Venue: Northeastern State University-Seminary Hall | Design & Styling : Kirsti Cook
Flowers: A Bloom Flowers & Gifts | Rentals: Party Pro Rents | Jewelry: Meigs Jewelry
I have been swooning over these photos of a recent styled shoot since they arrived in my inbox and am beyond excited to share them with you! Being in Northeast Oklahoma, we are always surrounded by breathtaking nature which is what inspired my vision for this styled shoot. I have always been a lover of greenery and knew that Seminary Hall at Northeastern State University would be the perfect venue to tie in historic and natural elements!
Dress: Facchianos | Photography: Mallory Hall Photography
Venue: Northeastern State University-Seminary Hall | Design & Styling : Kirsti Cook
Flowers: A Bloom Flowers & Gifts | Rentals: Party Pro Rents | Jewelry: Meigs Jewelry
The landscape in front of Seminary Hall is so beautiful this time of year!
I love the texture that the farmhouse table and cross back chairs from Party Pro Rents in Tulsa brought to the overall theme - and I always enjoy working with the sweet staff at Party Pro!
We couldn't help but to pick this perfect bloom from one of the two Magnolia trees in the front lawn to use in these photos - can you blame us??
Meigs Jewelry, a local jewelry store in Tahlequah, was kind enough to let us borrow some of their unbelievable rings and I would be lying if I said we didn't all want to keep them for ourselves! If you are looking for a jeweler for all of lives milestones, you can't find better than the kind hearted staff at Meigs. They treat each customer like family and their products speak for themselves!
Seminary Hall was the most perfect backdrop we could have asked for at NSU. It's history as the original Cherokee National Female Seminary in 1851 makes it a true historical landmark on this campus. While the inside is not available for events, the architecture sets the tone for any event and offers guests a large lawn for wedding receptions.
Our beautiful model, Courtney is also currently serving as Miss NSU so I knew there was no one else better to help us showcase this great venue. She was a natural in front of the camera and looked breathtaking in her gown from Facchiano's Bridal!
I know wedding trends come and go, but I hope oversized bouquets are here to stay! When I shared my vision with a local florist, Josh at A Bloom, I knew I could trust him to take my ideas and make it truly come to life. It is safe to say I was not disappointed when he brought me these oversized blooms of garden roses, a variety of eucalyptus and weeping podacarpus for our Bride!
I can't say thank you enough to the talented vendors that made this styled shoot possible - it was such an honor to work with each of them!
I know it has been a while since I shared with you about Make It Happen by Lara Casey and I promised you then that I would come back to talk to you about Powersheets - but it took me some time to find the words in my heart and "test-drive" my first ever set of Powersheets. I have been praying about if I wanted to share about something so personal but I feel that I am doing a disservice to you by not telling everyone I can!
So many friends, family and coworkers have noticed this "amazing planner" on my desk or have seen pictures on my Instagram and have been asking just what it is - so here you go! For those of you that have not discovered the amazing world of Cultivate What Matters and Powersheets, grab a chair and keep reading!
I, unintentionally, have become a go-to for planner advice so I am more than happy to share with how these products work for me and help you find ways to use them to cultivate purpose in your life too! Keep in mind, the although I use my Powersheets in collaboration with my Emily Ley Simplified Planner, they serve a different purpose than my daily to-do items and tracking my schedule/appointments each day.
Powersheets are designed to be a workbook to track your goals (available in 12 and 6 month versions) and to assist you in creating a roadmap of how to get where you want to be in your life. Some of the areas that are included are Goal Action Ideas, Monthly/Weekly/Daily Tending Lists, Relationship Tending (one of my favorites to hold myself accountable to be a better friend, fiancé and family member), Cultivating Gratitude, Big Dreams, What Fires Me Up, Things I Want to Learn/Things I Learned, and a million more! Also, Keep in mind that I am using a 2016 set of Powersheets so the new ones will look better with the updates the Cultivate What Matters team has made.
A few things from my May tending list:
I am trying something new this month and writing my June Tending List in all black (with my favorite Papermate Flair Pens) instead of color coordinating each item in correlation with the color I write that Goal in at the beginning of the year - not sure how I feel about it but I like mixing it up for now!
A few things from my June Powersheets prep:
Lord have mercy - where do I even begin with how hard Bret and I searched for our wedding venue? We had a very specific vision in mind of where we wanted to celebrate our marriage with our friends and family for our classic southern wedding and that wasn't the easiest to find in our area. We strongly considered a destination wedding to South Carolina or Georgia but couldn't imagine saying "I do" without all of our loved ones.
After searching high and low through traditional wedding venues, historic sites and even writing a letter to the owner of a beautiful home - we finally found our dream venue that is also close to home! This darling mansion is nestled just outside of downtown Fayetteville, AR and they owners are gracious enough to allow us to get married here!
We plan to say "I do" on the front steps, with the home as our backdrop and host our guests for the reception under a large white tent! Truly, what Bret and I had always envisioned for our wedding was one massive dinner party-with 200 of our closest friends and family- so they would feel at home. So you can imagine that we are tickled pink that we are able to host our guests at a home (that I wish was ours) that checks every box on our wish list!
Finally, I get to show y'all a few more of my ideas for our wedding decor! A fellow southern Bride gave me the idea to have a Beau Bar at our wedding and we think it would be a fun way to get our traveling guests in the Southern spirit. Of course, I know bow ties aren't every man's style but I think they are so precious!
And if you ask me - you just can't have a Southern celebration without a little bit of bluegrass music!
Because Bret and I love the Lowcountry so much, we are trying to incorporate as much Spanish Moss as possible. If it were an option to transport a row of Live Oaks to line the driveway I would do it in a heartbeat!
Now that I have started the search for rentals for our big day, I can't want to find the best unique pieces to share with you next! Until then, feel free to see more of my wedding inspiration here on Pinterest.
It is with very happy hands that I type this post because, while I have been over the moon with excitement since Bret and I got engaged, it didn't all feel real and I didn't have that "bride" moment yet. This past weekend my sweet mama and mama-in-law-to-be took me dress shopping and I SAID YES TO THE DRESS! While I don't have all of the answers, I will be sharing some tips with you that made my shopping experience stress free and fun because I think every bride should be singing Oh Happy Day! after dress shopping.
My first appointment was at BeLoved Bridal in Norman, OK where I made friends with the sweetest ladies that helped me find a variety of dresses to try on. I should start by telling you that I did a lot of research before going wedding dress shopping. A LOT.
I found my dream dress in a Southern Weddings blog post a long time ago and was certain that I would be wearing that when I said "I do!" Sounds simple enough, right? That is until I discovered that the only two stores near me that sold Augusta Jones wedding dresses were over three hours away - and neither actually carried that designer anymore. After speaking with Mandy at BeLoved, she told me the best words I have ever heard - that they just so happened to still have MY DRESS in the store!!
Even after trying on my dress, which I loved dearly, I knew it was best to try on different styles to make sure that was the right choice. Of course I wasn't about to say no, when else in her life does a girl get to try on wedding dresses!
This was my almost dress - and you can see why! I love the classic pleating and the bateau neckline on the front for a timeless look and then you get the fun bow detail on the back to make any Bride feel like Audrey Hepburn.
A few tips for other Brides on shopping for your wedding dress:
1. Do your research! I have kept my eye out for ideas on what dress I wanted for years. There are a million different styles, colors and designers out there so it can be helpful for not only you, but the boutique as well, to have an idea before you start trying them on.
2. I made sure that I ate well the week before and drank enough water so that I felt good about the way I looked before going shopping. I will definitely keep trying to get healthier and achieve my fitness goals before the wedding but I knew if I didn't feel good about myself when I went shopping, I wouldn't feel good in my dress.
3. Try on different styles other than the one you think you like. I am not saying you will love them all, but at least try so that you know for sure. I know many Brides that went shopping for a ballgown and ended up buying a mermaid silhouette! While this wasn't true for me, I did try on a variety of styles and ended up going back to the original ballgown because I feel that style is the most flattering on my body type.
4. Know your budget and share that with the boutique! Ladies, this is important for so many reasons I can't even begin to tell you. First, being honest with your budget is important so that the staff can better assist you buy showing you only dresses that fit in your budget. Another thing to keep in mind is to budget for alterations because they can get pretty costly.
I so bad want to show you all which dress I chose but I am waiting until the big day! Until then, just know that I owe Augusta Jones dearly for creating the most beautiful, timeless, 1950's southern-style gown I have ever laid my eyes on!
I was recently gifted a set of Cultivate What Matters Powersheets and a copy of Lara Casey's book, Make It Happen, from a dear friend and let me tell you about how truly amazing they have been! If you know me, you already know how much I adore the culture that Lara Casey cultivates and the heart behind both of her businesses, Cultivate What Matters and Southern Weddings so receiving these was such a blessing! For those of you that might not know what I'm talking about at all - pour yourself a glass of tea and keep reading because I know you will love them too!
First, lets start with Make It Happen. Lara Casey, the intelligent and kindhearted soul behind two of my favorite brands, spilled her heart and wrote a book that spoke to me unlike any bother book ever had. She shared her successes and, more importantly, her failures with readers about the story of her life and how she got where she is today. What really resonated with me is that Lara, the successful creative, that I dearly look up to, shares the EXACT same fears and struggles as I, the newbie to the industry, have! I don't have enough words to say about how encouraging and uplifting each and every page was - Lara might as well have been sitting on the couch next to me!
There were many times I would read a chapter and literally laugh out loud because it was humorous how a stranger could so accurately describe my feelings, fears and anxieties. Make It Happen is for those of us that catch ourselves living a life of comparison, chasing perfection and feeling like we are running ourselves ragged trying to do it all. I didn't like admitting it at first but when Lara said "surrender your fear, take the leap and live on purpose" I knew that is exactly what I had to do to learn to truly live with intention and live a life with purpose so that I can be a better friend, daughter, fiancé, coworker and a better person to myself.
Someone I recommended the book to recently asked me what my favorite part was and I told her, "Don't you mean PARTS??" So after reading back over some of my highlighted chapters, I was able to narrow it down to two (it was really hard!) favorite takeaways.
1. The chapter titled "The Waiting Place" was such a powerful read because every single word was exactly what I needed to read at that exact moment. She says, "...maybe this season of waiting is really a season of preparation, getting you ready for something better. Something you never expected." Wow. I was speechless because I finally was able to tell myself to stop trying to guess God's plan and that I wasn't really living in comparison - but that it was okay to just wait.
2. Early on in Make It Happen, Lara talks about fears - we all have them. I think a lot of us probably have very similar fears with our marriages, family or work lives. One of my biggest fears with my career was always a mystery so I never tried to explain it to anyone because, frankly, I couldn't even explain it to myself. That is when I read that one of Lara's fears was also succeeding and I said to myself "THAT'S ME!" Yes, you read that right. Sometimes I am fearful of my own success. Fearful that I will not be able to handle more responsibilities that successes can bring. With that being said, I will learn to tackle that fear when I find true success in my career!
I read Make It Happen while also learning how to utilize my Powersheets which I think really helped in learning how to manage my goals and to live with progress not perfection! I will save my thoughts on Powersheets for another post so you can get online and grab yourself a copy of Make It Happen and get to reading!
Someone recently asked what the most difficult part of our wedding planning journey has been so far and I will say, without a doubt, finding our venue! We are trying to find a location that can host 200 of our closest friends and family and have the classic southern feel that we are wanting, which isn't the easiest of tasks in Oklahoma and Arkansas where rustic weddings are very popular.
Being a lover of all things Southern and weddings myself, I would be so tickled to get married to The Duke Mansion or The Montage at Palmetto Bluff - but location and budget are somewhat restrictive for us. These locations, and many others, offer couples more of a one-stop-shop venue that can include a ceremony site/chapel, a indoor reception space with an option to celebrate outside under Live Oaks draped with Spanish moss!
Unless we decide to choose to have a destination wedding in the Lowcountry (which is still an option!), our goal is to bring as much of the true Southern feel to Arkansas. Showing our guests Southern hospitality is our biggest wish for our wedding - we want them to feel relaxed as if we are having them to our home for a dinner party!
How charming is the Sommerset Chapel at Palmetto bluff? I would drape magnolia garland over the doors and have a gospel choir singing "Oh Happy Day!" outside as guests exited after the ceremony!
We believe we have found two wonderful options in Arkansas that would meet most of our needs and have the classic Southern look we are dreaming of - thank goodness! While we toured each of them, we were sure to go through the venue checklist that I talked a few weeks ago - if you have questions about what to ask before booking your venue, check it out here!
We will be making our final selection of where we will be saying "I do" very soon and can't wait to share it with you!
P.s - How do you think the owners would feel about me trying to drape artificial Spanish Moss from their trees?
If this day got any better, I would have to hire someone to help me enjoy it! I am happy to announce that I am 1 of 3 current Southern Bride Bloggers for Southern Weddings magazine!
"The Southern Bride Bloggers are a collection of blogs written by our engaged readers (see them all here!). We simply ask that you be engaged, that you write about planning your own wedding at least once a week, and that you be either Southern or planning a Southern wedding!" - Southern Weddings
I hope ya'll check back in to hear about my own wedding planning and I will, of course, still be sharing my regular planning tips here on the blog!
Until then, feel free to take a look through my Pinterest or Instagram for wedding inspiration and to follow my planning experience!
Now that we have been celebrating our engagement for a few weeks and have possibly decided on a wedding date, I am moving on to my next wedding-to-do which is finding the perfect dress to walk down to aisle in! The look I am hoping to capture is timeless and classic for our southern soiree!
I don't know about y'all, but when I hear the word southern to describe a wedding I just can't imagine it not being full of monograms! I am tickled pink to finally be able to order new Jack Rogers with my new monogram on them and always have that sweet memory with me when I wear them for years to come!
The dress I picture myself wearing is a classic Ballgown style with preferably a jewel neckline - and I'm learning that pockets are becoming popular in gowns and that would always come in handy!
As for my bridal party, I am hoping to find something in the cornflower blue family or navy. I think blues are timeless and truly do flatter every skin tone and hair color! I am keeping an open mind with bridesmaids dresses and letting my gals choose what fits them best because they have just as much spotlight on them that day and I want them to feel their best!
I can't speak for all women but I know it can be difficult finding any dress that meets all of my criteria and that is just for an everyday dress. This is THE dress - talk about pressure! I can't wait to create these memories with my mama and future mama-in-law and hope I have that "THIS IS IT" moment that I've heard other brides talk about!
I will be blogging about our wedding planning over the next year and a half and hope y'all are just as excited as I am! Feel free to check out a few of my other ideas on my Pinterest!
As much as I adore sharing about other brides with you guys, today I am just tickled pink to share about myself, the soon-to-be bride!
When my dear friend and photographer Mallory, with Mallory Hall Photography, asked if I wanted to meet at a local vineyard to discuss styling a photoshoot I jumped at the idea! She and I met two years ago while I was working for Weddings of Tulsa. When she and her husband met with us to become vendors, I instantly connected with her genuine and creative heart. I even told her then that I wanted her and Jake to shoot my wedding, when that day came!
Fast forward two years to the vineyard, Mallory and I arrived and I was immediately drawn to this charming old cabin looking across a large pond. I said, "Mallory, Bret would LOVE this, let me take a picture!" As soon as I started to take photos I heard the door open and got nervous that we were disturbing someone staying in the cabin and, to my absolute surprise, my soon-to-be finance walked outside, got down on one knee and before we knew it - our lives were forever changed!
Little did I know, Jake was snapping pictures from inside the cabin!
Caught completely off guard, I was not suspecting a proposal until Bret was finished with Optometry school in 2019. Little did I know, he had been scheming with Mallory for weeks to plan the perfect proposal and to have two, talented photographers there to capture it all! I could not be more blessed with the thoughtfulness of Bret and Mallory while planning the best day ever for me!
Bret knows how much I just adore bow ties!
What's next for us? Spending the next year and a half truly enjoying this season in our life and building the foundation for our marriage...and of course, planning a perfectly southern soirée to celebrate!
Check out the rest of our proposal photos here!
So you’ve just begun planning your big day and you are probably asking yourself, where do I start? Before setting any details in stone, it is best to sit down with your fiancé and collect all of your ideas. It is important to think of what details you both want to incorporate into your wedding such as any family traditions you wish to honor or unique details to express you and your fiancés personalities. Keep these things in mind when you begin looking for a venue. Booking your venue can be one of the biggest, and most costly, decisions during your planning so doing your research can be helpful!
Something couples might not think to do when choosing a venue is writing out your guest list before making a commitment, or at least a rough draft. Not only do couples not realize how many people they want to share their big day with until actually writing it down, they can often forget that most guests will bring a plus one. If you haven’t written your guest list yet, stop what you’re doing and read these tips first.
After writing out your guest list, it is easier to narrow down venues based on capacity. If you already have a specific venue in mind, you will need to check if they can accommodate the number of guests you are planning for. Make a list of your top choices for venues and eliminate the ones that do not fit your needs as you go.
This is also when you will want to decide on a wedding date. It can also be helpful to choose a second date in the case that your first choice is booked at your venue of choice.
Some things you will want to keep in mind to ask your venue before signing a contract are:
· What is the cancellation policy?
· Are you required to use their approved vendors?
· If not, can you bring in your own food/drink?
· If yes, will there be an additional fee?
· Does the venue staff set up and take down?
· What is the fee if you exceed the agreed upon time?
· Is it handicap accessible?
· When can vendors arrive for set up?
· What items are prohibited, such as candles?
· If you plan to have an outdoor wedding, is there a back up location in the event of inclement weather?
· What kinds of deposits are required, when are they due and are they refundable?
· Is there enough parking for your guests?
Although it can seem intimidating, sit back and relax a moment to enjoy this process! Picking your venue can be one of the most exciting parts of planning your wedding because this will be the place you will say “I do,” share your first dance as husband and wife and celebrate the beginning of a lifetime of love and happiness with your closest friends and family!