A Southern-Inspired SoiréeWords by Courtney Kellar
Photos courtesy of Jake & Necia Photography
L.A. couple Maggie and Banner both originally hail from the South and knew they wanted a Southern-inspired soirée come W-Day. However, not wanting to abandon their adopted West Coast home altogether, the couple came up with an interesting compromise. “We have lived [in California] for 10 years and [our families] know this is where we have built our lives, so I don’t think it was too surprising that we chose to have [the wedding] in California,” says the bride. “We had lots of family and friends who had never been to California and we thought this would be the perfect excuse to get them out here!”
The couple also took their adopted L.A. family and friends into consideration when choosing a wedding location. “A lot of our friends are ‘starving artists’ that we really wanted to attend, so we knew it would be easier and more affordable for them to come to Solvang than to Alabama,” says Maggie. “The Santa Ynez Valley holds a special place in our hearts as one of our favorite places to visit and unwind…[also,] the drive from Los Angeles is fairly easy and incredibly beautiful – you can’t really argue too much with a beautiful drive on the Pacific Coast Highway!”
The key to this couple capturing the Southern feel they were after was finding the perfect venue. “It took a lot of time and trips to find our venue,” recalls the bride. “We wanted to find somewhere that held the essence of the South, and when we saw the barn area at Gainey Vineyard, we were sold.” For the rest of the planning process, the couple felt things went pretty smoothly with the use of email and phone calls. However, the bride knew she would want some professional help later on in the process.
“I knew my main resource would be a wedding planner, so I scoured wedding blogs to find our amazing planner, Davia Lee Events. I hired her has a ‘month-of coordinator,’ but she made herself available throughout the entire process and I always felt like I had a go-to-girl throughout…,” says Maggie. “It’s easy to get a lot of things lost in translation and [planning] can get pretty overwhelming, so knowing that she was going to be our main contact that month really relieved a lot of stress.”
After getting engaged, the couple sat down to formulate a plan. “One of the best pieces of advice I got…was to sit down with my groom and prioritize each aspect of the wedding,” says Maggie. “What was most important? Band or DJ? Big or small flowers? Essentially, where did we want to spend our money?” In the end, the couple’s “Taste of the South” theme went off without a hitch, largely due to the special touches and details like lavender sachets for the send-off and recycled bottles in the centerpieces.
One of the bride’s fondest memories was arriving at the venue and seeing all of her and Banner’s hard work come to life. “I felt like I was in a fairytale when I stepped out of that car. And when we said our vows, the wind was blowing and the air was warm – it truly felt like something amazing was happening.” We agree that the couple’s wedding day truly was amazing!
For other brides trying to create their own W-Day fantasy, Maggie has some words of advice. “It’s so easy to let everything pile up on top of you while you plan your wedding. We’re told it’s supposed to be the greatest day of our lives and then everyone says that it’s going to go by in a flash. How do you prepare for that? Everything seems like it’s so important, but really, all that’s important is that you say those words, exchange those rings, and share the kiss that begins the rest of your lives together. As long as you’re truly present for those moments, everything else is just icing on the cake. Just remember why you’re there in the first place and everything else will come together.”
Vendors: Photographer: Jake & Necia Photography, Wedding Planner/Florist: Davia Lee Weddings & Events, Ceremony/Reception Site: Gainey Vineyard, Santa Ynez, CA, Catering: Lorraine Lim Catering, Photobooth: Bluebird Photobooth, Pies: Solvang Bakery, Ceremony Music: Organic String Quartet, Lighting: LBPS Events, Rentals: Ventura Rentals & Sweet Repeat Rentals, DJ: JAS Productions, Gown Designer: Pronovias, Groom’s Clothing Designer: J.Crew
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