Let’s face it, if you are planning for your “Best Day Ever,” I’ll bet most of your Pinterest boards are loaded with reception ideas and bridal attire. Be sure to set aside time for your wedding ceremony planning. You could consider the ceremony to be the most important part of your wedding day …the reason you have invited all of your guests and where you will display the love you have for one another.
Below is a timeline of ideas to assist in wedding ceremony planning:
The rehearsal can give you peace of mind and remind everyone: when they walk, where they stand, what you two will say, where parents sit, etc. It should take around an hour and can be done anytime during the week before your wedding day. It does not have to occur at the ceremony site, either. Rehearsals are optional, but will give you a better feel for how the ceremony will flow
Plan for thirty minutes of music before your ceremony starts, which is when guests begin to arrive. Did you know its proper for guests to arrive and be seated twenty minutes before? See Wedding Etiquette for more rules every southern girl should know.
Processional: If grandparents are in attendance, they are seated first. Next, the MOB (mother of bride) is escorted by a special gentleman (brother, son, etc) and seated to the left on the first row. Then, the MOG (mother of the groom) is seated on the right on the first row. The groom, best man, and officiant usually walk in together either down the aisle or from the side. Groomsmen will follow. The ladies walk down the aisle, usually to different music, however this is completely up to you. Maid of honor will be last in line, so she will be standing next to you at the altar
Should you have any flower girls, ring bearers, etc., they will walk down the aisle right before you. I think they just add the perfect amount of sweetness to a ceremony. Yes, you should have children in your ceremony, if at all possible. They don’t steal the show, just add to it
Traditionally, a bride is accompanied by her father on her right side and will lift her veil as they reach the end of the aisle. In unique family situations, this is an opportunity to honor your loved ones and choose your escort/s according to your unique situation. See Music for “your” Wedding Ceremony. Now, here’s a tradition I happen to love (I have two daughters). The MOB is the first to rise upon seeing the bride and her father (or whoever is escorting you) and then guests will follow her lead. This gives the MOB a sweet moment before all the guests rise, potentially blocking her view. Also, can’t fail to mention the look on the groom’s face as he gets a glimpse of his true love …another favorite moment! This is probably the best and only reason you might forgo the “first look.”
The officiant will greet all the guests and announce the reason for the gathering. This is also a great time to add a little background to the couple’s story, also known as, the marriage address.
One to three readings are appropriate, (as well as none) but certainly optional. Many other rituals are completely up to you if you choose to include, i.e., unity candle, jumping the broom, sand ceremony, foot washing, and many more.
A hymn or solo is a great way to add a special moment to your ceremony. Again, this can be left out as well.
Exchanging of Vows:
This symbolizes the moment when the bride and groom become husband and wife. Whether you choose traditional vows or write your own, this is your chance to declare to everyone what you will honor in your marriage.
Don’t forget the ring vows, which seals the promises exchanged. Most couples wouldn’t think to practice this, but its a good idea. I've heard so many mention the trouble they had slipping the ring on to someone else’s finger.
After your officiant presents you to your guests and you seal the ceremony with a kiss, you two will walk back down the aisle as husband and wife. My suggestion is to choose an upbeat song for the recession to emulate the joy and happiness of the event.
Now that you’re married, let the celebration continue!!!
- Allison Parker of L&L Farm in Tennessee
Authentic farm weddings hold our heart. We were already excited to add farm grown flowers to our wedding offerings, but after seeing the inspiration dreamed up by this talented team of vendors - we are ecstatic for what the future holds!
Photographer Hillary Leah Photography
Florist Stems Atlanta
China The Prissy Plate Company
Cakes My Cake Lady Lynne
Dresses Wedding Angels Bridal
Hair and Make Up Honey Comb Charm Beauty Parlor
Venue Pleasant Union Farm
Are you stuck at the intersection of Pinterest overload with visions of glistening weddings and making those dreams a reality? Weddings need a whole cast of supporting teams to run smoothly and bring your vision to life.
Some of those vendors may be easy to figure out - florist, cake designer, venue. Others may not jump out at you right away - like a Day of Coordinator.
We’ve got you covered with a list of vendors and their role in serving your wedding day.
1. Venue - we are starting here because venues set you up for many of your later decisions. Your wedding date will be set once you book your venue and you’ll need that information for all the other vendors.
Some venues include certain vendors - think catering or coordinator. That will cross some off your list (but make sure you verify their roles so you know you are fully covered)
Your dream venue may also have a list of Preferred Vendors. This can be handled a couple of ways. They may require you to choose from them - check out these vendors to know if they are a good fit and stick within your budget. Another Preferred Vendor style does not require you to use them but I would highly recommend looking into these vendors. Your venue is letting you know these vendors have consistently done a great job and they enjoy working with them. That smooth working relationship will be valuable on your wedding day.
2. Photographer - photographers typically do one wedding a day. There are exceptions with larger photography studios that employ several photographers and have someone oversee editing style - but this is a minority of what couples choose.
You want to find a photographer whose style you love and whose personality you click with.
Their style encompasses their editing style and what types of photos they take - is it mainly posed, lots of candids, details, etc. Think through all of these as you decide what photos you want to tell your wedding story.
Their personality is extremely important. You need to be relaxed and have fun with them to make you comfortable in front of the camera!
There are a list of other photo sessions you may want to book - engagement session (great for Save the Date announcements and wedding website), Bridal Portrait, Boudoir, Trash the Dress, etc.) Check our what your photographer offers and what you are interested in.
Please, do not go with the cheapest price here! This is the lasting memory of the wedding day and you don’t get a do over.
3. Caterer - your guests will remember the food! This is a key part to ensuring your guests enjoy the day. If your venue includes the catering, that will help streamline the process but you still need to do your homework to make sure everything you need/want is included.
Appetizers - do they include appetizers for cocktail hour? Besides the fact that alcohol with no food is not a great idea, the inclusion of appetizers will help your guests enjoy Cocktail hour. This helps bridge the time between ceremony and dinner. You will be busy with post ceremony photos which could take 30 mins - 1 hour. A few appetizers will help carry guests over to dinner and enjoy the time.
Entrees - what are your choices and how many entrees are provided? Having at least two entree options for guests help ensure the majority can find something they enjoy.
Sides - along with entrees, two - three side options help fill in for your guests. Keep in mind options that meet dietary needs like vegetarian or gluten free.
Services - caterers do much more than just provide the food. They provide the equipment needed to keep it hot or cold, set up food, serve, clean tables, handle trash, cake cutting and more.
Make sure you find out if they are providing plates, cups, napkins. Ask if they are disposable or china and make sure that matches up with your vision.
4. Florist - your florist can handle anything from flower design to additional decor to full wedding design. Talk through the options with your florist and what they include with each to determine what you need. Your florist should handle delivery, setup and breakdown of your flowers. They may also stay to help with a room "flip" if you are doing your ceremony and reception in the same space.
If your venue includes floral, make sure you get the details on what is included in the pricing! It can be anything from bridal bouquet and groom's boutonniere only to table centerpieces and more. You also want to understand what style and types of flowers are included. If you are dreaming of a lush, cascading bouquet filled with peonies - that may cost extra!
5. Cake Designer - tiered wedding cakes take skill to make and ensure they are beautiful and tasty! Your cake designer will do a tasting with you to determine which flavors you prefer, talk through the design and what type of icing may be needed and discuss additional items like incorporating flowers from your florist into the design. Your cake designer will deliver the cake to your venue - this is a critical piece and great vendors know how to construct the cake so it will arrive safely. They will not, however, stay to cut the cake. That's why is critical to talk with your caterer to make sure they cover this. They will need to cut it correctly to make sure there is enough cake for all the guests.
6. DJ - they aren't just here to play some dance music! Your DJ will often cover ceremony music as well. They will cue the songs at the right moments to ensure everything runs smoothly. They often provide wireless mics for the officiant. Your DJ should have all their own sound equipment that they bring with them. This ensures they know how it works and that it will work for your wedding day! Rented equipment and playlists on an ipad do not compare!
Your DJ will get your list of songs for First Dance, Parent Dances, etc. plus your list of Do and Do Not play items to keep the party going. They should have soft background music during cocktail hour and dinner to complement the setting. Dead silence during dinner can make everyone uncomfortable!
They will also work with your Coordinator to make announcements and keep the schedule for the day going.
7. Day of Coordinator - they can also be referred to as Month of Coordinator, Wedding Planner, etc. Terms are used differently depending on the area you are in and you'll want to understand what each one includes. At a minimum, you will want someone to come alongside you about a month before the wedding. They should gather all your vendor information and become the primary point of contact for vendors to make sure your wedding vision comes to life. Your Coordinator will also develop your timeline so everyone knows when to arrive and what should happen in order. They will make sure your vendors have the venue information and show up on time the day of your wedding.
They will become your main point of contact throughout the day for any questions or concerns you may have. Your Coordinator will cue everyone through the ceremony and reception to keep everything running smoothly. They should be there until the end of the night for the send off and then to help pack up the personal items that should go home with you, your parents, etc.
8. Bartender - each state, county or city will have specific requirements for serving alcohol at your wedding. The right bartender will make sure everything meets these requirements. They keep the alcohol service running smoothly throughout the night and make sure everyone has a good time safely! The liability on the couple as a host can be huge, so make sure you dot your i's and cross your t's on this one!
9. Rentals/Decor - these are the touches that help make your day unique, but it can also become overwhelming quickly! If you are renting items or bringing in decor, you need to understand who will be delivering, setting up and removing all the items (and within your venue's time allowance). Most rental companies will deliver and they may do one set up, but they won't stick around to move chairs from ceremony to reception. There may be additional set up fees for rented china, table decor, etc. Typically, it's worth it to pay for this! It takes much longer to set out 150 place settings than you think. Plus these are the experts on where everything should be placed and they will make sure it looks perfect. You may think you can enlist your bridesmaids to knock it out quickly, but remember they are doing hair and makeup and celebrating with you - not trying to remember which side of the plate the fork goes on.
10. Officiant - someone has to make it legal! There are several choices for who will perform your actual ceremony. It may be a minister that you know personally, an officiant that specializes in weddings or perhaps two best friends that introduced you and decide to become ordained to perform your ceremony! Make sure you have time to talk with your officiant so they can get to know you a little, understand what type of ceremony you want and go through your vows.
11. Hair and Makeup Artist - these vendors will bring out your beauty to help you feel your best and shine in photos. You have a range of options from going to a salon to finding professionals who will travel to you. Ask for photos of their work to make sure it matches up with your style. Schedule a trial run a few weeks before your wedding so you both know exactly what you want!
There you have it. By no means an exhaustive list as there are so many options as you develop what is most important to you, but these are some very key vendors you will need. It's a lot to go through, so if you do have a preferred list from your venue or recommendations from others - start there!
Best of luck with the wedding planning!
If you are dreaming of a unique wedding full of character and flavor that emphasizes community, a Farm to Table wedding may be perfect for you.
Farm to Table weddings emphasize what is local and in season to create a wedding that flows perfectly with your location and wedding date. Imagine a Fall wedding surrounded by changing leaves, autumn flowers such as dahlias and crysanthemums highlighting the tones of nature, a family style meal highlighted by roasted autumn vegetables, seasonal greens and crisp apple cider in the cool air. It all flows perfectly and adds character to your wedding that no one else will have. The flowers featured in your bouquet are what is blooming that week and the produce was picked just for you.
We love hosting Farm to Table weddings at our farm. It's a perfect way to tie in our love of farming with the weddings we host. There are many ways to incorporate Farm to Table in your wedding and create the character that reflects you as a couple.
Choose seasonal items in your menu.
Talk with your caterer about what produce is fresh for your wedding date and what they might be able to get locally. Carrots and leafy greens are great in both Spring and Fall and easy to work into your side dishes. Fresh tomatoes and corn will be the highlight of Summer weddings.
Appetizers are a great opportunity to highlight seasonal fare - goat cheese tarts with apples and pickled red onions were a hit at one of our September weddings. Keep it simple with cheese and fruit or crudite trays featuring seasonal produce.
Local, in season produce is picked ripe and used at it's peak which means it's full of flavor that your guests will be delighted with!
Use in season flowers for your bouquet.
If you are struggling with what colors you should use for your wedding or wanting to do something different than the last 10 weddings you've attended, using local, seasonal flowers is a great place to start. Nature drives our color palettes even if we don't realize it - that's why you see soft, romantic tones more in Spring weddings and rich, jewel hues in Fall. If you look around at what is blooming each season, you find it reflected in color palettes. Using in season flowers will provide you with a palette that blends perfectly with the season. The flowers you use are also conditioned to grow in that season, so they will hold up better in arrangements.
Using local flowers gives you access to items that don't ship well and guarantees a unique look. One of the reasons you see roses, hydrangeas, and other similar flowers in most weddings is they ship easily and are available to anyone year round. Field grown flowers like dahlias, zinnias, snapdragons, cosmos and more are best delivered within driving distance and provide unique arrangements.
Consider local vineyards or breweries for your bar.
Take a day to do some wine tasting at local vineyards as part of your wedding planning! In our area of North Georgia, there are several vineyards throughout Ellijay, Blueridge and Dahlonega. Highlight one or two selections in your bar menu for local flavor.
Signature cocktails are also a great way to highlight seasonal flavor. Fresh herbs add lots of flavor to mixed drinks. Pinterest is great for finding great cocktail recipes featuring in season fruit - blackberries, blueberries, peaches, etc. (Blueberry Belini anyone?)
Highlight seasonal fruit in your cake or dessert.
Top your wedding cake with ripe strawberries, peaches, or figs for beautiful decoration and flavor. You can get more creative and add on pies, cobblers, tarts and more that really highlight the flavor of the fruit. Hand out local fried apple pies to guests as they are dancing the night away in the Fall. During the summer, cool off guests during cocktail hour with fresh fruit popsicles or homemade strawberry ice cream.
Gift Farm Fresh favors to your guests.
Soap, lotion, jams, honey, syrup - there are so many options to be found at local farms and Farmer's Markets that will highlight what the community can offer to your guests. Unique items that guests can use or eat are the least likely favors to be forgotten. Share mini jars of local honey in the summer, apple butter in the fall or handmade goat milk soap year round. Add a customized label or stamp, stack them up in crates or place at each setting to fill out your tablescape.
Creating a Farm to Table wedding is a great way to welcome your guests to your wedding and highlight the importance of community. We love to build on the warmth a Farm to Table wedding inspires by serving a portion of the meal family style to start conversations as guests share food. There are so many ways to build on the intimate feeling of a Farm to Table wedding like sharing seeds with guests to start their own garden, using a tree planting as part of your ceremony, highlighting an illustrated map of where the local produce came from at the sign in table and more.
We would love to hear about any ideas you incorporate in your wedding or share some thought starters with you - just leave a comment below!
Find out more about our Farm to Table weddings here.
In all the wedding planning decisions, it’s easy to forget about the core purpose of a wedding. You are running around deciding which style of bridesmaid dress will flatter everyone of your bridesmaids, fielding menu requests from everyone and your uncle (gluten free, vegetarian, doesn’t like cheese, and can you put the carrots on the side of the salad?), trying to understand the difference in using local, seasonal, pesticide free flowers vs what you can get easily, year round and you haven’t even had the cake tasting yet. It’s not uncommon for talks of your vows to get pushed to the end. Then your scrambling, finding out your fiancé thought you were writing vows and you thought you would just use traditional vows, trying to figure out if your faith requires certain types of vows and wondering once again why you can’t just elope.
First step is to sit down with your fiance and talk about how you want to handle your vows. Do you have specific requirements for your faith? Do you want to use traditional vows? Do you want to write your own? Or maybe just tweak traditional vows a little?
If you do decide to write your own vows, make sure you set a framework. Will you be writing your vows together or separately? Even if you each write on your own, talk through what you want them to look like so your vows flow. You don't want to pour hours into writing heartfelt, emotional vows and then hear your fiance recite just a couple lines back to you that you think he came up with about an hour ago...
Feel free to use traditional vows as a template or search online for some other vows to start with. There's nothing wrong with using traditional vows either. That's what my husband and I chose to do - they were the words that spoke to us about marriage and what we were committing to each other.
I, ________, take thee, ________, to be my wedded husband/wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part.
The most important thing is to make sure your vows communicate what you are committing to each other. And what do you need to be reminded of 5, 10, 25 years into your marriage. Not when you're out on a romantic date, but when you are surrounded by screaming kids, dirty laundry, dirty dishes, missed deadlines, etc. - that's when you need the reminder the most!
Exchanging your vows may be a small part of the wedding time wise, but they are the center of your wedding celebration. Take a date night to talk with your fiance about how these will best reflect you as a couple!
We've had a busy spring and summer for Wedding Inspiration Styled Shoots this year! This one has a soft spot for me since it ties in with my Interior Design background. Karen Gramlich with Winey Blonde pulled everything together. Stems Atlanta created a gorgeous centerpiece and bouquet that featured several blooms from the farm including hellebores, sweet shrub, native azalea and dogwood branches. The blueprint inspired cake from Cake Envy would be a gorgeous choice for any blue and white wedding. Shannon Ford Photography captured everything in her soft, signature style.
Coordination/Planning - Winey Blonde
Venue - Pleasant Union Farm
Photography - Shannon Ford Photography
Floral - Stems Atlanta
China - The Prissy Plate Company
Linens - BBJ Linens
Stationery - Typo Boutique
Menus/Placecards - Along the Lines by KB
Rings - Union Diamond
Bridal Attire - Bride Beautiful
Cake/Desserts - Cake Envy
Hair - Hair by Tori K
Makeup - Hlee Moua Artistry
Chairs - Peachtree Tents and Events
This gorgeous styled shoot featured a modern, organic style and - bonus - farm to table food and flowers! We worked with some amazing vendors to pull this all together.
LowCo Motion Food Truck provided delicious farm to table fare including bbq sliders with pimiento cheese, a gorgeous charcuterie board and deviled eggs.
Beautiful Wild Design used local, in season flowers from 3 Porch Farm and Earth Dog Flowers to create the flower design.
The sliding glass doors and barn wood create a beautiful setting for a modern organic style and showcase the venue in a different and beautiful way!
Full vendor list below
Design + Styling: @juststyling
Floral Design: @beautifulwilddesign
Models: @keanna_janice + Dalton Isley
Stationery and Signage: @mspeachplusdesigns
Caterer/Food Truck: @lowcomotionatl
Fine rugs: @gallimorefinerugs
Chair + Decor Rentals: @fourinchfold
Groom Rings: @stagheaddesigns
There are tons of places to pull inspiration from when determining your wedding color palette (Pinterest, The Knot, wedding magazines, etc.), but you can also create your own palette around colors that have meaning to you (that’s what I love to see!)
My husband is a Tennessee fan (Go Vols!) so orange was the only color he cared about – it also happened to NOT be one of my favorites. Blue and darker tones are my favorites, but we were having a Spring wedding. We ended up with shades of cream, pink and orange in the flowers with navy accents. And I ended up loving the way the orange looked mixed in. It was not done in a way that screamed college football AT ALL (probably myself and Cale were the only ones who knew why the orange was there), but it had a meaning behind it.
So, what colors stand out to you? Do they have a meaning behind them? (It's ok if they don't, you can also choose colors that you just love from your inspirations)
Typically, Spring and Summer weddings have lighter and brighter colors that complement the seasonal colors. You can mix in a favorite dark color to really add a pop - especially when you have an outstanding florist to back you up!
Fall brings out our love for all things moody and saturated - colors that mix with the changing leaves and crisp air.
A great way to ensure your color palette melds with your wedding season is to use locally grown, in season flowers. We grow a variety of cut flowers on our farm for weddings. Choosing in season flowers gives you a natural color palette that is unique to your wedding date and works perfectly with the surrounding colors of nature. On my wedding day, Queen Anne's Lace and native orange daylilies were blooming along the roads. Every year when these flowers come into bloom, I immediately think of my wedding day.
The main thing to remember is it's your wedding and rules are made to be broken (sometimes!). Choose a color palette that works for you and have fun with it!
Finding your dream dress may be even harder than finding the perfect venue for your wedding. For one thing, there are WAY more options! It's also easy to fall in love with something outside of your budget easier (you go to the store to look at a few carefully priced options, see something in the window, and you're sold).
One way to avoid the heartache, is to visit a bridal boutique that only carries dresses within a certain budget. Did you even know those existed? There are two great options in the Atlanta area.
Carrie's Bridal Collection - only carries dresses under $1,000. They have some gorgeous options (up to 500 dresses in the store) in sizes 0 - 28. Walk ins welcome!
Adore Bridal Boutique - this cute little boutique carries dresses in the $900 - $2000 range. Set up an appointment to meet with the staff who will help you choose the perfect dress for you!
Bridals by Madison - yet another cute little boutique to visit! Their average dress is in the $1,500 range. They focus solely on bridal gowns, so set an appointment and enjoy the attention!
Rain on your wedding day - it's supposed to be good luck, but it's not what any bride dreams of, especially if they are looking at outdoor venue options.
There are things on your wedding day that are completely outside of your control and weather is one of those. However, putting a good plan in place will help you not stress over the "what ifs". The good news in Georgia is we don't often have full days of rain. There are often showers with breaks in between, and hopefully, one of those breaks will coordinate with your ceremony!
We do a couple of things at our venue to set up a rain plan. One, we always set up the outdoor ceremony. That way, if we do get a break, we can rush out to dry everything off and let you have the outdoor ceremony you wanted.
Two, we have a rain plan set at least a week in advance for you to approve. We show you the layout for the ceremony inside, talk through if you want to wait a few minutes if the skies look like they might clear, where family pictures will occur and where guests will mingle for cocktail hour.
Having a good plan in place is key no matter where your wedding takes place. The trickiest part is not the ceremony, but having guests separated and comfortable while you take your family and bridal party pictures. Some venues have multiple indoor locations so you can set up the ceremony in one, have cocktails in another and reception in a third. Others, like us, just have a single large space. The size of your wedding and how much time you want for pictures will determine if we do a full ceremony set up and then flip it for reception or do a smaller ceremony, let guests sit at the tables and adjust things during pictures.
Be sure you talk with the venue and your vendors about what additional staff or costs may be needed for each option.
Most importantly, remember the day is about getting married! As long as you and your fiance are husband and wife at the end of the day - that's what it's all about! My husband told me several times that there was room under an umbrella from the two of us and the pastor, and that was all that mattered. Knowing that his key focus was marrying me, kept me from worrying about what the weather might do.
Hi - I'm Becky Kimmons! My husband, Cale, and I are the farmers behind Pleasant Union Farm. (It may be a bit of a stretch to call myself a farmer, but I'm learning as a I go.) Our dream and journey began in our engagement and marriage and allows us to celebrate weddings with couples and families. We are learning much about farming and weddings, and my goal is to share as much as I can with you!