Megan and Nick's Panama City, FL Wedding

Megan was one of the first brides to find her dress at Margaret Ellen Bridal after our opening last winter. She fell in love with a long sleeve, fit and flare Martina Liana gown. Despite getting married in July in Florida, the dress couldn't be beat. I love when brides don't let their venue, time of year, or others’ opinions persuade them on what type of dress is “correct”. Girls dream of this vert important dress. Whatever it is that makes one feel beautiful and like a bride should go with that feeling. Megan did just that and is still in love with her beautiful wedding dress. She paired her gown with her mother’s veil, adding a special touch from the past.

Megan and Nick were married on July 28, 2018 at Saint Dominic’s Catholic Church in Panama City, Florida. They celebrated with friends and family at their reception held at the infamous Shrimp Boat. It is evident of the love these two share.

How did you meet your groom?

In January 2017, while in training at Keesler Air Force Base. I did not like Nick at first, but when some of our friends made a trip to New Orleans for Mardi Gras, we clicked and fell in love.

How did Nick ask you to become his wife?

We were in Savannah, Georgia for the night. While on the Riverwalk, Nick proposed.

What was your favorite part of the wedding planning process?

Everything to do with my dress!

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What is your favorite memory from the wedding day?

The ceremony was beautiful. We kept whispering to each other the whole time.

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What is one piece of advice you would give someone preparing for their wedding day?

Do what makes you happy! It's your wedding, not every person who gives unwanted advice.

Why did you choose Margaret Ellen Bridal? How did you know your dress was "the one"?

I wanted to feel special when I got my dress. Maggie made me feel like a princess. My dress caught my eye right when we walked in, and I tried it on just for fun. I loved it!

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Megan and Nick honeymooned where they met in Biloxi, Mississippi.

Photographer: TK Photography: Trudy Koelstra

Venue: St. Dominic’s Catholic Church

Reception Venue: The Shrimp Boat

Florist: One Stop Flowers/// Made by the bride’s mother

Caterer: The Shrimp Boat

Hair/Makeup: Rachel Howell- D’Salon

Cake: Sugar Boogers

Reception DJ: DJ Rad

Invitations: Minted

Officiant: Father Luke Farabaugh

Dress: Martina Liana

Seamstress: Kathleen Cooper

Sweating for the Wedding | By: Sara Moreland Hester with Sara Moreland Fitness

We know, we know, the dreaded f word… FITNESS! There is nothing like a wedding date to push a bride into total “workout, diet, get in shape” mode. Hey, I have been there! A dedicated, 22 year old that went to the gym everyday… even on Fridays. Whoa! I remember thinking, “I am going to go to the gym the morning of the wedding.” Like, really? Ha! But, the feeling of accomplishment was amazing. The before and after of myself in my wedding dress was mind-blowing. I didn't lose a ton of weight but the tone in my arms and the rest of my body showed what I had worked so hard for, and that is why I am glad I adapted a healthy lifestyle before my wedding. I had no idea that “working out for the wedding” would lead to me being a healthier person altogether, even years after wedding day. Now, I have cheat meals, drink my calories at times, and skip the gym more times than I should, so I am not perfect by any means. That is why I asked the healthiest and most fit person I know to guest blog on how to get fit for the wedding. Read more on what Sara Moreland Hester of Sara Moreland Fitness and Studio S has to say about getting fit and losing that unwanted weight. There is even a surprise at the end. Do it! Your body will thank you!

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How long have you been in the fitness industry? What inspired you to start Studio S? 

I have been in the fitness industry since 2010.  I started my fitness journey by working at a local 24 hour gym teaching classes in the evening.  After several years of writing workouts, seeing results in clients, and keeping a steady interest in working out, I decided to create a lifestyle that revolved around helping other people get healthy and fit. 

What does a day in the life of running Studio S look like? 

Running your own business can be a challenge.  You have to be disciplined and focused on keeping people involved and motivated.  We start classes in both locations at 5:15 am.  Afternoons are tough for people, so a lot of people have to wake up and workout before their day even begins.  Our next class starts at 8:15 am. We stay in classes for 45 minutes and keep a smile when they tell us how much they don’t want to be there.  During the day, I try to get as much work done as I can.  I brainstorm ideas, write new workouts, develop online programs and local programs.  Programs usually take the most of my time.  Once I come up with an idea and plan, I begin to put all of the details into play and have to advertise it.  The day time usually goes by quickly, and my work starts when everyone else is getting off.  At 4:00 we start our afternoon classes.  We offer classes at 4:00 pm, 5:30 pm, and 6:15 pm.  In one day at Studio S, we average seeing anywhere from 100-150 people between our two locations.  My Amazon Prime workouts average over 1000 people in one week.


What sets your gym apart from others? 

The atmosphere I create in my gym and in my workouts is what creates such a unique experience.  I set the stage for real life expectations and a “come as you are” motto.  A lot of people don’t go to fitness classes because they aren’t in shape yet and don’t want to be embarrassed.  The atmosphere we have set at Studio S is welcoming to anyone and everyone.  I wouldn’t have a job if everyone was already in shape.  When I write workouts, I write them to be doable for a beginner and challenge the most advanced person.  All of my exercises can be modified or can be amped up.  As an instructor, it’s my job to know which one to push you to do.  I don’t have unrealistic expectations from my clients.  My goal for all of them is to be healthy.


What fitness advice would you give to a bride wanting to get in shape for her wedding day? 

My biggest piece of advice would be don’t crash diet and don’t burn yourself out.  Develop a new lifestyle so once you are married, you continue on with your new lifestyle.  Exercise is a great stress reliever and will be a healthy addition to your new marriage.   Don’t make exercise a stress factor.  It’s okay to miss a day and you don’t have to spend three hours at the gym.  45 minutes is plenty of time to get a great workout in that WILL give you results. 

What diet advice would you tell a bride or any other person that is wanting to shed some lbs.?

When people ask me for diet tips, my first question is always “what did you eat for breakfast?”  Once they answer with what they ate, my second question is always “why?”  The answers usually fall in the category of “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”.  This opens the door for discussion about eating to eat.  If you are only eating because you think it’s time to eat, your problem usually lies here.  I am a firm believer in intermittent fasting.  I have started hundreds of people on this lifestyle (NOT a crash diet, NOT a 3 day thing).  This has been the most effective way I have ever seen weight lost.  It’s not so much about WHAT you eat, but WHEN you eat.  It’s done 7 days a week.  This will not work if you do it for 5 days and take weekends off, etc.  The way it works is:



            This means nothing but water or black coffee during this fasting window.  If you take your last bite at 7:30pm on a Sunday night, you will FAST for the next 16 hours.  This will be until 11:30am on Monday. 



            In this window, you aren’t as restricted to what you eat.  The same concept goes to eating just to eat.  If you aren’t hungry as soon as your 16 hour fast is up, it’s ok to wait thirty more minutes and just have a 7 and a half hour eating window.


The majority of my clients begin seeing a significant weight loss around the two week mark.  Stay strict to your time windows and you can not cheat in your fast window, or it will not work.  There’s an app on the iPhone called “zero” and I use it to track my fasting. 


How can brides and others be trained by you if they are not local to you?  

I have a lot to offer online and it doesn’t take much from you.  Everything I offer can be done at home with weights and a mat.  Here is what I offer:

Amazon Prime workouts: Search “Studio S Live” on prime.  This is free if you have prime or you can purchase an episode.

Fitness App: Search “Studio S Fitness” in the Apple Store or just “Studio S” in Google Play

Studio S Elite: I train people in my program to teach at gyms in your town!

Studio S Livestream: I offer LIVE classes streamed to your phone/smart tv currently through Facebook

Studio S at home workouts: I have individual workouts for sale in PDF form by category  (arms, abs, legs, full body, workout of the day, 30 day challenges, booty blitzes)

Facebook challenges: I love to do Facebook challenges where people can join a group and do exercises I tell them to do for X amount of days.

All of this information can be found on my website:

Facebook: Sara Moreland Fitness; Instagram: sara_moreland_fitness

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FAQ From of our Brides

Is it better to do 30 min of weightlifting or 30 min of cardio?

In my experience and style of working out, the best way to shed fat and lose weight the fastest is to do HIIT.  This is short for high intensity interval training.  We focus on getting our heart rate up and learning to control it to get it back down.   In our style of working out at Studio S, we do a lot of repetition with a lower number in weight.  The method I try to instill in clients is that the more muscle you have, the faster you will start to lose fat.  People don’t have the best concept of how this works.  When you work out, you have to tear tiny little microfibers in your muscles.  This is what causes your soreness.  If you feed your muscles correctly (healthy food intake and protein), the muscle fibers will grow back bigger.  If you do NOT feed them correctly (fast food and junk), they will grow back the same size as before.  Once you start having muscle added, it will start eating the fat that surrounds that muscle.  Hence the more muscle you have, the faster you lose fat.  A lot of times people do not see gains when only lifting weights because they are lifting weights too heavy, causing poor form, and using momentum instead of muscles to lift.  On the other hand, only doing cardio will not help you make muscle gains.  This will help you to burn calories, but if you want a tight, toned, sleeker body, try combining the two!  Use lighter weights that you can control with your muscles and high repetitions to help get your heart rate up.  Check out my workouts to understand what I am talking about. 


Is there a favorite diet that you use with your workouts? 

Intermittent Fasting has been the best combination with my workouts.  So far, there has not been a better “time frame” to work out as far as working out during the fast or eating window.  It’s been a split of when people preferred to do their workout.  Some preferred to workout after they had eaten, while some preferred to workout while fasting.  Both preferences see results. 


How would you tell one to get motivated to get up, find the time and get to the gym?

Motivation is hard.  Motivation is the number one cause for all things fitness, good or bad.  When you see people with results, it’s because of motivation.  When you see people fall off, it’s because of lack of motivation.  This is something no one can give you.  You have to search and find your why.  Once you establish your why, you need to write it down and keep it and always go back to it.  There are so many reasons why people NEED to workout.  It’s not just for the tight and toned body.  There are so many benefits of exercise.  Some of the most important ones are mental health, increased energy, memory, reduce your risk of chronic disease, helps with relaxation and sleep, and so many more.  Anyone can come up with a million reasons of why they “can’t” go workout.  But if you find your one reason of why you should, it may spark some motivation and keep you on track.  Develop a habit.  Make yourself go on the days you really don’t want to, and all the other days will become much easier to go. 

Will I get bulky and lose weight if I lift weights and do weight machines? 

Most of the time bulkiness comes into play when you are lifting extremely heavy weights.  If your goal is not bulkiness, I would not lift anything heavier than 10s.  In my workouts, most clients alternate with 5 lb. and 8 lb. dumbbells.  Doing my workouts, you will do a lot of body weight exercises mixed in with these exercises that include dumbbells.  If weight machines are what you insist on doing, I would advise you to do a weight that you can control and do a high number of reps in it.  Another factor in bulkiness is eating too much or consuming too much of a protein supplement.  If you are not looking for bulkiness, stick to fasting and eating healthy and natural.  You don’t need a bunch of supplements to lose weight.

Is it better to do cardio or weight lifting first? 

Mix it up! Don’t get monotonous with any workout.  Add challenges to your workout.  If you are going to do cardio and lift, try to do some sprints/fast run and then grab some weights and lift while your heart rate is still up.  Try to keep things changing.


How often should one workout? 

4-5 times a week would be a healthy amount of time to spend doing high intensity workouts.  There is no need to spend hours and hours at a gym.  Get in, go hard, get it done, and get out. 


Complete the number of reps next to each exercise.  Write your time down and challenge yourself to beat it each time you complete this workout.

o  100 Plate Squats

o  90 Frog Lunges

o  80 Jumping Jacks

o  70 Crossovers

o  60 Bicep Curls

o  50 Exploding Squats

o  40 crunches

o  30 6 in ankle to ankle

o  20 wide pushups

o  10 Lunge Jumps

o  20 Leg drops

o  30 Burpees

o  40 Chinees

o  50 Chin Pulls

o  60 Star Jumps

o  70 OH press

o  80 Bridges

o  90 Overhead pushjacks

o  100 Heel touches

TIME __________


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*Leave a comment telling what you will try to adapt or leave motivation for those who are getting in shape for their wedding or in everyday life! Let’s support one another!

Corey and Jake's Destin, Florida Wedding | August 11, 2018

Corey, who has the sweetest soul, married Jake Sleight on August 11, 2018 on the rooftop of The Henderson Resort and Spa in Destin, Florida. Their ceremony was intimate and gorgeous as it overlooked the beautiful Gulf of Mexico. Corey wore a gorgeous Anne Barge gown, and we are still swooning.

Corey shared special moments of her and Jake’s relationship and their memorable day. Read along to live their day again, and leave the new Mr. and Mrs. some love below.

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How did you meet your groom?

I met Jake in March of 2013 when I went out to San Diego to visit a girlfriend of mine from college. The day I booked my trip, she was telling me everyday, "I'm going to introduce you to Jake!". I hadn't dated anybody in about 4 years and really wasn't interested, but when she picked me up from the airport, he was in the car and went out with us that night. I was in San Diego for 7 days and it really wasn't until day 5 that we started talking. One night we stayed up all night watching Ridiculousness and talking. Neither one of us slept. I believe it was that moment that we knew there was something between us! Long story short, for the next 6 months, Jake flew me out every 2 months to see him. I then moved out to be with him in October of 2013, and the rest is history! He came into my life when I least expected him, but exactly when I needed him.

How did Jake ask you to become his wife?

Jake decided we should make a trip to Florida to see my family while he was on spring break. I asked him why he wanted to go to Florida, because it seemed kind of random (all while I was thinking to myself "maybe he needed to ask my family something...?!), but he replied, "Well, you weren't able to see them for Thanksgiving or Christmas so I thought it would be a good time". (This is about the time that I come back down to reality and realize that he's not up to anything!) My "Mom had planned beach pictures for my Mimi's 80th birthday", so we left Texas at 3am to make it to Destin in time for evening beach pictures. We were all in like colors and ready to go. My Dad, sisters, and Jake left for the beach before my Mom and I because my Mom was "running late", which if you know my Mom, is nothing new. Little did I know that while my mom was "running late", they were staging a great surprise! My Mom and I start walking towards the beach and my Dad meets us right before we walk down the boardwalk. I see our photographer taking pictures of me and I'm thinking, "I do not look cute right now, why is she snapping these candids?!" I look around and realize that everybody is looking at me, and Jake is standing there with our dog, Koda, with a sign around his neck. I said "Aw, the photographer brought props!" I make my way down to Jake and once I see his face, it hits me. All I can say is "Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh"... He said, "Corey, I need to ask you a question. I LOST IT! He asked me to marry him in front of my family, as well as his, whom he flew out from Oregon and until this day, our families had not met yet! Obviously, I said yes! The engagement, the pictures, the setting, the was all everything I hoped for and more.

What was your favorite part of the wedding planning process?

DRESS SHOPPING DUHHHH! Seriously, without question, finding my dress with my close friends and family while sipping on champagne and eating macaroons. It was an experience I will never forget!


What is your favorite memory from the wedding day?

The ceremony, hands down. Standing in front of Jake, looking at him and absolutely nothing else, knowing that this day has been 5+ years in the making and we're finally here with our closest friends and families commenting to forever with one another. I was taking in every second.

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What is one piece of advice you would give someone preparing for their wedding day?

Make sure you choose great vendors, because they will make this process extremely fun! You hear horror stories about wedding's and how you "need to elope because of the stress". I never felt an ounce of that. All of my vendors were incredible in the months leading up to as well as the day of the wedding. I would plan our wedding all over again if I could!

Why did you choose Margaret Ellen Bridal? How did you know your dress was "the one"?

My twin sister/MOH found Margaret Ellen Bridal online while we were searching for bridal salons. We looked at her website and immediately called to schedule an appointment! The concept of a completely private appointment in such a beautiful store was something I knew was going to make for a special and memorable event!

I believe I tried on 9 dresses in total. I kept going back to number 4. Once Maggie put the veil on, and I had that "bride" moment, which of course started the waterworks, I knew it was the one. I couldn't see myself wearing anything else walking down the aisle to Jake.

Corey and Jake celebrated their marriage by honeymooning in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.

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Erica Whitaker

Venue: The Henderson Beach Resort and Spa

Florist: Bella Flora 30A

Wedding Planner/Coordinator: Sherri Kuhn, Destin to Wed

Hair/Makeup: Gallant Glam

Dress: Blue Willow Bride by Anne Barge

Caterer: The Henderson

Cake: Bake My Day

Ceremony + Reception Musicians: GOT Groove

Invitations: Minted

Officiant: Jared Brown

Transportation: The Henderson

Bridesmaid Dresses: David’s Bridal

Tuxedos: Jos A Banks

Seamstress: Kathleen Cooper, Southern Simplicity

New Wedding Dresses Coming to 30A, Destin, Panama City Area?

You bet they are! 

We are so excited to finally share the exciting news! Margaret Ellen Bridal now offers the ever so popular wedding dress line, Essense of Australia, to northwest Florida brides. 

Do you know Martina Liana? Perfect! Essense of Australia is Martina's sister collection. Why did we include Essense of Australia? At Margaret Ellen Bridal, our main focus is the BRIDE and making her HAPPY. Essense of Australia embodies details and beauty just as Martina Liana does but with a bit of a lower price point. We want to be able to cater to all brides, and Essense is a company that we have grown to love, adore, and trust. Therefore, it is a no-brainer that Essense of Australia is the best addition to Margaret Ellen Bridal. We know our brides will think so, too! 

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Twice a year, we travel to Kansas City to the home office of Essense Designs. This is where we view the latest collections from Martina Liana and Essense of Australia. We are also treated like royalty with wonderful food, treats (hello ice-cream cookies), drinks, gifts, dinner, entertainment, and informative trainings. It's also fun to see familiar faces from stores we have met in the past and meet new store owners and managers. We returned from our trip two weeks ago and it did not disappoint. The excitement of getting to pick out the hottest and newest wedding dresses is an all time high. Getting to pick out an additional 15 wedding dresses from a new line really adds to that high. But then.... when you hear and see that the lead designer and founder of Essense Designs, Martine Harris, is there the excitement goes through the roof. To meet and learn from someone who is so known, appreciated, and valued in the bridal industry is incredible. What makes Martine even better (other than her amazing accent)? Family. How much family means to her. Her own family, her Essense family and even their own families, her stores, and her brides. There were numerous times when Martine would walk up to us to just make sure that we were having a great time and to chat. Her character and how personable she is radiates and sets her company apart from so many others. It was truly a magical time, and we already look forward to our return to Kansas City this winter. 

While we cannot yet show you the newest gowns, we will show you some of our favorite Essense of Australia carryovers that are in store now and others that will be in store early September. We are in love with these gorgeous dresses! 

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As we end, we get the question "How do you pick which wedding dresses you carry?" a lot. To answer simply, it is so very hard choosing. Honestly, last October, my mom, best friend, and I chose based on what we liked and what we would wear. Sidenote: My mom has really surprised me with her picks. She even likes the sexy cutouts and deep plunges. Go mom! After having being opened for seven months, our strategy has somewhat changed. It has gotten easier. Of course wedding dresses that we love and would wear still catch our eye, and yes, we still choose some of our favorites. We now know what you, our brides, want and love, and that guides us to make the best picks possible for Margaret Ellen Bridal. Buying wedding gowns each season is such a highlight and seeing what is on-trend is amazing. 

We cannot wait to show you both our Martina Liana and Essense of Australia picks that will arrive this October and November. Stay tuned and follow us on Instagram to see when they hit the store. 

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Erin and Ryan's North Carolina Wedding

Erin Wahler's was not the first bride to get her dress from Margaret Ellen Bridal, but she was the first bride to marry. The feeling of knowing that someone is wearing such a special piece of clothing that came from your bridal boutique is one of the best feelings in the world. This dress is something that will be cherished forever. To know that I was part of that makes my heart swell 1,000,000x. So, thank you again for letting me be a part of your process and helping you in such a special way.  Erin and I instantly connected on both being Mississippi girls. She has since made her home along the Emerald Coast as I have, but Mississippi is still in our blood. I am forever thankful that Erin chose to find her dress at Margaret Ellen Bridal. She couldn't have been anymore beautiful. Congrats to Erin and Ryan. Wishing you nothing but happiness in all of your years together! 

Erin and Ryan Landmann married on June 10, 2018 at Hidden River Events in Swannanoa, North Carolina. Erin wore a stunning Blue Willow Bride by Anne Barge gown. 

Erin sat down and answered questions and told her "love story" for our blog. So, CHEERS to our first bride, Erin!


How did you meet your groom?

Ryan and I met through mutual friends.  
Ryan and I have some very good friends at Harbor Lights to thank for introducing us...a few times.  It took Ray, Diane, Stephanie and Enzo about three chance introductions before we actually went on our first date.  After trying to obtain my number, Ryan decided to friend request me on Facebook.  Since I don't 'friend' strangers, he sat in Facebook purgatory for a week or so until I went to the opening night of Star Wars with Enzo and Stephanie where they told me to just go on a date with this handsome and smart man.  How was I supposed to ignore that?  A few messages later, Ryan and I had our first date on Friday, December 30th.  After hours of conversation (or interrogation) we shut down Harbor Docks.  Ryan definitely put me through the ringer with the questions but the conversation was worth a second date.  Two days later on New Year's Day, we decided to do something a bit more active.  The dreary day led us to choose bowling.  I think it caught Ryan and I both off-guard when I won the first game.   I was even more surprised when I won the second game (I kicked some major booty).  He still decided to take me to dinner afterwards despite the loss.  During dinner I realized his beloved Packers were in the division playoffs...that night!  He said some things were more important.  Yep, I was pretty smitten.
This inevitably led to more dates testing our athletic prowess (putt-putt of course) and more chances to slowly get to know one another a week or so every month as Ryan flew down to work.  We've squeezed as much as we can into our two weeks a month and look forward to living in the same house...eventually.  One day maybe he'll even take me fishing on his boat. 

Tell us about your engagement story

Ryan and I had been discussing getting married since Thanksgiving of 2017. We had thought about venues on the panhandle the following fall. After work on February 8th, Ryan asked to check out Eden Gardens State Park. It was a beautiful day for the trip. I was worried about making it before it closed; he assured me we would make it. I was worried about the tuna steak dinner we had planned at home; he said it would keep and proposed a nice dinner on 30A. Since we never get out there for a date night, that did the trick! We walked around the venue and made it to the dock overlooking the bay right around sunset. We were enjoying the view and he said, "if this is where we think we want to get married, I guess there's only one question left to ask." I turned around and he was down on one knee. Yes! We went to dinner at Surfing Deer and decided to text a picture of the two of us to our parents. We didn't say we were engaged but wanted to see who would notice the ring first. His mom responded within 5 minutes. After 30-40 minutes with no response from my mom, I tried to message her. No response. Then I realized my phone was notifying me of several Facebook posts and messages. I open Facebook only to realize my mother had posted the picture to social media. She was too excited and said she was crying the entire time she posted. Ryan and I enjoyed the last few moments of our dinner before answering all of the incoming messages and phone calls. We've since requested all major public announcements be left for Ryan and I to post on social media in the future. We love our family's enthusiasm though!

What was your favorite part of the wedding planning process? 

Everything! Hidden River Events made the process completely stress free. They took care of everything! We were given access to their website and Grace helped us through the selection of all the details. Their flowers are grown on-site and the caterer also owns an amazing restaurant a few miles away. I cannot say enough about how the venue created our perfect day! I showed up with the perfect dress, they took care of the rest!


What is your favorite memory from the wedding day? 

Saying our vows in front of our friends and family. We felt our vows were unique and captured our lives in the present and the wish we have for our future together.

What is one piece of advice you would give someone preparing for their wedding day? 

Do not stress over the details. At the end of the day, your guests will not know what you had envisioned and they'll love everything. 

What made you choose Margaret Ellen Bridal? How did you know your dress was "the one"? 

I was looking for a more personal dress buying experience. I had recently heard of Margaret Ellen Bridal and decided to make an appointment. Maggie truly went out of her way to ensure she could get me the dress of my dreams in such a short timeframe. She took note of my dress desires over the phone and recommended I send her a few dresses from the designers that caught my eye. She got it right on the first dress. Yes, I tried on others but went back to the first one in my mind every time. It was very classic, simple and elegant (my Audrey Hepburn moment). I felt like it reflected me and what I wanted for my wedding day.

Venue/Florist: Hidden River Events

Photographer: Jesse Kitt Photography

Wedding Planner/Coordinator: Grace Giles

Caterer: Native Kitchen and Social Pub, Asheville, NC

Hair: Hayley Gregory

Cake: Anne's Custom Catering

Ceremony Musicians/Reception DJ: Erik Mattox

Invitations: Minted

Officiant: Jeanne Sommer

Seamstress: Kathleen Cooper/Southern Simplicity Gulf Coast


It is our FIRST blog, and it is my 5 year anniversary!

Happy blogging! It is my first time to EVER blog. While it has been on my mind since opening the store, I have been sort of afraid to do it. However, I knew that it would be super fun and important to blog about my bride’s wedding days and when they are actually in their dress. I have had one #margaretellenbride tie the knot so far, so it is time to get this blog on the net. I thought what better way to start it than on my own anniversary!?! I figured I could answer the same questions that I am asking my brides to write about and tell my own story. So, my first blog is dedicated to you, Tyler, and to five wonderful years. Our story started on June 22, 2013.

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How did Tyler and I meet?

I knew sort of who Tyler was a few years before we were introduced. Side note: I literally have butterflies and the biggest smile on my face as I type this.  I remember seeing him on a four-wheeler ride. He was SO cute, looked older than me (actually 6 months younger than myself), and I was so confused how I didn’t know who in the world he was. After all, we lived in the Mississippi Delta where everyone knows everyone. But, I didn’t know him.

Fast forward to two years later when we were seniors in high school, we were introduced to each other through his brother and a high school friend of mine. We literally hit it off the first night we met and the rest is history.

Our Proposal…

Our proposal was intimate and not expected. It was Friday, October 19, 2012 and we had been on the road to my sister’s in Hernando, MS for my 22nd birthday. We were going to see the 2012 USA Olympic Gymnastics perform (lover of elite gymnastics right here) that Saturday. Instead of waiting when we were all dressed up and in downtown Memphis, Tyler proposed the Friday night before while we were at my sister’s. He had at some point given my sister my ring to put in my niece, Kennedy’s, jewelry box. She danced into the room to show me all of her new costume rings that were in the box and there my ring was. I was shocked that they made a child’s ring look so real. Kennedy was shocked, too. Tyler got down on one knee, said the sweetest words, and of course I said, “Yes!”. Kennedy was VERY upset that the ring was not hers. Sassy! My nails were chipped and I had on yoga pants and an oversized t-shirt. But you know what? I was surprised and, in the end, it didn’t matter because we were getting MARRIED!


Our Wedding Details:

Our wedding was traditional for the ceremony with a rustic, personal reception. To my surprise now, I really let my mom handle SO much of my wedding planning and coordinating on the actual day. If you know my mom, Barbara, then you know she is hands on and likes to do things herself.  She decorated the week of, made the food for the reception with the help of her friends, and orchestrated it all while being the mother of the bride. Oh, and she cleaned up the next day on her birthday. She is a true super mom! I pretty much gave her pictures from my Pinterest board and let her go to town. Not even kidding! We married in my church, St. Joseph Catholic Church in Greenville, MS. My parents, brother, and sister all married there which is very special. I knew I wanted an outdoor reception. I did not want it where a ton of weddings had been because I wanted it to be different. I chose Belmont Plantation. It is an old antebellum home built in 1857, and it is the last mansion standing along the Mississippi River in the MS Delta. With over 9,000 square feet of space, we were able to stretch the reception into the downstairs rooms and in the large backyard. I am very sentimental, so personal touches were extremely important to me. My brother, Jonathan, who was seven years older than me, passed away in May of 2002. It was important for me that he be with me somehow on that special day. I placed a small photo of Jonathan into a small frame and attached it to my bouquet. This has to be one of my favorite additions on my wedding day, and I would tell anyone that has lost someone to do the same. We enjoyed family and friends during that day, and it was hard to even make our exit that night because I didn’t want the night to end. In fact, our reception director came to find us to tell us we had to go right then because the sparklers were going to burn out before pictures. Ha! This is totally me not ever wanting to leave the party. We drove away that night in an antique blue Chevrolet owned by a family friend and stayed at the Greenville Inn and Suites in downtown Greenville. 

Favorite Memory from Our Wedding Day

My favorite memory from my wedding day is by far the singing of “You Are My All in All” by my fourth-grade class. We had just ended my first year of teaching, and these kids were (still are) my heart. While practicing in our classroom, I would just get so teary. Having them there, so excited, and during the most precious moment of the wedding was so special. I hope that they will always know that. They are going into their 10th grade year, and it is so hard to believe. They will all go and do such great things.

A funny memory: We also still laugh about being so hungry once we got to our hotel after the reception. My mom had sent us back with food, and we didn’t even worry with not having a fork or utensil. Hands deep in the bag eating probably 40 meatballs and just laughing at ourselves.

One Piece of Advice for Someone Preparing to Marry

Take it all in. Be calm. Enjoy.  I was so calm and enjoyed my day so much. I think being stress free is so important. I will also always give the advice to have a videographer. I regret not having one so very much. There is nothing more I want than to tune in and watch our day all over again. Photos were also SO important to me, and I am forever thankful to Faith Barnett with Mississippi Roots Photography and Kyla Holcomb for capturing our memories. 

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Our Honeymoon:

We honeymooned in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. We stayed at Sandals Grande Riviera, now known as Sandals Ochi. It was a remarkable vacation and one that I will remember forever. Brides, if you can wait a day to go on your honeymoon I totally suggest that. We chilled on Sunday, opened gifts, made sure our bags had everything in them, and drove to Memphis for a flight the next morning. This gave us a day to rest and relax before going on our honeymoon.

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I am not sure that I am quite the blogger, but I am so excited to share all the wedding stories of my brides. If you are a Margaret Ellen bride and want to be featured please fill out the form here. Happy Friday!