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Our Southern Wedding on the Mississippi Coast

I always enjoy compiling real wedding features and sharing other couples’ stories. Recently, I realized that while I’ve shared the magazine features our wedding received, I’ve never shared a personal look at the day. So today {which happens to be our 4th anniversary!}, I thought I’d share the complete story of our coastal Mississippi wedding with you.

mary_mahoneysJ&I had been planning on having our wedding in a historic home in a little town outside of Columbus, Ohio, but J had just finished up law school and was offered a job in Biloxi, Miss. After a few preliminary visits, we couldn’t help but be mesmerized by the tragic beauty of the Mississippi coastline. It had been three years since Hurricane Katrina wreaked havoc on the coast but the scars were still very visible and very tangible – from the house foundations with front stairs leading nowhere to abandoned schools and churches because they were too damaged to use – reminders of Katrina’s devastation were all around us. Despite the massive destruction and slow-healing scars, there was a love that felt palpable and a commitment in the people to reclaim their land that was undeniably inspiring.

The first day we visited Biloxi, we had lunch at Mary Mahoney’s Old French House in the historic downtown area {The house made it through Katrina mostly – amazingly – unscathed.} As we walked through the charming courtyard, the brick and wrought iron reminded me of the French Quarter in New Orleans. In the middle of the courtyard, there was a beautiful oak tree that we later learned was 2,000 years old. We noticed a sign well above our heads that marked the water line during Katrina and Camille.  It seemed like a little oasis of beauty caught in the midst of recovering tragedy. And over sweet tea and a cup of gumbo, I told J, “This is where I want to get married.”

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I grew up in Charleston, SC, and never felt like I had left my Southern roots so it felt perfectly natural to get married somewhere that oozed Southern charm. I love that we incorporated huge glossy magnolia leaves in all of the floral arrangements to emphasize the local foliage. I also made two wreaths out of magnolia leaves for additional decor.

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My something blue was the beautiful sapphire ring that was given to me by my late Great Aunt.
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These salt-water taffy jars started out as an addition to our welcome baskets but ended up being our favors! We placed them on heirloom silver platters and trays.

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We had my wedding bolero custom-made by a seamstress in Alabama but all the shimmer and shine of this spectacular piece is due to my talented Mother who literally spent thousands of hours hand-beading my crazy gorgeous jacket. Thank you, Mom! You are the best. xoxoxoxo.
5addThere’s a tiny gem of a book shop in Biloxi’s historic downtown called Spanish Trail Books. They never seemed to have regular hours but, admittedly, that was part of the charm. J&I would drive by on a weekend and if they were open, we’d stop in for an hour or so looking through the quirkiest collections of books – always finding a stack to buy. I loved the stash of vintage postcards kept in the old letter box and our awesome photographers had the idea to do an impromptu shoot inside – luckily, it was open that day!
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6addI carried a bouquet of creamy white hydrangeas mixed with natural greenery and magnolia leaves. The bouquet was hand-tied with raw silk and we added a locket with a photo of J as a little boy. He had fire-red hair as a little one!
1232I fell in love with the idea of wedding wands after seeing them in Tara Guerard’s Southern Weddings years ago so I went to town creating the wands as well as signage. You can learn how to make your own wedding wands here.
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0389The moss-covered letters were soooo easy to make and I love how they look in this photo. My mother-in-law took them down after the ceremony and hung them on the backs of J+I’s chairs for the reception dinner. It was such a sweet idea!

0666Despite having an intimate wedding {about 40 guests}, I felt so humbled that almost everyone we invited made it to our wedding. None of our guests lived in Mississippi so everyone had to either fly or drive which made it feel incredibly special to be surrounded by so much love on our wedding day in our new town – our new home.
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1239I made it my mission {which thankfully kind of became my Mom’s mission, too} to collect gobs of milk glass to serve as vases for the floral arrangements. It took a long time and a lot of antiquing to acquire the ~60 compotes and vases but all the hard antique-scouting paid off – I absolutely loved how the hydrangeas looked in the milk glass!
wedding_cakeI found the silver cakestand at an antique shop in South Carolina while visiting a dear friend and the cake toppers were a retro-themed Barbie & Ken ornament set.

So glad our photographers whisked us away from the reception for a few minutes to capture some shots along the coast. Notice how the pier is missing some important planks? Another haunting reminder of Katrina.

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1076 11111307As part of the welcome baskets, we placed a few rolls of pennies with a note attached welcoming guests to join us after the wedding at the Beau Rivage casino. Hope you enjoyed our full wedding story!

Want more?
See our wedding feature in Wedding Style Guide.
And on InStyle Weddings.
And on Weddings Unveiled {+ an interview with moi}
And in B Magazine. {just scroll down}
And if you’re still hungry for more, click here. 😉

Credits: Venue & Catering: Mary Mahoney’s Old French House, Biloxi, Miss. | Photography: Look Photography | Florist: Cardinal Flowers, Gulfport, Miss. | Cake: Sweet Stuff, Biloxi, Miss. | Music: String Duo from the Gulf Coast Symphony Orchestra | Chairs: Classic Party Rental | Bridal Attire: Dress: Galina | Bolero: Custom-made | Make-up: MAC, Biloxi, Miss. | Hair: Splendor Salon, Gulfport, Miss. | Groom’s Attire: Brooks Brothers

7 Comments

  1. Your wedding was beautiful! I love all the little touches like the magnolia leaves and the pennies for the penny slots- so cute!

  2. Being a wedding style guide, you certainly know how to make your own wedding grand! I personally love the venue for your wedding. The place just captures the relaxed and comfortable southern culture, and yet it still has that classy look every wedding should have. It just made the moment much more unforgettable to all.

    @Kelli Mueller

  3. Nice wedding. Beautiful pictures.

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