Pinterest to Perfection

By Stephanie Vinal

An increasing number of brides have turned to various social media sites for help with the wedding planning process. And they’ve been turning the ideas they find into reality for their own big days.

Amidst an overwhelming sea of vendors, dates, stationary and chiffon, websites like Pinterest are supplying brides with a plethora of resources. A simple scroll through the boards on Pinterest shows inspiration for every kind of ceremony or celebration.

Whether you’re leaning toward a classic elegance or a country rustic theme – or somewhere in between – for your nuptial days, there are no limits in the digital wedding world. A few of our brides offered insight as to how they took inspiration from Pinterest and applied it to their weddings.

Why DIY?

A Well "Branded" Wedding  Craig & Melissa Newman Wedding on Page 32 Kemper Mills Fant Photography

A Well “Branded” Wedding
Craig & Melissa Newman Wedding on Page 32
Kemper Mills Fant Photography

Becky Gower’s wedding was a Pinterest project from the start. Her board, like many other brides-to-be, had been in the making since before she was engaged. When the time came for her now husband to find the perfect ring, a friend forwarded him a link found on one of her wedding boards.

After viewing tons of DIY ideas, Becky decided to focus on a few feasible projects to make her ceremony more personalized. She handcrafted her own table numbers by formatting 5×7 photographs of the happy couple in beautiful glass frames.

“I was able to add personal touches with sentimental items, rather than stock from a catalogue. I was also able to better create the ambiance of the day,” she says.

Many DIY projects allow for more creativity and connection between the bride and groom and their guests.

“I wanted to create an atmosphere where people looked at their watches and said ‘Wow is it midnight already?’, rather than ‘Whoa, how is it only 9 p.m.?’” she says. “By taking on some of the projects, and considering my guests, that goal was definitely met.”

Inspiration to Reality

Guests at Melissa Newman’s wedding felt warm and fuzzy as they received their parting nuptial gifts – paw-print shaped cookies adorned with a tag that cited the Blue Ridge Boxer Rescue Association.

“In lieu of traditional favors, we wanted to spend that money on a donation to the rescue where I adopted my dog Beau from in 2010. After the wedding, we sent them a donation in Beau’s honor.”

Melissa knew she wanted to pay homage to her best “Beau” and the marital logo she created for her and her husband was the perfect final touch to the dedicational favors.

“Via Etsy, Pinterest and other websites, I saw how important it was to ‘brand’ everything for the wedding,” she says. “I literally put our personal logo on everything from station signage to the cookie tags, and even the welcome bags at the hotel. I wanted it to be memorable and different, so that guests felt that everything was special and custom-made and for them to enjoy and truly feel a part of our day.”

Wine Cork Holders & "I Spy" Game David & Morgan Housden Wedding on Page 86 Amodeo Photography

Wine Cork Holders & “I Spy” Game
David & Morgan Housden Wedding on Page 86
Amodeo Photography

Morgan Housden found her inspiration early in the wedding planning process.

“Pinterest inspired my shabby chic theme,” she explains. “I loved all of the unique weddings I saw on Pinterest so that really pushed me to have a Pinterest wedding of my own. Pinterest helped me find my cork buffet label holders, inspired a dessert bar instead of just cake, and it helped me find my guestbook idea – a funky creature animal poster. It was a hit!”

After planning her crafts, Morgan raided the craft stores and dedicated nights and weekends to tackling the projects. Her bridesmaids and husband joined in on the crafting party, too.

Not only was she able to save money, but she also found a way to make the wedding planning process itself more intimate and special.

Although planning your own DIY wedding may seem daunting at first, it’s important to realize that even the smallest project can bring a new level of personality and intimacy to your day. All it takes is a little ingenuity, elbow grease and some “Pinspiration” to make your DIY wedding a reality.



guest post: So You’re Planning a Wedding Reception?

Guest Post by Kidd Carter (Wedding DJ and local celebrity with K92 Radio; see his wedding is in our 2013 issue!)

Been there. Done that. What a task planning an event and attempting to entertain tons of your family and friends, but it can be fun! So much to consider though. What will everyone want to eat? What kind of music will they like? Well, luckily I have some experience planning my own wedding reception after DJing dozens of them for the past almost 10 years. Grab a notebook and a pen and let me let you in the mind of a wedding DJ who planned every last detail of his own.

The venue. There are a few things you may not have considered. You want to pick a location that is not too far away. Remember there is a likelihood that your guests are going to be drinking. Hopefully your venue won’t be up on the top of a mountain but if it is, consider a shuttle bus service. There are a few in our area that are affordable and it will give your guests the peace of mind that safe travel is important to you. Also, make sure there is a weather back-up plan! I’ve seen the worst happen…a gamble that it won’t rain, and of course it did, with no other course of action but to cancel the event and all that time and effort you put in is wasted. Always plan your ceremony with a backup plan INDOORS.

kiddashThe music. I’ll let you take a wild guess which route I prefer between a band and a DJ. Don’t get me wrong, there are some good bands. Some…and the ones that are really good can be off the charts expensive. Not saying that they aren’t worth it, but not everyone has the budget for a really good band. A good DJ can bring a lot to the table that a band simply cannot. You can even have a good band, but they may not be a good “event host.” That’s why I prefer the DJ route. Someone who can play good songs but does not command the microphone isn’t a DJ, they are someone who knows which buttons to push on a laptop computer to make music play.

Always do your research on your DJ, and if they can’t provide you with several recommendations from previous clients, they may not be all that experienced. I’ve found that asking all the brides that I work with to post a referral on our company Facebook page works wonders. To be honest, I’ve seen some great DJs and I’ve seen some bad ones. The DJ at your wedding can be the difference between a memorable reception and a reception you won’t WANT to remember. Trust me, for the average person, talking on a microphone in front of a hundred (or more) strangers can make you extremely nervous, so experience is key.

The planning. If you want a party reception, don’t get married at Noon. A noon wedding means a 12:30pm reception and it’s over before dark. I’ve found that it’s difficult to get most people to dance in the middle of a hot summer afternoon. For the most part I’ve found that the later you plan a reception, the bigger the party. Also, don’t make the mistake of dragging your reception out way too long. I always suggest a 4 hour reception, 5 at the most. That is plenty of time for dinner, dancing and all of the fun reception activities. Remember, you always want your reception to end on a high. Leave them wanting more!

Then comes the big question about alcohol. Should I have it? Should I not? My suggestion: Absolutely. People almost come to expect it when going to weddings, and can I just tell you how much more people dance when even just beer is involved. Not everyone has the budget to have beer AND liquor at their reception, but if I can just offer some advice, plan your wedding a year in advance. It will give you more time to save extra cash for things such as this. You may be saying to yourself “who does this guy think he is saying I have to have alcohol at my wedding for it to be fun?” I’m not saying it’s right, I’m just speaking from experience. People do not want to buy their own drinks at weddings, and if there is no alcohol being served, plan on a good amount of your guests leaving earlier than they would if they could drink.

In closing, I just wanted to give you one last piece of advice. Don’t rush this. Don’t think you have to get married in 3 months and stress yourself, your significant other and your families out. I proposed in December 2011 and we planned a destination wedding for January of 2013 with a reception back home afterwards. We had to pay for everything ourselves but we chose to give it time. Remember, he/she is not going anywhere. Give yourself the time you need to make all the right decisions, to hire the right people and make this the happiest day of your life. Keep in mind, you’ll only be doing this once. Best wishes on your big day.

Kidd Carter
K92 Radio Personality
Blue Ridge Entertainment (DJ Company)
Twitter: @k92kidd

real bride blogger: Where Did the Giddy Go?

Guest Post by Michelle Glynn

A few weeks ago, my fiancée Alex and I went on an annual beach trip with his family. It’s a time to reconnect with people we haven’t seen in awhile, and relax, have fun, and enjoy life. However, when the topic of our upcoming wedding was raised, our response was, “Oh….the wedding,” when I feel like it should have been, “Oh! Our wedding! We’re so excited!”

This was definitely a giddy moment!

This was definitely a giddy moment!

Don’t get me wrong; we are ecstatic to be getting married and to start our life together. It just seems like so many people make such a big deal about weddings these days, and it can be really overwhelming to think about all the options we have for venues, food, etc. It can also be overwhelming to think about the cost of the event. Some people spend more money on their wedding days than they do on their cars, and that’s a concept that is crazy to me. Of course, family members usually assist the couple with the cost of the wedding, but it can still wind up being a huge expense for everyone if you let it.

Instead of having a rosy outlook on life, I tend to look at things with a “glass half empty” approach. I think about consequences and cost before I think about feelings and fun. It’s hard for me to get excited about something without first considering the facts of the situation. I feel like I don’t get “giddy” about anything anymore.

I read an article about being happy on Huffington Post, while we were at the beach, and the author talked about how our childlike senses get buried by ideas about who we are. I think that as we get older, it seems like we are faced with ideas from society about how we should feel, what we should think, and who we should be, and so we forget who we really are. We are always so busy, and are always reaching for more instead of being happy with what we have.

Alex and I weren’t planning on doing anything regarding the wedding on our vacation, but we ended up going to visit a photographer who is a friend of his family. While we visited with her and saw examples of her work, she talked with us about our big day, and little things we could do to save money. She mentioned that since we waited until we were older to get married, we would probably be contributing more of our own money to the wedding, than if we had gotten married younger, which I think is true!

She gave us some tips on how to cut costs, like not getting a limousine to take us from the church to the reception, and letting guests toast with the drink they already have, instead of buying champagne. She made me feel like it would be okay to do what I want, and not worry so much about what other people will think. When we talk about the wedding, it seems like everyone asks Alex and me what we want, but it’s hard to figure that out when you worry about what your guests will think. It can definitely take the fun away from planning if you focus on other people’s opinions because there can definitely be a lot of them!

I know that our wedding day will be here before I know it, and I am realizing that I need to enjoy the process of planning the event as much as I can, because this really is a special time. I reserved a block of rooms for the wedding last week, and I got the agreement from the hotel a few days later. Instead of feeling stressed when I got that document, I felt happy, which could be because we don’t have to pay anything in order to reserve the block of rooms. When I saw “Glynn Jackson wedding” at the top of the agreement, I smiled, and even felt a little giddy. As long as I can keep reminding myself to take a step back, and embrace the good things, hopefully I can make it to the big day with a little bit of sanity!

guest post: our real bride blogger on the invitations

Almost as soon as we announced our wedding date, people began asking us questions regarding the details of our ceremony.  We had ten months to plan, and I honestly thought that most of them were crazy.  After all, I have never believed the wise wedding planners on television when I heard them preach that most weddings take months to plan.  It is just one day!  How can it take that long?

photoSince we were not intimidated by time (or lack thereof), Nick and I  decided we were going to buy a home.  One thing led to another and now there are less than four months between us and our happily ever after.  I have the dress.  My ladies have their dresses.  We know where we are getting married.  Until last week, that’s all we had accomplished.

Back in February, I took our invitations to a company to be printed.  I had everything except the exact wording for them.  I left the materials with the company and emailed the owner that afternoon with what I wanted them to say.  Believe it or not, I immediately forgot about them.  Apparently, I was not the only one.

We finally closed on our new home three months later.  Somehow, in the chaos of moving into our new home, Nick remembered to ask me about our invitations.  I realized that I had not heard from the gentleman in charge of them.  I had not even received a confirmation email after I sent him our request.  I called him during the last week of May to discover that he had not even received my email.  Despite having my phone number and the blank invitations filed away, he had not called me to ask for further directions.  In hindsight, I realize this was probably not his responsibility, but it would have been nice.

Last week, mid June, I called to see if the invitations were ready because I still had not heard from anyone.  Thankfully, they were ready and waiting on me to pick up.  All it took was a little extra initiative on my part to take care of things.  Thank heavens I did not wait until the last minute to start the process.  Now, I can send my invitations out next week. Hopefully that will give us an idea of how to approach catering.  I am kicking myself now, wishing we had spent more time planning earlier in the year– so if you are just now getting your ring, please remember: it is never to early to start planning!

Emerald Celebration: 2013’s Wedding Color

Emerald Celebration

Caroline McKean


Pantone says Emerald is the color of the 2013, could it be the color of your winter wedding? Emerald is a personal favorite as it is my birthstone and signifies celebration and renewal. Something that is quite fitting for the new year and celebrating a new union.

Emerald pairs well with gold and white accents. Dress your maids in the evergreen color and it will compliment even the palest of winter skin tones. Carry white tulips, roses, ferns and pine for a textured and fragrant bouquet.

Simple reception decorations can incorporate gold candles and green bottles with a single white stem or fern leaf for an easy, romantic vibe.

Give your maid’s gorgeous but reasonably priced emerald earrings from ETSY that they can wear over and over. And don’t forget a tightly woven lace or faux fur bolero for fun, wintery outdoor photos!

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