We are loving the wealth of creativity–and great advice–from all the guest bloggers that have been posting here! Today we’ve got another great post from Lauren of The Southern Aisle, who got married this May. She is a total sweetheart and her blog is full of fantastic inspiration, whether you’re from the South or not. We absolutely adore her wedding–it’s so full of personality and charm, and we can’t get enough of all the darling bowtie details!
Tell us a little bit about your blog and how you got started
Southern Aisle began strictly as a creative outlet for me. With so much amazing inspiration out there, it was a place for me to save some of my favorite things and share the ups and downs of our planning process. With friends and family all around the country the blog became a great way for them all to keep up with what I had accomplished wedding wise. Before I knew it, I was hooked! No longer was it just a side project, it had grown into a full fledged source of love and enjoyment for me.
Wedding planning can turn a lot of perfectly normal girls into emotional wrecks! is there any advice you can give for how to stay balanced during wedding planning?
Definitely make time to do other activities you love during the planning process. It’s easy to sit there and stress over linens and flowers. When that happens, take a big step back from the wedding planning; go for a walk, see a movie or get some ice cream. Ironically for me, my activity of choice was to work on Southern Aisle. Anytime I got stressed or frustrated, I’d funnel that into a blog post. I give it full credit for keeping me sane. And always remember at the end of this, it will not matter what color napkins you had, or how the chair sash was tied, it will matter that you are married. Period.
Tell us a little about you and your husband–how you met, the proposal, etc.
Bryant and I met in Washington, DC in 2007. We are both born and raised Arkansans so when we found ourselves at the same happy hour one night, a natural friendship formed. It was just that until football season rolled around and we started to see each other every weekend to cheer on our Razorbacks at a local bar. We began dating and eventually moved in together. He proposed in January 2010 at the National Gallery of Art in front of an engagement portrait painted by none other than Leonardo da Vinci. I didn’t have a clue (otherwise I would have washed my hair – will never let myself live that one down) but our entire group of friends were in on the secret and surprised us at a restaurant to celebrate. It was truly a day for the books! Soon after we moved back to Arkansas together, the planning began and we were married this past May.
How involved was your husband in wedding planning?
I think he was involved just the right amount! We talked out most of the big wedding decisions but he left most of the small details to me. Luckily, our vision for the day was very similar, so it only took a few compromises to make us both happy.
Do you have any advice for brides-to-be on how to get inspired for their own wedding?
I’d say let your venue do the talking. A lot of our wedding details just fell into place once we had decided on a plantation home setting for our ceremony and reception. If you think about it, the venue typically sets the tone of any event. You’ll be hard pressed to find a glitz and glamor wedding set in a barn, or a shabby chic wedding that took place in a ballroom. We decided to play up the history and the traditional Southern-ness of our venue choice. Therefore, bow ties, a string quartet, mason jar cocktails and a home cooked Arkansas meal just made perfect sense.
If you could go back and get married again, are there any changes you’d make?
The only thing I would change is something I actually had no control over at all. The weather. No, it didn’t rain on our wedding day but it was unusually cool. Did I mention we got married in May? In the South? I thought our guests would be sweating it out but instead we were handed a temp in the low 60’s. I didn’t notice one bit because I was in a bubble, but it did render our fan programs “to beat the heat” useless. I think if that’s my only tweak, then we did all right!
What was your favorite moment or memory from your wedding?
Oh goodness, how’s a girl to choose? Obviously saying our vows and being announced for the first time as husband and wife was unforgettable. We decided not to wire the front porch with a microphone. So, even though our ceremony was witnessed by 250 people, it honestly felt like an extremely private moment between the two of us and our closest family (who had VIP seats on the porch). I also distinctly remember a moment during dinner where I just took it all in – the gorgeous setting in our reception tent, the fact that all those people were there just to love and support us and that I had said ‘I do’ to my favorite man ever. I had a Jim & Pam camera moment…
If you did a lot of diy or thrifting for your wedding, do you have any tips or favorite sources?
I didn’t want to load myself down with projects, so I picked a few key details to DIY. They were mostly items that I really wanted at the wedding but wasn’t willing to dip far into my budget for. I decided to make my own welcome bags, table signs, seating cards and ribbon wands. All of the supplies were purchased at Hobby Lobby which became my personal version of Cheers – everyone knew my name. Etsy is also a favorite of mine, you can find just about anything there.
As a blogger, you see tons of amazing inspiration daily. How did you narrow all that inspiration down for your wedding?
I was lucky in this aspect that I started the blog as I was planning our wedding. So, for the most part I already had a concept and color scheme picked out before I became inundated with a million gorgeous pictures. There were multiple times that I saw something I loved and thought about totally ditching my original plans. But, in the end you’ve got to stay true to yourself and go with your gut.
Lots of brides are on tight budgets nowadays. In your experience, what are three things that are important not to scrimp on, and what are three things that could go?
Oh, budgets, the thorn in every bride’s side! I know everyone is different but my do not scrimp list would include the following:
- Photography: These are photos you will have for the rest of your life, definitely make them count.
- Videography: I know videography is usually the first to go when you’re on a budget. I even considered cutting that cost myself, but ultimately booked a film student at a really reasonable price. It’s a decision that I will never regret. I may or may not watch our video on a weekly basis. Don’t judge!
- The Bar: This last one is a total pet peeve of mine. Please don’t ever have a cash bar. I’m begging you! If your budget is minimal consider having a signature cocktail or doing beer and wine only. Most of your guests have likely traveled to be at your wedding, booked a hotel room and bought you a wedding present. The least you can do is treat them to a cocktail!
Tell us a little about what you’re doing now and your hobbies
My husband and I are still getting settled into our first home. I’ve been busy nesting away! Lots of time has been spent entertaining in our backyard and hanging out with friends. I also enjoy reading, cuddling with our 2 kitties and watching bad reality TV. =)
Photographer: Katie Day
Cinematography: Andrew Logan Price
Layout + Table Design: Finishing Touch Event Design
Ceremony Music: Searcy String Quartet
Reception Music: William Staggers Trio
Wedding invitations + Programs: Sincerely Yours Paper Inc.
Bride’s shoes: Christian Louboutin
Wedding Dress: Enzoani
Bride’s Hair + Make-up: Payton Place Salon
Bridesmaid Dresses: Dillards
Flower Girl Dresses: The Toggery
Bow Ties: Southern Proper
Wooden Sign: Chocolate Butterbean
Wedding Cake + Catering: David Garner, Marlsgate Plantation
Rentals: Mahaffey Tent
Vintage Car: Vintage Motor Car Company