Heather Perrin: Macon, GA Wedding Planner
Heather Perrin Weddings
Wedding Coordinator in Macon, GA
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What is a wedding coordinator? This service can go by many names (Day-of Coordinator, Wedding Management, Month-of Coordinator) but it is essentially this: a wedding coordinator takes the plans you have worked tirelessly on, and makes sure they happen smoothly and that you have a fun, stress-free day.

Posts tagged macon ga wedding photographer
Styled Shoot | Dreamy Boho Wedding Inspiration

Y'ALL. Do I have a Valentine's Day treat for you! I could not be more excited to share this totally swoon-worthy shoot that I worked on with some amazing Middle Georgia wedding pros!

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It's always a treat to work on a shoot like this because so many creative folks get to cut loose and showcase their dreamiest work. It's a fun opportunity for some really talented people to stretch their creative muscles and create something wonderful and collaborative. And I loved being able to pull it all together!

On top of the excitement of the finished project, we also found out this week that the shoot is going to be published on Cake & Lace! I'm so excited to see it on a major platform soon!!

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All of the talented pros who made this happen:

Photographer: Ann Steward Photography

Dress: Carrie’s Bridal Collection Macon

Calligraphy & Invitation Design: Erica Stewart Calligraphy

Coordination & Styling: Heather Perrin Weddings

Floral Design: Mulberry Weddings

Videography: Payton Arts

Hair & Makeup: Pink Pearl Artistry

Vintage Tableware, Rugs, & Bottles: Southern Vintage

Venue: The Wedding Barn at L'Horne

The couple: And I have just the sweetest story about the "models" we featured in the shoot. In the days leading up to the shoot, we quickly realized the weather was NOT going to cooperate for our planned date and had to make some last minute adjustments. The couple we had originally slated to model for us were not able to make the new date and we had to scramble to find some new subjects! I started reaching out to folks, and immediately thought of Zac and Mia. These two are still pretty newly-wed and very much in love (and not to mention totally gorgeous) so I had high hopes they'd happen to be free on the new date. When I asked if they'd be interested, Mia's first response was "Zac is great at stuff like this!" And she was so right! These two had so much fun getting all dolled up and cuddling up in front of the camera, and the photos totally show it. They were crazy sweet to work with and just so excited to be a part of it that we all had a blast. 

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So grab a box of chocolates or some wine and enjoy all the dreamy boho goodness!

5 Reasons to Attend a Local Bridal Show

This post originally appeared on Ann Steward Photography's blog, a sweet friend and featured vendor at the Afternoon at the Grand Magnolia House! She asked me to share some of the reasons I'm excited about this event, and why brides-to-be should make this a part of your planning process!

Newly engaged and overwhelmed with the planning process? Where do you even begin?! From magazines, to Pinterest, to your mom and every newly married friend, there are tons of resources at your disposal, and that in itself can cause some stress. One great way to tackle that feeling of overwhelm (and to have a lot of fun in the process) is to attend a local bridal show. These smaller, interactive events give brides-to-be the opportunity to get important wedding planning questions answered while enjoying a fun afternoon with your bride tribe. Dozens of wedding pros are gathered in one place, excited to meet you and help you plan your day. Need more? Here are 5 reasons to find a local bridal show in your area and make plans to attend.

Be Inspired

If you’ve never planned a wedding before, the process can seem daunting. There are so many decisions to make, and you’re not quite sure where to begin. Pinterest is overwhelming, and you can’t sift through what is feasible and what is way over your budget. You need ideas, but in a realistic and practical way. A bridal show is just that! Actual wedding pros, who work at actual weddings in your area, are presenting their actual work. You can see, touch, and smell it. They can help you narrow down what you’re searching for, even if you don’t find it there. Plus, there are usually multiple vendors in the same category, each offering something different in their service or overall experience. Every vendor is not a perfect fit for every bride (and they don’t want to be!) so it’s important to compare and see who suits your needs and vice versa. The experience of meeting face to face and sampling what a vendor has to offer will give you so much more guidance and direction for the rest of the planning process. Even if you don’t come away with booked vendors, you have a better sense of how to keep looking.

Meet wedding pros

This one seems obvious, but there is more to booking your wedding vendors than you think. The best wedding day experiences happen when you have an actual relationship with the professionals who are making the day happen. They know you, your tastes, your priorities, and you feel confident in their talents, abilities, and the decisions they’ll make. A bridal show is a great way to initiate that kind of relationship. Your initial impression of these vendors won’t be from their website or social media, but from the actual people. Do you enjoy talking with them? Then you will probably enjoy working with them. It is still important to find the professionals who are a good fit for your style, budget, and personality, but spending some time with them at a bridal show can be a helpful way to do just that. Especially if the show is on the smaller side and you have the time to talk one-on-one.

Special deals

A bridal show is an event designed to serve you as the bride-to-be by giving you the most valuable experience, which often means added benefits to attendance. Whether this is in the form of giveaways and raffle prizes from the hosts, special offers or discounts from the vendors, or free bridal swag just for attending, there are often lots of bonus goodies available to guests. Both the hosts and the participating vendors want to design an event that wows and impresses the attendees (because they also want to wow and impress your wedding guests), so you’re likely to run into some awesome deals.

Visit a venue

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Some bridal shows are hosted at huge convention centers with thousands of guests, which can be a good thing in terms of efficiency. However, I am partial to the smaller, more relationship-driven events you often find at a local venue. Not only do you get the one-on-one attention, but you get an inside look at a wedding venue. If you haven’t yet secured your wedding location, this can be a great way to tour and check out an option you love, while enjoying the benefits we’ve already seen. If you already have your venue, this is still an opportunity to see how the vendors operate in a more natural setting. How did the caterer dress that table? How did the floral designer set up her display? The professionals have more freedom for creativity, giving you a better feel for their style and delivery.

Enjoy!

What other time in your life do you get the opportunity to go to a bridal show? This is it! Enjoy the process. Be called bride, sample some cake, and dream about your one and only wedding day. Bring your bride tribe and plan together. It’s just fun. The professionals gathered at the show want to celebrate with you – it’s why we do what we do – so come and be celebrated. And hopefully you’ll come away with some of those tasks crossed off your planning to do list!

For all of those reasons and more, I was thrilled to plan the Afternoon at the Grand Magnolia House. The venue is a gorgeous, classic Southern home, and the vendors are thrilled to meet you. I hope you’ll make plans to join us February 25!

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Sarah + Cam | Milledgeville, GA Wedding

Thank you Sidney Middlebrooks Photography for these beautiful images!

From the first time I spoke with Sarah, I knew her wedding would be a blast to be a part of. She is kind, laid back, and beautifully organized - the bridal trifecta - and was so sweet to work with! Sarah knew she wanted to enjoy her wedding and not worry about the little details that can cause so much distraction, so she very intentionally assembled a team to make that a reality. She and Cam wanted to celebrate with a small group of friends and family and enjoy one another. Now that's a wedding vision I can get behind!

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The Venue

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It was such a pleasure to work at the new Milledgeville venue, Adam's Acres Riverside Events. The location is absolutely picturesque, situated right along the water with lots of greenery to explore. Sarah and Cam's photographer, Sidney, has a blast exploring the property and the pictures show it! This sweet spot has been in the owner's family for many years, largely unused, so he decided to turn it into something beautiful! The arbor sets a perfect backdrop for the ceremony, and the covered pavilion is ideal for a reception - rain or shine. With so much gorgeous scenery, this fall wedding was absolutely breathtaking. Because they built the venue from scratch for this express purpose, no detail was left out. A warming kitchen, bride and groom's suites, and plenty of storage for their tables and chairs are small conveniences that make a huge difference on a wedding day! 

 

The Flowers

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Lizzie from Little Blue Knot designed a wedding that suited Sarah and Cam to a T! Sarah is classic, romantic, and laid back, and Cam is a wilderness lover at heart. Lizzie incorporated wild floral elements, soft flowing drapery, and a s'mores station - all to represent and reflect the couple's unique traits. She even helped source mini pies to accompany the brides' and grooms' cakes! Lizzie's style is artistic and organic, and she loves to create a floral design that is true to the couple she's working with.

 

The Food

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In the days leading up to Sarah and Cam's wedding, I had several folks tell me how excited they were to have Heirloom Cafe from Athens catering the reception. Having spent very little time in Athens, this was new to me and I was excited to try it! And ohhhh man. They did not disappoint. This local spot is known for its farm-to-table cuisine with a unique flair. The menu included classic southern dishes like collard greens, mac n cheese, and pulled pork sandwiches, all with a special twist. The meal was served family style on funky dishes you'd find in any southern grandma's kitchen, and each dish was scrumptious. And they were just a ton of fun. Great food, awesome service, and a really good bunch of folks.

Other vendors: 

Officiant: Reverend Gale York | Ceremony Music: Kazanetti String Quartet | DJ: Memory Makers Music & Lighting | Cakes: Slice

Congratulations, Sarah and Cam! What a sweet day!

Venue Spotlight: The Grand Magnolia House

This Middle Georgia Wedding Venue is just dripping with classic Southern charm. The Grand Magnolia House, located just 11 miles west of Perry, GA, is a real gem. With a timeless antebellum home, acres of Magnolias and pecan trees, and multiple outdoor ceremony locations, this spot hits so many checks on the southern bride's list. One of my favorite parts of getting to know these local venues is that there is no one-size-fits-all venue. Each is as unique as the bride who falls in love with it! 

I am also pumped to share this spotlight with you because I am working on a VERY EXCITING (yes, that needed all caps) project here! On Sunday, February 25, the Grand Magnolia House and I are hosting a bridal show and open house! I have been eager to plan an event for brides-to-be to get an inside look at a local venue and to introduce them to the many amazing vendors we have in Middle Georgia, and I am so thrilled that it's coming to fruition so soon. I'll have more details for you at the end of this post, but feel free to check out the Facebook event here!

Photo: We Do Photography

Photo: We Do Photography

From Tamara, the owner:

It was on Dec. 23, 2014; Bruce was on his way from a duck hunt when he first saw the big beautiful Southern home with the inviting red doors at 320 E. Main St. in Marshallville.  He could hardly wait to get home to tell me that it was up for sale and he wanted me to go online to check it out. You see over the years we had looked at many many properties and continued to dream about “one day”… But on this day it was different. We quickly made an appointment to see the property and it was love at first site all over again as we fell in love with this Southern beauty. Together with our family we started praying, “God if it is your will for us to buy this property please give us the wisdom, courage and peace to know; and if you open the door for this opportunity we will give you all the glory and use it to further your kingdom.” We continued to pray and on April 1, 2015, Joy filled our hearts as we became the proud owners of what is known today as The Grand Magnolia House. Built in the 1860 it is both gorgeous inside and out, oozing with Southern charm.    

We quickly got to work making our dreams a reality. The Grand Magnolia House became an event and wedding venue with its timeless Southern Charm for every occasion. Our desire is to continue to host the most memorable celebrations for our guests by sharing The Grand Magnolia House with them. Each and every time they become part of the Grand Magnolia Family and we consider it our privilege to be selected to be a part of their special day.  We want the opportunity to provide our guest with an extra dose of Southern hospitality to ensure their event goes smoothly, without all the hassle and stress which can steal the joy from planning a celebration.

Ceremony & Reception:  Inside & outside for both! Inside: for a small wedding in the front foyer or beautiful veranda. Outside at the pergola, wrought iron gazebo, near the fountain or up on the large deck. Our beautifully landscaped backyard is great place for the wedding/reception. 

Prep areas provided: Bridal suite, large dressing parlor, an inviting veranda, intimate and comfortable parlors, gathering rooms, catering kitchen, as well as lodging for up to 14 guests!

Capacity: 200 outside and 75 inside

Tables and chairs: Twelve 60 inch round tables, two 8 foot rectangle, 3 high-top tables

Alcohol: Beer and wine

Vendors: You are welcome to bring your own, but we would love to recommend some!

Social Media: FacebookInstagram

Website: www.grandmagnoliahouse.com 


An Afternoon at the Grand Magnolia House

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The Afternoon at the Grand Magnolia House is a small, intimate bridal show featuring more than 25 of Middle Georgia's best wedding professionals. Caterers, photographers, musicians, floral designers, and so many more, will be showcasing their best work. What I love about this kind of show is that each bride-to-be will have the chance to get to know these incredible professionals and see who really is the best fit for their wedding day. The best experience comes from building relationships with your vendors, and this is a time to do just that. We'll also have insider tips and presentations, raffle prizes and giveaways, and it's bound to be so much fun. Plus you get a fantastic look at this beautiful venue! Tickets are on sale now at www.grandmagnolia.eventbrite.com, and you can see more information on the Facebook event. I hope you'll join us!


Candace + Grant | Macon, GA Wedding

Thank you to Holly Von Lanken for capturing these lovely photos! It was a pleasure working with this fabulous photographer!

What a sweet surprise when Candace and Grant walked into church on Sunday morning, visiting with their friend (and mine too!) and soon-to-be usher, Marshall. "Hey! I know them! I'm coordinating their wedding!" I had met Candace briefly a few months before when she inquired about me coordinating her fall wedding, and it was so fun to see them in my home and church! Little did I know that by the time their September wedding rolled around, Candace and Grant would be regular members of our church and small group!

I had a unique advantage in preparing for this wedding, because I got to befriend this sweet couple before I even started working with them. So the process was a little extra special as I got ready to help them celebrate - both as a coordinator and a friend.

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These two have Georgia bulldog blood running through their veins, and a whole tribe of people who couldn’t wait to celebrate with them. A bridal party of 8 on each side, plus 4 ushers, sure makes for a party! Throughout the entire process both Candace and Grant were ready to be married, to love one another well, and to enjoy the day.

The Venues

Newton Chapel

Candace and Grant didn't meet in Macon, but they moved their lives here when Grant began preparing for Med School at Mercer and Candace graduated from nursing school and took a nursing position in middle Georgia (yes, they're a very medical family). In my humble opinion, there are few better places for a ceremony than Mercer's own Newton Chapel (as you can see here and here). My heart. After tying the knot in amid the stained glass and wooden pews, they took the party to another Macon favorite: The Blacksmith Shop. This classic venue was the perfect place to host the celebration Candace and Grant had in mind. Elegant and cozy, with plenty of room for a dance floor. 

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The Food 

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Sometimes brides and grooms must look no further than family for their wedding pros, and this family is blessed to have a real gem in Alexander’s. The groom’s aunt and her team were not only a full-service catering company, but they handled all of the décor for the reception and executed a fabulous meal for both the reception and rehearsal dinner. The food was impeccable, and the service was so impressive! Y’all know that I am a sucker for a well dressed table and a professional staff, and Alexander’s definitely brought both. They were an absolute pleasure to work with.

 

The Entertainment

There are SO many great dancing shots of these two. They just know how to boogie.

There are SO many great dancing shots of these two. They just know how to boogie.

Candace and Grant wanted to spend their day having fun, and the reception entertainment was certainly no exception. Rusty Pearson with Entourage Entertainment kept the party going and kept my feet on the dance floor more than once! Candace and Grant’s guests knew how to have a good time, and Rusty was just the person to set the stage. If a DJ is part of your vision for a perfect wedding day, Entourage is a fantastic choice!

Other vendors:

Photographer: Holly Von Lanken | Bouquets and Boutonnieres: Roy Lamb Floral Design | Organist (Ceremony): Martha Clay | Hair and Makeup: Amber Amick

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It was a special privilege to serve these two and to be a part of their day. Congratulations to Candace and Grant!

Victoria + Jess | Milledgeville, GA Wedding

Thank you Zach Robinson Photography for the beautiful photos!

If you have spent any time around here, you know that I am a firm believer in making your wedding day look however you want. If you want a six-piece band and a party that lasts all night – go for it. If you want an intimate dinner with your closest people, do that. If you want to get married at 10:00 AM so you can hop in the lake that afternoon, by all means! So I was thrilled to hear that Victoria and Jess had planned a sweet lakeside ceremony and brunch reception at Victoria’s parents’ home. It was SO. Much. Fun.

These two lovebirds were about to embark on a new journey - Jess was about to be stationed in Anchorage, Alaska, so it was important to both of them to soak up this precious time with family and friends. Jess' dad was the officiant, childhood friends and siblings made up the bridal party, and the day really did end with a dip in the lake! Victoria and Jess make intentional choices about their wedding day - choices that reflected who they are as a couple, their values, and that allowed them to relax and enjoy each other. 

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The Venue

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It’s hard to go wrong with a lakeside view, and Victoria’s parents’ home was picturesque. Goodwin events set up lovely dark brown chairs to face the water, and the bridal party made their entrance over a gorgeous sun-dappled bridge. I nearly teared up (let’s be real, cried big tears) as the bride crossed the bridge and the sun lit up her beautiful face. Ugh. Mesmerizing. Just behind the ceremony area were cocktail tables and seating for guests to enjoy the beautiful morning.

 

The Food

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Cast Iron Catering (formerly Kudzu Catering) was just fantastic. I have a serious problem with breakfast food (as in I love it way too much) so I was delighted to hear waffles, grits, egg casserole, and coffee were the menu. The food was fantastic, and the staff was exceptional. I always appreciate a catering team that values presentation as highly as quality of the food, and CIC has it down. It was not only beautiful, but so tasty! No matter the time of day, you can’t go wrong with waffles.

 

The Flowers

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Mindy at Luella Floral Design has a fabulous vision and execution. The central piece of the day was an amazing flower-draped arbor set at the ceremony altar. Mindy and her team assembled the flowers on site and created a perfect backdrop for Victoria and Jess to tie the knot. They also brought three gorgeous urns filled with blush and green garden tones that added elegance to the backyard affair.

Other vendors:

Photographer: Zack Robinson | Hair and Makeup: Fringe Salon | Rentals: Goodwin Events | Videography: Dynes Media | DJ: Legacy Events 119

I have been privileged to work with some amazing families, but I don’t think any of them have been as laid back as Victoria and Jess’ crew. They were happy to be together, to be celebrating, and to be at the lake. It was a beautiful morning to get married. Congratulations again Victoria and Jess!

Venue Spotlight: The Library Ballroom

The history nerd in me is thrilled about today's featured Middle Georgia Wedding Venue. I have always been fascinated by Macon' history, and I love getting to know the story behind some of our city's 100+ year old buildings. Today's spotlight is on a popular wedding venue located in the heart of downtown with a wonderfully weird backstory. 

The Library Ballroom is an impressive structure that sits on Mulberry Street in downtown Macon. The fun turret at the top makes it stand out from its peers, another feature that is just quirky enough to work. Beautifully restored in recent years, this space is home to music festivals, community events, and (of course) dozens of weddings throughout the year. The rich, elegant details immediately make you feel like you've stepped back in time.

From the Library Ballroom:

The Library Ballroom was constructed in 1889 by the "Macon Public Library and Historical Society" to house Macon’s first public library. In the 1960's and 70's the building was known as the College Discotheque and was actually the first paid show of the famous Allman Brothers Band. Eventually, the ballroom fell into disuse, but was later acquired by the Historic Macon Foundation after it faced demolition in the 1990's. More recently, the building was purchased by Tony Widner, of Widner & Associates, Inc., who performed a complete renovation restoring the building to its original beauty. In 2007, the building was awarded by the Historic Macon Foundation for the renovations and was placed on the National Registrar of Historic Places. 

 

Ceremony & Reception: Either or both!

Prep areas provided: Prep kitchen and bridal suite, plus the bridal party gets to stay in the bridal suite overnight!

Capacity: 175 seated, 250 standing

Tables and chairs: Included

Alcohol: Renters are welcome to provide alcohol to guests.

Vendors: We would love to recommend some, but you are welcome to choose your own.

Social Media: Facebook, Instagram

Website: www.libraryballroom.com

 

Also from this series:

The Ultimate Middle Georgia Wedding Venue List

New City Weddings

The Wedding Barn at L'Horne

Twin Oaks Farm

Kelby + Patrick | Macon, GA Wedding

Kelby and Patrick’s wedding was a sweet reminder that family is a treasure, and that love really does carry us when we walk through life’s toughest seasons. This beautiful couple loves Jesus, one another, and their families, and that shone brightly during their wedding celebration.

Thank you Josh and Rachel Best for these beautiful images! Josh and Rachel are a husband and wife team based in Florida, but they love to travel all over the world. And they were so sweet to work with!

Kelby and Patrick had a wedding planned for December in the bride’s hometown in Florida, but life took them in a different direction. When a family illness became more pressing, they replanned the entire wedding—six months sooner, and in a different city! Kelby and her mom were absolute rockstars at assembling a brand new plan in a short period of time to make sure family was first. I was bowled over during the entire process by their beautiful and loving hearts, and it was such a joy to serve them.

The Venue

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Planning a wedding in a short period of time can put pressure on the venue search. When many venues book months and years in advance, it can be difficult to find the right place in time. Kelby and Patrick found the Hay House, and it turned out to be the perfect spot! If you’ve never been to the Hay House, you should absolutely book a tour. It is a piece of history, preserved and presented right here in Macon. The gorgeous antique finishes make this museum/venue a treat to be in. I can just imagine Jane Austen-esque dances in the ballroom and sitting for tea in the drawing room (yes, I know I am both historically and geographically inaccurate, but it just feels right!). Because they host so many events throughout the year, they also have a fabulously capable and helpful staff who know just how to make your event work. They were so great to work with, from seating charts to set up to break down. Just lovely.

 

The Food

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Y’all know I am always going to talk about the food. Again with an accelerated timeline, Kelby and her mom initially came up against some trouble finding a caterer. In the end, they chose a delicious Southern-style menu from Honey Baked Ham. These folks know how to make scrumptious food, and the guests absolutely loved it! A carving station, green bean casserole, potatoes au gratin…yum. Plus their staff was so sweet! This was my first experience with their catering, and I have already called them for another event! Unexpected, but so tasty.

 

The Flowers

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I love the fabulous vendors I get to work with in Middle Georgia, and that includes Joyce from Mulberry Weddings! The wedding-specific arm of Lawrence Mayer Florist in downtown Macon, Joyce is a joy to work with and loves to delight her brides! The flowers for the Hay House were both elegant and understated, perfectly complimenting the grand setting they were in. Not to mention they were so kind and flexible when our set up timeframe wasn’t as long as we’d hoped!

 

The Exit

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Kelby and Patrick opted for a more…auditory experience for their grand exit and chose to have guests ring cowbells as they walked out! How fun is that?! These tiny gold bells were a fantastic send off, and doubled as a take-away favor.

 

Other vendors

Photographer: Joshua & Rachel Photography | DJ: Party Time Productions | Rental Company: Rental Concept | Cake: Amanda’s Cakery | Hair and Makeup: Kaitlyn at Utopia Salon | Cash Bar: Mike Taylor

This sweet wedding was so fun because it was full of life, love, and joy. It was an honor to serve these two families! Congratulations again to Kelby and Patrick!

Venue Spotlight: Twin Oaks Farm

Happy Wednesday! This week I am excited to share our next spotlight in the Middle Georgia Wedding Venue Series: Twin Oaks Farm in Pineview, GA. This iconic Middle Georgia venue is home to a gorgeous Grand Barn, a grove of pine trees, a pond, a majestic pecan tree, and acres of peaceful and scenic land. I was able to take a tour of the venue a few weeks ago and wanted to spend the whole day there! Not only was it beautiful, but there was a sweet sense of being away from the busyness of the city and resting in the country. (Although I'm sure it's a little less serene when your friends and family are getting down on the dance floor!) I have so enjoyed getting to know Twin Oaks, and I hope you will too!

From their Venue Manager, Laura Lyn: 

Our property has strong family roots and was never originally intended to grow into a wedding venue. In 2010, the owners' son asked if he could get married on the property, and inquiries and interest grew organically from there. Our Grand Barn was built in 2013 to accommodate more clients and larger weddings. We have the unique opportunity to also offer with our venue onsite lodging, which sleeps up to 29 guests.

Photos: Amanda Sumner Photography, Ashah Photography, Kanella Photography

Ceremony & Reception: Indoor and Outdoor ceremony locations available, including a giant pecan tree, a gazebo by a pond, pondside, or in front of the barn doors. We can also host indoor ceremonies in our Grand Barn.

Prep areas provided: We have a bridal suite as well as a Groomsmen Room for the wedding party to get ready in. Each has kitchen access and full bathrooms. Our Groomsmen Room is equipped with leather sofas and a television. For caterers, we have a serving kitchen with direct loading and unloading access.

Capacity: 400

Tables and chairs: Included.

Alcohol: We require a licensed bartender for serving any kind of liquor.

Vendors: We have a great selection of recommended vendors, and you may also bring in your own. 

Social Media: Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest

Website: www.twinoaksfarmweddings.com

 

More from the Series:

The Ultimate Middle Georgia Wedding Venue List

New City Weddings

The Wedding Barn at L'Horne

In Defense of a First Look
This AMAZING photo is of my dear friends and past clients, Bryan and Sarah, taken by the lovely  A. Thomas Photography . Yeah, I'm crying too.

This AMAZING photo is of my dear friends and past clients, Bryan and Sarah, taken by the lovely A. Thomas Photography. Yeah, I'm crying too.

The tradition of a groom not seeing his bride until he meets her at the altar has taken some serious heat in the last few years as “first looks” have surged in popularity. It seems almost more common that the couple meets face to face a few hours before the ceremony for some special photos, rather than waiting until the walk down the aisle. What do you think about this stray from tradition? Are you superstitious and think it is bad luck to see the bride before the wedding?

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While I am firmly in the you-do-you camp when it comes to wedding day traditions, I do have some thoughts on this particular choice, both from a professional and a personal standpoint. So while you bear in mind that I will always encourage you to do whatever is best for the two of you, here are some thoughts on the first look (and because I am notoriously sappy, I have accompanied each with a gif for your amusement. Let's be real. If I used a bunch of photos like the first one, we'd all be dead with emotion).

1. Timeline #goals

Ohhh man. What wonders a first look does for the logistics of the day. It is like timeline magic. With a first look, a photographer can capture most if not all of the wedding party photos before the ceremony, meaning you join your guests at the reception sooner. It also leaves some wiggle room in the day in case you do run behind (things happen) to catch up after the ceremony. Overall, it gives flexibility and ease to the many events happening during the day.

Me and your photographer when you decide to do a first look.

Me and your photographer when you decide to do a first look.

2. Photo #goals

With time set aside for just you and your honey, and no rush to get to the reception, your photographer can capture some beautiful moments. The reaction photos are a precious way to capture the raw emotion you have both been carrying around for weeks, and are a treasure for years to come (even if you ugly cry like I did). After that initial moment passes, you have time to laugh, hug, and take some gorgeous couples shots without an audience.

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3. A Moment Together

How much time do you think you get to spend with your new spouse on your wedding day? In reality, very little. You have dozens, or even hundreds, of friends and family who have gathered to celebrate you. You have dinner to eat, cake to cut, and dances to dance. Even when you are together, you’re surrounded by a sea of loved ones. All of this is wonderful, and part of what makes a wedding so special, but what if you could steal away a few minutes with just the two of you? This was my favorite part of my wedding day. Just to have a minute to talk to him, laugh about what had happened that morning, and breathe in the reality that we were going to be husband and wife—like really really soon. It gave me a chance to step back and soak in the beauty, anticipation, and excitement of what was about to happen.

Ok, so I know this isn't  their  wedding, but it is a really precious moment.

Ok, so I know this isn't their wedding, but it is a really precious moment.

4. TWO Special Moments

One reason couples may choose not to do a first look is they worry it steals some of the magic of the walk down the aisle. In my personal experience, having seen Tanner a few moments before only heightened the emotion of that grand entrance. The first look gave us a few minutes to be us – to be goofy, to talk, to share in the day together. When they opened the doors and I started walking toward him, it was entirely different. In that moment, I was walking toward my husband—and I couldn’t get there fast enough! These two parts of the day were so special—each in their own unique way.

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again—the choices you make for your wedding day are just that: choices. There is no wrong one. So if you decide to wait until the altar to see your loved one, I say go for it! It’s gonna be magical. But for me, and for many of the sweet couples I’ve served, the first look makes the day that much more special!