We loved seeing this wedding come together after a long wait! The Spring setting was gorgeous, and the guests were an amazing group. The bride and groom were so relaxed and were able to truly enjoy the day. They ended the night hanging out by the fire and roasting marshmallows - so sweet!
Venue Pleasant Union Farm
Photos Blush and Berry Photography
Floral Stems Atlanta
Coordination White Vine Weddings
Catering Prestige Catering
DJ MSA Entertainment
When one of our favorite florists, Stems Atlanta, asked if they could plan a surprise proposal for one of their employees who we love to have at the venue - it was an immediate "Yes!"
Heather mentioned setting up a picnic for them at the farm, and she was working through details. A couple days later, The Plaid Picnic Company reached out to me about their services (styled picnics for birthdays, dates, elopements - anything you can dream of!). It seemed like a great fit for what Heather was planning.
The picnic was perfect!
The Plaid Picnic Company styled the picnic around Ray and Jose's song "Honey Bee" by Blake Shelton. There were so many gorgeous details fro the honey bee plates, to the layered rugs, pillows and candles.
When Ray arrived, their song was playing and she walked through an aisle of rose petals, candles and pictures of her and Jose.
Ray thought she was coming to the venue for a styled shoot and was completely surprised! You can read all about it at the link below!
Congratulations - you're engaged and starting on planning your wedding! You may quickly find that some wedding pros seems to be speaking a separate language. What is a First Look? Why are there so many questions about seating charts? And what is the deal with this heart shaped table they keep talking about?
Good news - we've got you covered with explanations of some of the most frequent terms so you know you are all on the same page!
Photo by Capture Thirteen Photography
There are a lot of specialties that go into wedding photos to fully capture the memories. You want to make sure you work with an experienced wedding photographer so they know the flow of the day and will take care of all the photos.
First Look - This is an option to see your fiance before the wedding. Many couples choose this options because it lets them see each other in a private moment which often helps calm your nerves. It also lets the photographer get pictures of just the two of you with minimal distractions. This is not mandatory! Plenty of couples still wait until the bride is walking down the aisle for the first glimpse.
First Touch - An option to the First Look is to stand around a corner, on either side of a door or back to back so you don't see each other but can still talk and hold hands. Couples use this as an opportunity to pray together, share love notes or just talk for a few moments.
Photo by Capture Thirteen Photography
Detail Photos - These are all the pictures of the details that make up the day. Wedding shoes, bouquets, the wedding dress, invitations, rings and so much more. Your photographer usually gets these when they first arrive. It's helpful to have as many of these items as possible in a bag together so you don't have to hunt them down.
Getting Ready Photos - The name for these are a bit misleading. Most photographers are not there hours early to take pictures as you are getting all your hair and makeup done. These are focused on the final details such as putting on jewelry or shoes, Final shots of buttoning your dress or makeup touch up. This is also the time for pictures with you and your close family or friends in the moments before the ceremony.
Immediate Family Photos - So, who exactly is your immediate family? The answer is up to you. Typically, immediate family includes parents, siblings and grandparents. You can also include Aunts, Uncles and Cousins. Just make sure to communicate to your family who needs to stick around after the ceremony to be in the pictures. Your officiant can also ask for all parents and grandparents to remain for photos.
There are many specialty names for florals, but we will just cover some of the most common. Your florist can walk you through the names for everything. Always share pictures with them and ask them for pictures if you can't clearly picture what they are describing.
Wrist Corsage - Most of us may be familiar with a traditional corsage that is a small flower arrangement pinned on the front of a dress for female family members. A wrist corsage is a great option to avoid the pins and make sure there is no damage to dresses. There are many elegant options such as gold wrist cuffs with flowers attached or simple plastic pieces that disappear under the flowers.
Posey - This is another option for mothers or grandmothers. It's a petite bouquet that they carry instead of a corsage.
Boutonniere - This is the small flower arrangement for the guys. It typically is pinned on the front of a suit jacket or shirt. It is often used for the groom, groomsmen, fathers, grandfather and, optionally, the officiant. It lets guests know who the special people in your life are.
Boutonniere photo by Elicia Bryan Photography
Table Garland - This is a popular table decoration that lines greenery down the center of the table like a runner. It can also include flowers.
Photo by Andy Calvert Photography
Table Options and Decor
There are lots of options to make your reception setting unique. And they can often be overwhelming! Here are a few terms to help you decide how you want your reception set.
Votives - These are the small candles and their holders used to decorate tables and other areas.
Chargers - These are the large, decorative plates that go under your dinner plate. They add additional color, elegance and sparkle to the table. They are completely optional!
Sweetheart Table - That's the heart shaped table they keep talking about!! It's really not a heart shaped table (well, it could really be any shape you want). It's basically a table just for you and your new spouse! It is typically set at the front of the reception space as a place of honor.
Head Table - If you aren't crazy about the idea of everyone looking at you during dinner, than a Head Table option may work for you. This includes your wedding party (with or without their dates). This takes some of the direct attention off you and gives you more time with them.
Photo by Elicia Bryan Photography
Seating Chart Options
A seating chart is not mandatory, but it's most likely something you will get asked about. There are a few different ways to manage a seating chart. Seating charts do make it easier for your guests to find their seat and know there is space for them with anyone in their family or group.
Assigned by Table - With this option you simply let guests know which table to sit at. They can choose how they arrange themselves at the table. For this option, you will need a list of names broken up by table number and displayed in an easy to find place. It's also a good idea to have your DJ let guests know where to find it or have the coordinator team direct guests to the chart.
Place Cards - This often goes along with a seating chart and provides a specific seat for each person. The place cards with their name will be placed at their seat for them to find.
Escort Cards - These are displayed away from the table, usually where guests enter the reception or cocktail space. It provides their name and the number of the table they will be sitting at. These can be creative options beyond just cards - small succulent favors, champagne glasses, etc.
Photo by Kanella Photography
The ceremony offers many options to be personal and meaningful. Again, you have lots of options, but you only need to choose what works for you.
Processional - This is at the beginning of the ceremony when the bridal party, parents and grandparents walk down to their places. You can choose to have your grandparents be escorted down or seated before based on their needs and preferences. There are many options for the bridal party. The groom and groomsmen can walk down first. The groom can walk down first and then the bridesmaids and groomsmen can walk down in pairs. Share your vision with your coordinator and they will walk you through the steps.
Recessional - This is at the end and the opposite of the Processional. You and your new spouse will walk back down the aisle first, followed by the bridal party (individually or in pairs) and then parents and grandparents (if you choose). You will choose special songs for both the Processional and Recessional.
Unity Ceremony - This is a small ceremony within the larger ceremony that physically symbolizes your unity. A unity candle is one of the most common, but there are many options such as a braided cord, planting a tree, sand ceremony, etc. Feel free to do some research on Unity Ceremony ideas to choose one that may work for you. This is also optional and not a required part of the ceremony!
Photo by Dolce Amore Photography
We hope some of these terms will help you as you plan a wedding to reflect your style and personality. Let us know if there are other terms you learned in wedding planning that we didn't cover!
If you are from the South (or have been around any of us Southerners for long) you know we love our traditions, and weddings are no exception! We've rounded up some of our favorites for you to look through. Whether you choose to include some of them in your wedding or not, we promise to show you some true Southern Hospitality.
We are fortunate in the South to have a long growing period which provides us with plenty of beautiful flowers. You will often find some of our southern favorites such as peonies, hydrangea, gardenia, magnolia and more. These flowers are often have large, fluffy blooms and amazing scents.
Double up on southern florals by choosing a garden setting for your ceremony!
Photo by Ancho Aweigh Photography
Groom's Cake aren't specific to the South, but we do use it as an opportunity to tell a little bit about the groom. Whether it's a map of the Applachian Trail which the Groom hiked or a cake honoring his Alma Mater, Groom Cakes are a fun addition. These can be served at the rehearsal dinner or wedding reception.
This may not seem like a wedding item, but we take our college football seriously in the South! We have seen wedding colors honoring college teams, pompoms for send off and it's common to see groups gathered around a smartphone getting score updates during the fall! We've even had one wedding bring in a tail gate company with large TVs to show the game.
Photo by Kelly Breann Photoraphy
One of the best parts of a southern wedding is the food! Chicken and waffles, shrimp and grits, biscuits, cornbread, bbq - you have tons of options to show off your favorite southern cuisine. Our preferred caterers know Southern Food and will treat you right!
Photo by Shannon Ford Photography
Signature Cocktails are a great way to expand on your bar offerings without getting into the expense and complications of a full bar. Show off some southern spirits or use a fun name for your cocktail to tell guests a fun fact about you as a couple (or use it as a way to include your pups in the event!) We love to see Signature Cocktails featuring our farm grown blueberries such as a spiked Blueberry Lemonade, Blueberry Mojito or Blueberry Belini.
Photo by Mary Claire Photography
Last, but not least, is the Southern tradition of outdoor ceremonies. Southerners are willing to brave the heat for beautiful scenery and blue skies overhead. Our ceremony space is surrounded by gardens with views to the blueberry fields. We also have a large covered porch (another Southern tradition) that allows you to keep your outdoor ceremony even during a little rain.
Photo by Capture Thirteen Photography
We can't wait to see which traditions you include in your wedding!
Are you stuck on deciding what your wedding style might be? Not sure what the different style names mean - classic, modern, garden, boho? We've got you covered!
Your floral choices often make the biggest impact on your style. After that, the color palette and decor options add to the style. Browse through the examples and descriptions below to find your style.
This style is a little whimsical, free flowing, soft, and romantic. Lots of soft lighting, flowing fabrics and flowers. Often garden style focuses on local, seasonal flowers because they provide options such as cosmos, dahlias and garden roses that are fragile and not always available to ship.
Talk with your florist about airy and flowing arrangements - nothing too tight and formal.
Photos by Hillary Leah Photography
Photos by Syd & Lex Photography
Classic style is timeless. This style is more formal, often with lots of white and soft color palettes. The floral arrangements are more structured. Think gold chargers, cloth napkins and formal dress code for guests. You may find lots of sparkle in glassware, glass containers with candles and more.
Photos by Anchor Aweigh Photography
Photos by Capture Thirteen Photography
Photos by Kelly Breann Photography
Modern style is streamlined often with geometric shapes, simple color palettes and lots of straight lines. This style is often seen in industrial settings, but is a great fit for other venue types also. Geometric lanterns and simple pillar candles fit well in this style. White and greenery is a popular color palette, but you can definitely add in more color. Succulents fit well in this style, also!
Photos by Ginger Snap Studios
Photos by Shannon Ford Photography
Boho style is wild and free form with lots of color. Layers add to this style through rugs, ribbons, macrame and more. If you like to "break the rules", this style make be perfect for you. Flower crowns work in place of a veil and boho style wedding dresses are often loose and flowing. Forget about high heels and think sandals or converse for your wedding shoes.
Photo by Camille Wilson Photography
Photos by Dolce Amore Photography
The best part about your wedding style, is you can combine these and make it anything you want! Make sure your style reflects you as a couple, and you will love the end result!
Before you started planning a wedding, there were probably tons of things you never needed to know about. What should a great caterer provide? What does a DJ really do? How is wedding cake different than other cake? It's a lot to try and become an "expert" in very quickly.
Today, we are going to talk some about Wedding Florists. This one probably intimidates me the most to talk to you about because we get to work with so many AMAZING florists, and they know way more than me. But, hey, florist friends feel free to add in the comments!!
Photo Capture Thirteen Photography; Florals Stems Atlanta
There are a couple categories of florists that I'll focus on. Floral Shops and Studio Florists
These are the storefronts you can walk into to order flowers for all kinds of occasions - birthday flowers, funeral arrangements, valentines bouquets, get well flowers and wedding flowers. Some of the perks of working with a floral shop is they can handle smaller orders more easily. They have large amounts of flowers coming in that they use for all the types of orders mentioned above. So, if you want to just do a bouquet or two, they can usually work with you at a good price point. Some floral shops have a large wedding team and they can do multiple weddings in a day - that way you have a better chance of booking your dream floral team.
These florists often focus on weddings. They do not have a storefront, but rather work in rented studio space or have studio space at their home. Since they specialize in weddings, you can get more unique designs. They also order the flowers specifically for your wedding, which means you have more control over what goes into your overall floral package. They often keep smaller design teams to ensure high quality, so book them quickly!
Photo Camille Wilson Photography, Florals Stems Atlanta
What about DIY?
My first question to you would be, what is your goal in choosing DIY? Save money? You love the idea of creating the flowers yourself?
If it's saving money, I would recommend you really look into what the total cost will be. There are websites that advertise wholesale flowers to the public - but their pricing is not wholesale. You are spending just as much on the flowers (if not more) than you would pay a florist for their materials. So then it comes down to design cost and time. Flowers need to be put together no earlier than a day before the wedding and then kept in a cooler (with no fruit in it!). Otherwise, you need to put them together on the day of the wedding. (When you also need to have hair and makeup done, photos and so much more). There is also the issue of transporting them to the venue (spilled flowers in your car are not an added stress you want on your wedding day) and the time to set them out on the tables.
If you really love the idea of creating the flowers yourself and you know what you can handle, then look carefully into where you can get flowers. As I mentioned the "wholesale websites" are not really a great deal. Instead, look into local flower farms or Farmers Markets for locally grown flowers. Keep your plan simple on what you are creating, when you are putting the flowers together and who is placing them for you on your wedding day.
To be completely transparent, I did a lot of my own wedding flowers along with the help of family. I am extremely laid back on a lot of things. I didn't have a professional do my hair and makeup, we were hanging out in shorts and t-shirts that morning putting together flowers and I kept it simple. We had a connection to a real wholesale flower shop so the flowers were affordable. And, one of my family members had worked as a florist for a while and she put together the bouquets for me.
DIY can work, just make sure you are honest with yourself on what you can handle.
Photo Kaptured Photography, Florals Stems Atlanta
Where do the flowers come from?
This is another question that a lot of couples don't even know to ask (or why it matters). Flowers are grown all over the world in different climates, seasons and methods. The great thing about that is it gives you access to flowers that might be out of season locally - like peonies that grown in Alaska for a large portion of the year. However, those come with a higher cost due to shipping. Flowers that are shipped in also have a shorter life span (they've already spent some time in shipping since they were fresh cut).
Locally grown and US grown flowers is another great option. Locally grown flowers can give you blooms that aren't able to ship - they are just too fragile. They also tend to have more scent to them than ones that are shipped.
US grown can be shipped, but at a much shorter distance so they tend to last a little longer.
And, if you choose our farm for your wedding venue, you may even have some flowers that are grown at our farm! You can't get much more local than that!
You're planning your wedding - yay! And now you need to hire a Dj - or do you? Can't you just play a Spotify list on your phone?
Image by Stephen Judy
More than just Music
A good wedding DJ does more than just play music. They provide a sound system fit for the venue, microphones as needed for the ceremony and act as MC to keep the events flowing smoothly. They work closely with the coordinator to let guests know when it's time to be seated for dinner, they announce when it's time for cake cutting, bouquet toss and other items that guests don't want to miss. And they can read the crowd to know when a little extra help is needed to get the guests out on the dance floor (we've seen our favorite DJ's out leading the crowd in dancing!)
Music is an art
There is a BIG difference in what a qualified wedding DJ provides vs. running a Spotify list. Let's start with the ceremony. A DJ has the ability to start and stop songs at certain points so you have your favorite part of the song playing as you walk down the aisle. They can also smoothly transition between songs with no downtime. Waiting to walk down the aisle is often one of the most nerve wracking parts of wedding day and waiting for your cousin's boyfriend to get the right song to play just adds to the nerves.
It's not just music for ceremony and dancing, you don't realize how important background music during dinner is until it's absolutely silent. Background music adds to the overall atmosphere and keeps conversation flowing.
Ok, raise your hand if you've ever been busting moves to your favorite music on the radio or Pandora only to have your groove interrupted by commercials? (it's ok, no one's looking, you can admit it) You want the music to keep flowing and blend smoothly during dancing. It keeps guests on the dancefloor and having a good time.
Photo by Hillary Leah Photography
What will it cost?
A qualified wedding DJ (you want to make sure they have experience with weddings so they understand the flow of the day) can range from $650 to $1200+ in the Atlanta area. If you get quotes from someone who is lower, make sure you ask plenty of questions on the equipment they provide, how many weddings they have done, do they have all the music downloaded or do they require a wifi connection to download as they go.
You can find some of our favorite DJ's listed on our Vendors page.
Cake is perhaps one of my favorite wedding foods - especially GOOD wedding cake! (And, yes, I said perhaps - blame it on my love of Jane Austen books)
We'll start with some info on the traditional wedding cake and then talk about other options (because, yes, you can do something besides the traditional cake!)
Photo by Mary Claire Photography
The Top Tier
Traditionally, the top tier is saved for the couple's 1 year anniversary. You do need to wrap it really well to freeze it and enjoy it at your one year anniversary. Your baker should be able to give you instructions on this or Google is always your friend.
If you go this route, make sure you have enough servings on the other tiers to serve your guests. Also let the caterer or whoever is cutting your cake know to save the top.
Some bakers are switching to provide a separate anniversary cake so there is no chance of the top tier accidentally being served. You can also ask your baker for a "credit" to come back in a year and get a fresh cake from them
What about cake flavor?
Well, the best news is wedding cake no longer is just one flavor - there are tons of options! The flavors available will depend on the cake baker/artist you hire. We've had some amazing flavors and it's hard to pick a favorite. Lemon and blueberry, Marble with maple frosting, chocolate with peanut butter frosting, cookie butter cake (think Biscotti in cake form) - so many delicious flavors!
Some cake artists will allow you to do a different flavor on each tier - you'll just need to check with your chosen baker.
Photo by Hillary Leah Photography
You want your cake to be delicious AND pretty - that's not too much to ask, right? Nope - not at all. There are lots of amazing bakers that make delicious and beautiful cakes. Each baker will have their own style, so make sure you look at their work. But great cake artists love a challenge, too - so don't be afraid to send them inspiration that you don't see on their website.
Current trends lean toward buttercream icing instead of fondant. If you have ever had fondant, you are probably thrilled with that trend! Fondant can make an extremely smooth cake and is used to create figures but buttercream icing has it beat in taste!
Cake decorations can range from fresh flowers, edible sugar flowers, buttercream "painted" designs and so much more. If you are planning on fresh flowers, those typically come from your florist so make sure you connect the two vendors.
This piece can be tricky depending on your venue or caterer. Your cake baker will deliver the cake to your venue, but they do not stay to cut it. You need to make sure your caterer, coordinator or venue staff are lined up for that job. Check to see if there is a separate fee for cake cutting or if it's included. You do need someone who knows how to cut a wedding cake correctly to get the right amount of servings out of it. (See, who knew there was a special way to cut cake?)
Photo by Kaptured Photography
It doesn't have to be Cake!
Catering is typically the biggest wedding expense after the venue. It makes sense - you are serving dinner (usually) to 100+ of your closest friends and family. Even if you took them all to Chick-fil-a, you would have a big bill!
Let's talk about the different options for catering.
After the ceremony, you, your new spouse and family are wrapped up in pictures. This can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour depending on the number of pictures, how large your family is (and how well everyone follows directions!) Your guests are mingling at this time, waiting for dinner and sometimes wondering what they are supposed to be doing.
The bar usually opens up at this time, so it's a great time to offer them so food also. It can be as simple as cheese and crackers or an elaborately curated appetizer. Whatever you choose, it's a good idea to have something to keep your guests happy until dinner time.
Photo Hellen Oliveira Photography
We are focusing on a dinner timing but we've had brunch weddings, heavy appetizers, etc. Choose what works best for you as a couple.
Catering menus can range from 1 meat and 1 side to LOTS more options. Your guests will have a variety of food preferences and, even, restrictions. Offering a few options helps everyone fill their plate. Most of our couples offer a menu with two entrees, two - three sides, and bread.
Check with your caterer to see if they offer a kids option or if they let you provide separate food for kids. Most 4 - 9 year olds won't eat a plate full (unless it's a plate full of macaroni and cheese and a roll - yep, seen that). A simpler option may save money and keep any young guests happy.
Photo Andy Calvert Photography
Late Night Snacks
Some trends are totally worth it - like late night snacks! After your guests have been dancing and drinking for a while, loading them up on some snacks before you send them off is a great idea! We've seen fried apple pies, cookies, donuts, bbq sliders - so many options. Your caterer is a valuable resource with this as they can estimate how many guests may still be there at the end and want a late night snack - you don't usually need to plan for your full guest count on this one.
Catering is more than just the menu options. You want a caterer that has done weddings before so they understand the flow. They should have all the equipment and staff needed to get the food there and keep it hot, keep buffet filled or serve plated meals, clean tables and more.
When you are comparing costs, make sure you understand if tax and service fee is included in the initial price. If not, that adds 20% - 30%. Most of our preferred caterers fall in the $30 - $55/person price range. That includes non-alcoholic drinks, tax and service fee. It adds up quickly when you have 100 - 200 guests, but it matches up with what you would pay at a good restaurant. And you want good food for your wedding!
Check out our Vendors page for some of our preferred caterers!
Photos Capture Thirteen Photography
Floral Stems Atlanta
Coordination Winey Blonde Events
Cake My Cake Lady Lynne
Venue Pleasant Union Farm
Pleasant Union Farm is a family owned wedding venue in North GA, about an hour north of Atlanta.