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The Wedding Raising: Planning Ahead

The Wedding Raising: Implementation

Simply Southern Wedding Part II
PBrooke Mike and guys at smoker

The Wedding Raising
Part IV:  Implementation


flower girl and ring bearer

E.  I needed quite a bit of help from my Friends: 

Realizing what a big responsibility all of this was I sent out an email to my friends requesting their help and then drawing up a chart for who would be responsible for what and when. Things happen and life intervenes so several who intended to come could not make it.  But the group who did come had fun and we got something magical to come about.

Dear Friends, 

You have indicated a willingness to participate with me in my “wedding raising.”  I am sending you this so you can be thinking about what you might want to do with a certain area.  I think this will help get us started on that Thursday.  We’ll gather our materials and just get started as soon after 9:00 as we possibly can.   

Can’t you just see the beautiful pictures for Brooke and Mike and for us to share with others who read the article on the “Wedding Raising”?   The most important part of this story will be the emphasis on what a wedding really is…the celebration of the bonding of a newly wedded couple and the humbling and rewarding dependence on dear friends who come together rekindling friendship and bonding by working together for a common cause.

Wedding Raising   

Donuts and coffee 9:00 Thursday, October 24,  I will have lunch for us.  We’ll get started early and finish at least by 2.

Bryan from Wiregrass Living will come to photograph our product at 3:00 on Friday.  I am excited to see what we come up with.  These are ideas I have cut from magazines that seem possible.  I am sure we’ll have to be creative with scavenging our yards (and my yard).  That will be the fun of it.  Being creative with what we have and making something beautiful.   

I have ivy, scotch pine, magnolia, camellia,pittosporum, lorapetalum and a variety of other greenery.  I also have flowerheads of hydrangea.  We’ll cut from the back.

Please bring your garden shears, wire clippers, whatever greenery you want that is not in my yard…whatever I have is up for grabs. I have wire, tape, string and oasis.  I am sure more would always be helpful.  Bring whatever flowers you see blooming, whatever card tables, table cloths, interesting bottles, candles or containers and chairs you can share.  Your flowering or green container gardens.  Children’s chairs?  White Christmas lights.  Any tulle you might have stuck up in an attic.   

Does anyone have 2 of those planters that you use for a deck fence to plant things in?  I cannot find any to put my oasis in for the pergola.  Ideas? 

Please let me know if you will NOT be able to come. 

You will be missed!   

If you know of any of our friends I have not mentioned below that you know would enjoy working on this…please invite them.  I really think we will enjoy doing this together.


 This was how my carport looked the day of the "Wedding Raising".  The ping pong table became our work table. Sweet friends, Diane Enloe and Pat Branch.

 These are the flowers I had on hand to work with.  I planned ahead and Sams delivered exactly ontime.  My sister, Sylvia, came early to "cut those stems underneath the water" as directed by ever flower arranging book I have ever read!  I think I will buy one of those "stem cutters" next time.






Available for use



Brooke’s bouquet

Altar arrangements





21 for bridesmaids

6 for altar arrangements

10 for cake



Mantel in living room

125 pink and white

12 for silver brides basket

12 for pink brides basket

24 for silver epergne

30 for tussie mussies 5x6

24 for corsages for helpers (8x 3)

The rest for boutonnières

 epergne arrangement




125 bright variety

All available for back yard










Sunflowers from Doris Faulkner promised 






Bright yellow Swamp daisies from Rosa Thomas’ yard






Sasanqua or Camellias blooming?












 Projected assignment of jobs

Of course when the day arrived, there were those who could not come and I wound up assignments wound up being assigned to whomever arrived first.  That way, the least important jobs just didn't get done...and it was okay.  We're always tempted to attempt more than we can actually achieve.  Be flexible!!!




Pat Renfro Stairs

Christie Thomley



Nagel Byrd

Pew buckets.  These will hang from the pews in the church and then come home to adorn the gates.  I have 6 for alternating the first 6 rows of the church.  They have handles to tie tulle ribbon for hanging them from the pew.


Sharman, Pat and Walt

To be adapted to reality.

Arbor near greenhouse

Magnolias from my house and my mothers.  White Christmas lights.  Flowers or tulle bows or a combination.

groomsmen and arbor

Barbara Moore

Arrangement in cement urn in back.  I like the surprise of a formal arrangement appearing in a yard.  At least 1 doz roses here, perhaps with pittosporum for height,  and fern and ivy as greenery.


Elizabeth Brown

Children’s area.  Minnie and Mickey Mouse cake (blue and white striped with polka dot second layer)  Polka dot table cloth for serving table.  Mason jar candles dangling on limbs?  Children’s tables and chairs.  Baskets for Bubbles, colors, etc.  Special menu for children served here.


Beverly Mayfield and Betty Peters

Smoking Lounge and Floral Chandelier

Floral chandelier will be made with a black iron pot holder that we will drape with greenery and dangle flowers from in individual water holders.  If we can figure out how to make candle holders that would be nice.  It will hang over the pool table/carport serving table.

Eric Newman my best friend from junior high school’s husband owns the cigar company that makes the country’s favorite cigar (Opus Fuente).  He will be bringing samples of his product so we’re designing a “man cave” smoking lounge for our gentlemen to indulge in a good cigar and a glass of Scotch or Bourbon.



The Unity candle arrangement will be below the flower chandelier.

Gail Kennedy

2 Arbors into back yard from back gate

been crushed to draw in more water into the stems, kept in the shade and frequently refreshed with ice cubes in the water.

 front gate


Potato Bar

 Potato Bar

Sharman and Paulette Clardy

Arrangement on pergola near pool. 

Pat Branch and Diane Enloe


What about a pineapple in the center?

I have iron hangers lining the side of the sidewalk with nothing on them.  Ideas?  This is just an idea.  I will make a magnolia swag to have prepared for you.  It is just the centerpiece and what goes up to the front door that needs your genius.  These luminaries are just an idea.  I have some glass vases…just not this shape.  I have several smaller rounded ones to use as vases for tables or perhaps luminaries for the front door.

Front arrangement on balcony


Dear friends, Pat Branch and Diane Enloe

Martha Nix and Linda Woodruff


This is the centerpiece of the Bride’s area.


I have tulle to swag and will be making a garland for the top of the tent of magnolia leaves and scotch pine.  This should be the focal point.  We’ll use most of the extra roses here. 


Ann Britt and Barbara Blumenfeld

Brides and Grooms Tables

Sweetheart Table

Use your imagination with what we haveSweetheart Table

Ann Britt and Barbara Blumenfeld

Tables around the tent and Tables around the yard.  Betty has 10 tables that seat at least 10.  Imagine those tables plus 2 long tables for the bridesmaids and the groomsmen with Brooke and Mike at a sweetheart table between.  These will back onto our neighbor’s house.  I have a fancy candelabra I thought would go on the sweetheart table Brooke’s bouquet.  The bridesmaid’s bouquets can go on the attendants tables. We may have to see just what flowers show up that day to determine what the table decorations will be. 

Blue wine bottles, bowls, tin pans, wine glasses, etc. Terra cotta pots and a variety of table cloths.  White near tent.  Variety in the back yard.


Magnolia Heart wreath above gazing globe and in back yard on plant vine trainer.  Hoop around the neck of 2 statues in the back yard.



Memory Tree and Money Box




Bringing flowers from church to use at the Reception
Assign someone to bring the flowers from the church and

Betty Peters

Pew Buckets

Hang on fences back and front

Joyce and Bill Ramsey

Altar Flowers

Put in Living room small on mantle, large on fern stand

Barbara Moore

Unity Candle Arrangement

Put on center of food table under carport

 I drew up a jobs list prioritizing the projects with the greatest impact. As my friends arrived I set them in twos to work on these focal points. Since I had already sent out a projected plan, some had collaborated on ideas and how to implement them.

I had all the materials they would need for the individual projects laid out according to project on my ping pong table.   These included:  several pair of stem and wire cutters, several rolls of wire of all grade, electricians tape (needed to hold wet oasis to vertical tray on front balcony), pineapple (already halved) plus whole pineapple for other arrangements, trays of several sizes and depths for use as receptacles for arrangements, florist tape, collection of blue wine bottles, 6 bolts of tulle plus extra, tulle ribbon of all widths (white, pink and blue), buckets of leather leaf fern (scavenged from neighbors), buckets of gypsophilia , buckets of roses of assorted colors (mainly pink and white), buckets of calla lilies, buckets of hydrangea (all flowers ordered from Sam's).  I had an umbrella stand with white painted flagpole and the grated top to a fern stand ready to weave tulle through to create the "canopy" under which I would situate the "sweetheart table" for the bride and groom.  Two handled buckets had already been spray painted white and were ready for arranging. Hula hoops had been spray painted white to make into flower hoops.

After setting out the tables, plans changed as to where the "sweetheart table" would be.  Things look different when in place than they do on paper.  Be ready to shift.  When Ann Britt arrived and took a look at where I had put the tent she immediately knew it was in the wrong place and directed us in shifting it to where it truly became a focal point.  When gifted with friends who have an "eye" for where things ought to be take advantage of their talents and go with the flow.

StaircasePat Renfro set the motif for our designs by using a garland and arrangement of roses, pineapple, lemons and limes interspersed with magnolia leaves, fern, pittosporum and coral vine in decorating the staircase in the entry hall and mantel in the living room, making the garden flow from the inside out.

The garland was bought at Inside Accents.  We used cake pans to set our wet oasis in and wired the oasis and pineapple down secured to the banister. 

Above the front door on the iron filigree of the balcony, Pat Branch and Diane Enloe incorporated pineapple and limes with a Della Robia influenced central a

rrangement and a lighted Christmas Garland enhanced with magnolia leaves.


I had found the heart shaped wreath in our attic years ago.  It was apparently one my husband's mother probably used for a bridal luncheon of some sort.  I thought it appropriate to incorporate it in some manner in our decorations.  We used U shaped floral pins to secure the pittosporum to the wreath.  The lighted Christmas garland filled out with magnolia leaves from the tree in our yard went to make a beautiful entry decoration. 

Betty Peters groomed Knockout roses.

Nagel Byrd added delicate coral vine and leatherleaf fern to the pineapple, limes, roses and pittosporum in the antique silver epergne on the dining table and the living room mantle. She also directed the creation of a tulle canopy above the sweetheart table on the patio using an umbrella stand, flag pole and fern stand grill. Ron and Arloa Evans, parents of the groom, followed Nagel’s orders in creating the canopy over the sweetheart table.

This was Evans and Nagel

actually the first time I had much interaction with my daughter's future in laws.  Working together on a project helped me to build a bridge with them and make a special memory.  They had the opportunity to meet some of my very dear friends in something more than a party situation.


Christie Thomley suggested placing palm fronds in an urn referring back to the pineapple motif of the entry. (Here are the sweethearts at the sweetheart table underneath that canopy.)

meandmikesdad.jpg picture by brookie018

Gail Kennedy and Linda Woodruff

Gail Kennedy created floral arrangements with greenery, palm fronds, and ivy to flow from the top of a pergola draped in tulle. Linda Woodruff swagged tulle on arbors.

meandmikedancing.jpg picture by brookie018

As you can see from the before and after photos the final product was beautiful. 

Pat Spierdowis turns hoola hoop Walt Weeding

Pat and Walt Spierdowis of Louisville, Kentucky and Panama City came just to pull weeds and offer willing hands and wound up decorating a gazebo. 

Ann Britt turned a white plastic tent into a formal gazebo with mums, tulle, a bench and garden urns.

My sister, Dr. Sylvia Rushing, of Metarie, Louisiana, took time off of her cardiology practice to come help me condition and arrange roses, calla lilies, hydrangea and gypsophilia (you never have enough) ordered from, delivered on time directly to our door.  Not only did she condition flowers, she made sure the house smelled good by placing scented candles and pot pourri throughout the house.  And...she scrubbed bathrooms and the staircase.  Is that a good sister?

As soon as they arrived, Brooke, Sylvia and I began cutting the stems and sticking in the water to which a tablespoon of Clorox had been added to fight bacteria.  Sylvia and I debated the reasoning behind cutting the roses beneath the surface of the water and concluded we could cut and stuff without injuring those 300 roses too much...and save our backs!!!  We should have crushed the stems of the hydrangea with a hammer to facilitate water absorption, but did not do so.  That would have helped preserve them. 

Lunch alfresco

Goody bags and pumpkinAl fresco Guest bookNapkins

Coffee and Krispy Kremes started the day. Nagel Byrd brought sandwiches, Barbara Blumenfeld made pasta salad, Paulette Clardy added cheese tidbits, and Ann Britt contributed wine from Chateau Elan for a midday al fresco picnic.

I discovered you can never have too much time or tulle in decorating a garden for a wedding. We swagged and puffed tulle on arbors, gates and the gazebo, spray painted hula hoops white, wrapped them with ivy and added tulle bows, spray painted buckets white, filled them with hydrangea, roses, and gypsophilia, and hung them with tulle ribbon from pews as church flowers and fence decorations afterwards.

Tables were set up all around the carport area

Brooke printed off wedding coloring books for the children and made the programs for the wedding

Boiled peanuts (Southern caviar) fresh from McNeil farms were featured in a garden room on the back of the garden. A Mickey and Minnie Mouse wedding cake and special children’s menu completed a children’s room near the playhouse.

Eric, Lyris and DrewThe Smoker’s Lounge/Man Cave turned out to be "the hit" of the event.  Gentlemen continue to comment on what a treat it was to meet Eric and Lyris Newman who shared with our guests the Cuesta-Rey and Diamond Crown products that have made their cigar company famous. Octogenarian friend from Panama City, John Cheshire, commented on how much he enjoyed this part of the event saying, "I remember when it was the custom for the men to leave the ladies to do, whatever ladies do, and retire to a room after supper to enjoy a good cigar."  Joe's old friend from high school, Ron Steensland, was surprised to find that Eric would be at the Cigar Aficionados convention in Las Vegas in November.  Both have contacted Eric since.  Lyris was my best friend from junior high school. 

The Smoker's Lounge fronted on the open area (once Ramsey field where my husband, his brothers and their friends played football) where croquet was set up.

I think the "wedding raising" was the best idea I have ever had.  It succeeded in creating a beautiful environment at the same time my friends, family and I bonded even more.

IV. Implementation--Life goes on regardless of the big events.  My calendar that month was full.  But there are things I would not have remembered if I had not put it on a calendar.  Write everything down.  You will be so stressed you'll forget the basics. 












Plant Pansies and Snap Dragons in Front

 Buy 4 bags of sand to hold tent


Ricky Edge Yard


Flowers were ordered


Garden Club and Colonial Dames


Daniel and Katherine rehearsal party

Edge Yard


Daniel and Katherine Wedding at Lake Martin


Honey Do Party



Sharman and Betty with Marva Collins in PC


Ricky comes

Gather materials for garlands, clean out buckets with Clorox


Order flowers by this date

Order Champagne goblets from Sams

Buy napkins and clear plates



Southern Lady Convention in Panama City at yacht club

Sing Beautiful Dreamer


Southern Lady Convention Sing Beautiful Dreamer 



Polish silver







Make Garlands






Mow Lawn



Condition flowers when they arrive


Soak oasis


Set up Tent with tulle, bows  and garlands  Add flowers later


Begin gathering magnolias from other gardens


Create arrangements for inside of house

And pew buckets




Wedding Raising


Have coffee, tea, water in bottles chicken salad or tuna salad with Brooke’s brownies


Transform garden into wonderland




Sharman Hair appointment 5:00


10:00 Nail appointment Sharman and Brooke


Bridesmaid’s Luncheon

Use 2 arrangements in brides baskets for centerpieces  take single rose and thin ribbon to tuck in napkins


2:00 p.m. till 5:00 Create bride’s and bridesmaid’s bouquets, floral headpieces, flower girl basket, and Boutonnières during afternoon…Volunteers welcome


Rehearsal 6:00

After Rehearsal Party

 Bridal Party to Ben and Elizabeth’s 

Old Fogeys to Sharman and Joe’s


Wedding Day

 8:30 Make up for Sharman

Brooke Hair appointment


10:00 Meet at 800 North Cherokee for pictures


Deli Tray for outside of Bride’s Room

12:00 at church for formal pictures


2:30 Music begins


3:00 Wedding


Reception following


All who are ambulatory meet at Shoneys at 8:30 a.m.








You can learn more about the cigar company of the Newman family, Lyris, Eric and Drew, at their website: .  They have begun a very important mission in the Dominican Republic you really should become aware of.  I am so proud and happy I am for my dear friend, Lyris Bruce Newman, her happiness with the fine man she married, the fine son she has raised, and the contribution she has made to making the world a better place.  I sit here with tears in my eyes, thanking God for my wonderful friend. 

A. G. Branch--BuzzOff Mosquito (334 797-2960)

Copyright 1996  These are my own working genealogy files that I share with you.  The errors are my own.  But, perhaps they will give you a starting point.  All original writing is copyrighted.  Webmaster