Happy April! I’m so very excited to introduce you to our second Southern Bride of the Month. Readers, meet Kelly! She comes with a handsome fiance, Rob. Read on for all the touching details of her wedding planning journey, including one prolific honeybee and a pair of heartfelt ceremony readings.
Hi! What’s your name?
What’s your fiancé’s name?
What do y’all do for a living?
I am, believe it or not, a wedding planner! Rob works as a civilian for the Army specializing in logistics.
How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story.
It was February 2007. I was a Zeta & Rob was an SAE, and our sorority and fraternity were paired up together for Homecoming. Against my will, I was nominated for the Homecoming pageant. Rob was doing a lip sync skit competition with a bunch of other people, and we met one night during practice. I remember he was wearing Nantucket red shorts, New Balances, a hooded sweatshirt, and this tacky Alabama sweatband around his head – and I still thought he was cute!
Now tell us alllll about the proposal.
Well, I went on to be crowned queen. Now fast forward to the Homecoming pageant in February 2009. I went with a bunch of my sorority sisters to cheer on the girl from our chapter, and Rob came too, claiming he hadn’t seen any of his fraternity brothers in a while (at that point he was working on his masters). We sat separately in the theater. After the “talent” portion was over, the guy onstage who had just finished singing (coincidentally, one of Rob’s fraternity brothers) said, “Can I have Kelly Walsh onstage, please?” I was all, “Hmm, this is odd -maybe it’s for old Homecoming queens?” Being a good sport, I got up – and saw one of Rob’s fraternity brothers in a suit standing in the aisle. He asked me to come with him, which made me really nervous – like, OMG, what is going on?! Then, as he took me down to the stage, I saw another of Rob’s fraternity brothers in a suit with a dozen roses. By this point I was SO nervous because I knew something was going on! He took me to the center of the stage, where Rob came out in a tuxedo, got down on one knee, and asked me to marry him in front of about seven hundred people. He opened the box, and inside was his grandmother’s emerald cut engagement ring. I couldn’t have been more surprised, and of course I said yes! It was so amazing to have all of my sorority sisters and one of my biological (also sorority!) sisters there to share in the excitement!
When’s the big day?
June 18th, 2011
How did you pick your ceremony and reception venues? What do you love most about each space?
Rob and I didn’t know where we wanted to get married, just that it had to be somewhere in the South, and somewhere outside with amazing views. My wedding planner, Melissa, recommended our reception venue, which is a private home on the river in Savannah. I love it because it gives us more flexibility to do what we want, versus having to work within a time frame or stick to a preferred caterer.
Above: a shot at the reception venue
Who or what has been most inspiring in the wedding planning process?
I think who Rob and I are has been the most inspiring part of the process. We really took into consideration what we love, where we are from, and what means the most to us. We want people to leave our wedding saying, “That was SO Kelly and Rob!” The backdrop for both the ceremony and reception has had a huge part in the inspiration, as well. We don’t want to do anything or bring anything in that will feel out of place. We want to highlight the natural beauty that is already there!
Who or what has been most helpful in the wedding planning process?
I think my knowledge of the event industry, our wedding planner Melissa, and Rob’s strategic budget management have all helped keep me calm! I am actually planning two weddings in Richmond, VA (where we live) on the same day as mine, so Rob and Melissa have been a saving grace! Rob is amazing at keeping me grounded, and any problems we have run into Melissa has been able to fix immediately – I swear she has a magic wand!
Above: Kelly’s hair and bouquet inspiration, both from The Knot
Have you picked your dress yet? How’d that go? What will you be wearing on the big day?
Yes! I just had my first dress fitting a couple of weeks ago, actually. It’s an Alvina Valenta. My mom flew up to Richmond last year to look with me, and though there were tons I loved, I never had that “cry moment” with “the dress.” At the end of a long day, my mom wanted to stop in this little shop called Jingles. The name really bothered me – it reminded me of an old cat lady, or something, But I agreed to go in and pulled a few random dresses. I came out in one of them, looked in the mirror, and just started crying! So did my mom. I found some gorgeous slate blue Badgley Mischka’s to wear as my something blue, and I’m planning to keep it simple with pearls.
The (nine!) bridesmaids will be wearing bright kelly green dresses, and the groomsmen will be in three-button seersucker suits with navy bowties.
Don’t have your own honeybee? Order some from Bee Raw!
Who is your favorite vendor you’ve booked so far?
Does my honeybee count?! Our guest favors are small mason jars of honey. Rob bought me a honeybee a while ago, and she lives on a bee farm in Georgia. We get all of her honey, and it’s always a different shade depending on the pollen and season. I am so excited for our guests to take these home – I think it’s so fun, and personal at the same time!
Tell us about the one that got away. Is there one dream thing or vendor you wish you could have fit into your budget?
A videographer, for sure! Not a tacky one, but one that films more like a documentary. I’d love to have a video like that to look back on one day!
What has been the best part of wedding planning? The worst part?
The best part is sharing this experience with Rob and getting excited every day about what our future holds. It’s also been wonderful to talk to my family about the details. I am the first grandchild in the family, and the firstborn for my parents, so it’s a really special time for everyone!
The worst part? Dealing with a budget and having to have a rain plan!!!!! Fingers crossed it will not rain on our wedding day – I mean, it never rains on weddings, right?? I think brides across the board agree about the budget aspect. It’s never fun to sit down and talk money or crunch numbers, but Rob is a math whiz, so I’m really thankful for him.
Left, Kelly’s bridesmaids’ dress, and right, her cake inspiration from Maggie Austin
What has been the biggest challenge so far in wedding planning?
Planning the wedding from far away! We booked our venue and all vendors when we were living in Florida… and then Rob got an amazing job offer that brought us up to Richmond. Being about seven hours from Savannah, we have to do mostly phone & Skype appointments, but we are making it work! It’s also hard to plan it without being close to my mom and maids of honor (I have two). Rob has been gone for three months at a time twice this past year, so sometimes it’s lonely!
What are you most looking forward to on your wedding day?
Seeing Rob for the first time, and dancing with my dad. I am sure I will be so emotional for both of those. I did ballet for forever when I was younger, and to this day I still dance with my dad in the kitchen when I am at home. I take off my shoes and stand on his feet, little-girl style. I have found the most perfect song for us, and I can’t wait to share that moment with him. He’s a wonderful man.
I am also excited for the ceremony. I really wanted it to be personal, and about Rob and me becoming husband and wife. My two sisters are each going to pick a passage from the Bible to read – whichever one means the most to them. In honor of my grandmother on my Dad’s side, we’ve planned something special. She and my grandfather met after WWII, when my grandmother was a nanny for his siblings. They used to write love letters to each other all the time, and they are some of the most beautiful and romantic letters I have ever read. My Dad has two sisters. During the ceremony, one will read a letter that my grandfather wrote to my grandmother, and the other will read the letter that my grandmother wrote back. She is the only grandparent that I have had pass away, and I want her to be a part of this day.
Pie bar inspiration from Kate Headley. See more from this wedding on SW here + here!
Now it’s your turn to ask for advice – is there anything you’d like to poll the SW readers on?
What is the most unique or personal thing about your wedding? I love hearing how each bride puts her own spin on things!
Thank you so much for playing along, Kelly! Readers, if you’d like to apply to be a Southern Bride of the Month, check out this post for all the details! If you’ve already emailed me, you’re still in the running for future months!
The Southern Bride of the Month header was designed by our intern Sierra, with illustration by Curious & Company!