There is so much that goes into planning a wedding and by no means am I an expert, but I have seen enough to know what will make your life a little bit easier when planning your big day.
Picking a date, imho, is probably the biggest decision; especially in the Pee Dee. You could sweat every bit of make up off or have a southern winter-land theme in the span of a week!
Hot and humid weddings are hard, the bugs and sweltering afternoons would be a deterrent to any one planning a July to August wedding in the south. Although, if a Summer wedding is everything you’ve ever dreamed of just make sure to find a venue that offers plenty of shade and/or covering.
Also bug spray…lots and lots of bug spray! I’ve worked with a lot of my venues to make sure the little buggies aren’t going to be a major issue and most are extremely accommodating!
This should be one of the first things you decide and it doesn’t have to be detailed. Just get an idea in your head as to how you want your wedding day to be remembered. This will narrow the scope of the many choices you have; from cake designer down to the venue. You certainly wouldn’t book a metropolitan style venue for southern elegant or vice versa.Be inspired! Look through catalogs and Pinterest. Find a path towards your perfect wedding theme.
When deciding on the perfect place I suggest looking for venues that offer both a ceremony and reception hall. This allows you to distribute time to things that matter; rather than using extra time for traveling between locations.
Also, find a venue that offers a “get ready” spot for bride and groom. This will take one less stress out of the entire process.
Here is a short list of venues in the Pee Dee that offer everything I just mentioned:
One thing that I absolutely love about this venue is how diverse it is. The layout and design elements make this an easy choice for a lot of couples. This beautiful venue also offers a tremendous amount of services and is absolutely perfect for summer weddings. There is plenty of covering in the event of rain and their gorgeous property allows for some amazing pictures.
The Cabin at Old Spur
If your looking for rustic charm, you’ve found it with this venue. The Cabin at Old Spur really brings that “like home” feel and encapsulates everything we love about the south. From the patina on the barn to the beautiful pond backdrop, this venue creates a great setting for your big day. Also, access to a stay-over cabin is a plus!
Let me just say, this property is beyond gorgeous and screams “southern charm”. Nestled just outside of historic Marion SC, this venue offers an amazing secluded/private space for your big day. They offer some of the most diverse locations for your ceremony and reception and like most venues have a “rainy day” plan in place for their outdoor spaces. And just like everyone on this list, they continue to add more services and update their venue on a regular basis.
Picking the perfect anything can be done but not without research. Hopefully this guide can help you narrow it down.
From florists to cake designers, it’s important to meet in person well in advance of the date you have just nailed down. Look through their portfolios, chances are if you see something you love there they will create something you love for YOUR big day. Find someone who is confident but will listen to your needs. Many local designers are amazing at “running with it.” Be open to that!
Here’s a few of the vendors that I really love:
Consider the lilies
When florists come to mind, Angela stands out as one of the most talented yet down to earth ones out there. Her staffs’ attention to detail blows me away! Located in downtown Florence this wonderful shop provides some of the most beautiful arrangements that I’ve seen. Best of all, she makes the planning experience so easy with her amazing personality and experience.
Bonnie Brunt Cakes
There are no shortage of cake makers in the Pee Dee, but Bonnie Brunt Cakes has blown me away with their service and talent. I’ve yet to see one of the creations that didn’t floor me. Whether you’re looking for simple or elaborate Bonnie’s team can make it happen. I truly believe you get what you pay for and you get every bit of that, plus more, with Bonnie.
Cheers and Champagne
Wedding planner extraordinaire! This team brings it all together for your special day. They are efficient, effective, and most importantly able to listen. They use their experience and your vision to create the wedding of your dreams and most of all, a stress free experience. What I love about this planner is that the offer a full range of services. They can plan the most elaborate wedding or simply help coordinate on the day of. (Which is really 3 months worth of work) LOVE IT! They really understand what it takes!
As a photographer I must admit, I am pretty biased when I am considering the perfect times to plan out your day. I prefer to photograph in the best lighting of the day and in the summer, between 4 and 6 PM, everything is beginning to cool off a tad too. Which is a PLUS +.
Did I mention that was a plus?
Essentially this is my idea of a perfect summer wedding schedule:
12 PM: Getting ready
- “First-look” is completed in between the ceremony and when the bride and groom have finished getting ready. This is obviously up to you as to whether you’d like to do a “first-look”.
4 PM: Ceremony starts
4:30-6 PM: Cocktail hour
- While guests are starting to get settled in the reception area, I complete the portraits with the bride/groom and any group shots. I typically allot about 20 min to each.
6:15-9 PM: First dances, dinner, speeches.
- I do like to steal the bride and groom away one more time around 8-9 PM for blue hour portraits.
9 PM +: All out party!
Typically I ask for no more than an hour to get all the portraits and group shots done so that the bride and groom can get right over to cocktail hour and enjoy the rest of their evening. A wedding shouldn’t be a long uncomfortable photoshoot, you should be doing exactly what you’re there to do; enjoy the first moments of marriage with your family and friends.
One thing I would highly recommend is using a coordinator or utilize the day-of coordinator if your venue offers such a service. This will take a tremendous weight off of your shoulders and you won’t be relying on a friend or family member to keep things on track.
Your home church pastor is typically the first explored option but maybe that’s not for you. I always recommend, no matter who it is, find someone who matches both of your personalities. If your looking for a fun,informal wedding pick the right person for the job. I think we’ve all seen YouTube videos of the pastors or officiants that just destroy the moods of the day and you don’t want that for yourselves. Heck, maybe you like living on the edge and enjoy unexpected gaffes. In that case, hire the most awkward person possible! Haha!
This should be easy to do if you’ve allowed others to handle some of the more daunting tasks. We all want our wedding to be perfect so insert your input when needed but don’t worry about the little things. Allow yourself to be in the moment with your new partner for life and if all else fails yell at your new mother-in-law ← this is a joke!
*No In-laws were hurt in the making of this planning guide.