Southern Oaks Plantation Wedding Spotlight

Nathalie and Kerry’s love story began with an engagement that didn’t go exactly as planned, but still created a perfect memory! They fell in love with Southern Oaks Plantation from the start and had the wedding celebration they always dreamed of!

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– Tell us about your engagement.

Before leaving to go to a seminar in New Orleans, Nathalie had left a note in my bag asking me to pick her up something from the city. At that point, I thought it was appropriate to stop and pick up Nathalie’s engagement ring. I spoke with my parents and my aunt to discuss with them how I should propose. I also met with her father to ask for Nathalie’s hand in marriage. The plan was to propose to Nathalie at the local Italian restaurant we frequently visited when I returned back to Ruston, that Saturday.

After an arduous journey from Slidell to Ruston, I finally returned home early enough for us to go to dinner. It was then when Nathalie informed me she was too tired after a day full of school work to go out that night and that we would go to the restaurant Sunday. I informed everyone that the proposal was postponed until the next day. The next day arrived and Nathalie, again, decided that we should move the date to the restaurant to Monday, as she had chores to do around the house. I texted everyone, again, that the proposal would be moved to Monday.

At this point my cell phone was explosively vibrating from the barrage of text messages coming from my family, who had been on pins and needles for the last two days. Nathalie started noticing the constant text messages and asked what was going on, which required me to come up with an off the cuff answer while I texted my parents, “Do you know what the word ‘suspicious’ means? Stop texting so much.”

Monday arrived and on the way out of work, I tried to call the Italian restaurant to inform them how I was going to propose to Nathalie. I then discover that, of all the days, they’re closed on Mondays. At the last moment, I decided to change restaurants to the local steakhouse, a place we’ve only frequented about twice since moving to Ruston. I informed Nathalie of the change of places and contacted the restaurant to give them a heads up.

When we arrived, I noticed my name on the reservation list with the word “engagement.” I quickly tried to distract Nathalie from looking, by making weird facial expressions and head bobbing. Before our dessert arrived, I asked Nathalie to take a picture with me to share with my parents. I then told her, “Nathalie, you asked me to bring you back something.” I then told her how much I loved her and how I wanted her to be my wife, which was met with a face of shock and excitement. The waiter was able to video and snap some pictures of the proposal, which was followed by applause from the restaurant. The staff inscribed “Congrats” on our dessert plate. Even though it didn’t go according to plan, I wouldn’t go back and change a thing!

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– In your opinion, what is the best characteristic of Southern Oaks Plantation?

What a tough question! We would have to say that the best characteristic of Southern Oaks Plantation would be their well-organized system. From the first day we stepped foot on the grounds and met Mr. Bobby to the minute we got in our limo to leave our reception, they made sure everything went off without a hitch and that we had nothing to worry about! Everything was done with such order and precision that all we were left with was enjoying ourselves! They know what they are doing and then some. There is nothing to be disappointed by when it comes to Southern Oaks Plantation! Also, let us not forget the food…because it too is a BEST characteristic!

– How did you and your partner meet?

We met while working at Sears while we were in high school. Kerry was a hardware department salesman and I was a cashier. We were introduced by one of the managers who just insisted that I go on a date with Kerry. Eleven years of dating (and now two months married) later, we are still going strong!

 

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– What made you select Southern Oaks Plantation as your wedding venue?

When searching for wedding venues, we both knew we wanted somewhere close to home as both of our families live in the Slidell area and we have family all around South Louisiana. We also knew that we wanted a venue that wouldn’t require us to book a million and one vendors to coordinate food, tables, linens, etc. We wanted something that also felt warm, inviting, like us, and like home. We knew we were interested in Southern Oaks Plantation after looking over the website and seeing all the amazing reviews. When talking to family who had attended weddings there previously, we only heard about how wonderful it was. We knew we had to check it out. We fell in love the minute Mr. Bobby opened those doors. The pictures don’t do it justice! Everything is so beautiful and breathtaking! The décor is perfect for just about any color palette you could dream of. After speaking with Mr. Bobby and hearing all the things he had to offer (and so kindly decided to include additionally for us), we knew we found our wedding venue!

– What was your favorite moment of the night?

Well aside from getting married (duh!), we would have to say the best moment of the night was the surprise fireworks! I will never forget being in the car with my dad and Mr. Bobby as we made our way around to the front of the house for me to walk down the aisle. Mr. Bobby said he had a surprise for us that night. I was already giddy with excitement as I was about to walk down the aisle, now this! I had no idea what to expect as the night was just getting started. At the conclusion of the ceremony and as we made our way back to the front of the house after our second line with the jazz band, fireworks began going off! We were blown away! I couldn’t imagine a more perfect surprise for such a perfect night. I remember my mother in law telling me that Mr. Bobby asked her (following the fireworks) did she enjoy that, all along with the biggest smile on his face!

 

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– Are there any other vendors you’d like to mention in this feature?

Yes! All of our lovely vendors as listed below! With Southern Oaks Plantation and each of our vendors, our night was more perfect and beautiful than we could have ever imagined or asked for!

– Was there a particular staff member at SOP that really stood out to you?

I wouldn’t say that one staff member outshined any other. I would say that each member we worked with did their job and then some to make sure our night went well. Whether it was Lauren who would respond to many numerous emails with my thousand and one questions as she would be assurance that she had it all under control; our assistants for the night who would made sure we were where we needed to be and that we always had a drink in hand or anything else we may need; Mr. Bobby who gave us a personal tour when we came to view the venue and threw in some extras along the way. Everyone there is amazing and really goes above and beyond. 

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– What would you say to other brides considering Southern Oaks Plantation as their venue?

If there is ever any doubt in your mind, go with your gut! Just do it! We can say now that there is no regret having chose Southern Oaks Plantation as our wedding venue. You will be able to enjoy your night with your spouse without any need to worry about anything else! You will truly be able to enjoy your wedding night as you should! The entire staff is helpful, understanding, and willing to do what they can to make your night what you want it to be. They are quick to answer any of your questions throughout the planning process and do everything they can to make that process stress-free and enjoyable. We would do it again in a heartbeat! I am honestly sad that I don’t get to email them all the time now with my questions! (lol)

Please list your vendor information below including their name, website, and Instagram handle. 

Photographer: Collin Richie

Website: http://www.collinrichiephoto.com/

Florist: Leaf + Petal NOLA

Website: https://www.leafandpetalnola.com/

Tuxedo/Suit Shop: Xedo

Website: https://tuxedorental.jcpenney.com/

Videographer: JCW-A Creative Agency

Website: https://weddingsbyjcw.com/

Bakery: Bittersweet Confections

Website: www.bittersweetconfections.com 

Dress Designer/Dress Shop: Essense of Australia from The Bridal Boutique by MaeMe

Website: (Essense) https://www.essensedesigns.com/

  (The Bridal Boutique by MaeMe) https://www.maemebridal.com/

    (The Bridal Boutique by MaeMe) maemebridal

Hair & Makeup: She Laughs Hair & Makeup

Website: www.shelaughsboutique.com

Officiant: Rev. Steve Trahan from Sensational Ceremonies, LLC

Website: https://www.sensationalceremonies.com/locations-weddings/new-orleans-weddings/

         

Bridesmaid Dresses: Bridside 

Website: https://brideside.com/

                          

Celebrating 32 of Years of Southern Oaks Plantation

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“We had the presence of mind that it had to be done correctly from the very beginning or we knew it wouldn’t last.” – Bobby Asaro 

“We did the parents’ events, and now they are coming back for their children’s wedding, we just love it! We even had wedding recently and the bride had been a flower girl who sat on our steps, and knew from that day that she would get married here too.” – Sue Asaro 

On Saturday, January 12, 2019 the Asaro family will celebrate their 32nd year in business! With the ever changing scenery of the events in New Orleans, it was important for this family to establish their values and uphold a standard of impeccable customer service that has proven effective over decades of happy couples! Bobby and Sue tell stories of couples pulling them aside at recent weddings to share stories of their own weddings from 12, 15, and 20 + years ago. There was even one wedding in particular where their guest list boasted SEVEN couples that had wed at Southern Oaks Plantation! The stories of family traditions could go on and on, but one of our favorites includes Southern Oaks’ very own, Lauren Burgess. She wed here at the plantation in 2017 after working for the venue for nearly 12 years! Moreover, her mother and aunt had a DOUBLE wedding at the plantation 31 years earlier – what a remarkable family tradition.

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We thank you, our supportive clients and happy couples, for being with us over the last three decades! There is nothing we love more than being a part of the most special day of your lives! From a drawing on a napkin to here we are today.. Cheers to the next 32 years and many more!

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Wedding Spotlight – Andrew + Josh

From a fireworks surprise to a ride in the Rolls Royce, Andrew and Josh’s wedding was nothing but excitement. So happy for this wonderful couple and thankful that they chose Southern Oaks for their wedding!

Tell us about your engagement: We went to Rafian Brazilian Steak house for Thanksgiving dinner with Josh’s family. We went around the table and said what we were thankful for and Josh was last and said he was thankful for me and the proposed in the restaurant. People were clapping and Andrew started to cry because he was so overwhelmed with joy!

In your opinion, what is the best characteristic of Southern Oaks Plantation? How organized they were. They are seriously a well-oiled machine and did not have one hiccup the entire time that we noticed.

How did you and your partner meet? Josh and I met on an online date website. I originally met him at Applebee’s for lunch which I was 30 minutes late because of a GPS issue. I finally made it and it was just so easy to talk to him. We ended up going to walk around the park which was nearby for about an hour or so. Later that night we went out to dinner and the Mavericks game. Josh had never been to a professional sporting event so it just made it even sweeter!

What made you select Southern Oaks Plantation as your wedding venue? We had read many reviews online plus when we were talking to the other vendors they raved about Southen Oaks. Once we drove up and walked in we both knew this is the place we wanted to get married!

What was your favorite moment of the night? Our favorite moment was when we were walking back down the aisle after we got married. They told us to stop at the fountain and BOOM goes the fireworks. That was a HUGE surprise. Both Josh and I were in awe how beautiful it was. And it didn’t stop there when Bobby picked us up in the Rolls Royce! Really made a big impact on the evening and it just got better from there!

Overall, they were amazing! I wouldn’t change anything they did.

In regards to other vendors, Andrew and Josh had rave reviews. “Ryan North was amazing! Pictures were on point! Our Cake from the Sweet Life Bakery was sooo good and moist and not dry at all!”

Was there a particular staff member at SOP that really stood out to you? Lauren! She was amazing from the first time we walked into the venue until the sending us on our way after the party! I cant thank her and the staff enough for making the night perfect!

What would you say to other Grooms considering Southern Oaks Plantation as their venue? Just relax and let them do their thing.  They know what they are doing and just let the evening go and ENJOY!

Photographer: North Photography

Florist: Fabulous Flowers

Tuxedo/Suit Shop: Menswear house

Videographer: North Photography

Bakery: Sweet Life

Bridal Spotlight – Shelita + Michael

Tell us about your engagement!
Every year we attend the Macy’s Tree Lighting in Union Square, San Francisco to kick-off our holidays.  Well this year, Michael upped the ante by surprising me and asking for my hand in marriage.  It was December 24, 2017 Christmas Eve and we were trying to cross the street to head over to the ceremony of lights.  While waiting I can hear the sound of the street musician playing Al Green, “Let’s Stay Together.” I did not pay any attention to what was actually going on, however I realized that Michael disappeared in the crowd.  Now, the light is green and it’s time to cross the street I turned around and did not see Michael next to or behind me, it is because he was down on one knee, smiling, cameras everywhere and asking me to be his wife, singing “Let’s Stay Together.”  I was very surprised, I cried, my heart is racing and my hands were shaking as he placed the ring on my finger.  I lifted him up and placed my face into his chest and I said yes.  The saxophone player is now queued to play, Maxwell’s “Pretty Wings.” The crowd is joyously filming and clapping for the both of us, just unimaginable, what a dream. I will never forget the unexplainable feeling and I will always cherish how he carefully orchestrated such a romantic way to ask me to become his wife.

In your opinion, what is the best characteristic of Southern Oaks Plantation?
The best characteristic of Southern Oaks Plantation is how picturesque it is. The space indoor and outdoor provides plenty of opportunities to capture great bridal photos. The interior of the space feels quaint yet grand. The interior colors, furnishings and light fixtures all richly complement each other. The exterior façade and color of the building is very breathtaking and romantic. The entire grounds are very well kept, it really feels like you are stepping into a fairytale.

What made you select Southern Oaks Plantation as your wedding venue?
My husband and I wanted to select a place that provided both the ceremony and reception at the same location.  We chose Southern Oaks, because they offered both and offer so many more transitional upgrades.  During our search we found that most wedding venues in New Orleans utilized the same space for the ceremony and the reception leaving nothing to the imagination for your guests.  Southern Oaks provided the total opposite and so much more.  I also wanted a traditional yet functional ambiance at the reception.  I did not want to see my guest sitting at round tables waiting to be served and forced to get up and dance.  My husband and I like to work the room at social events and we felt like having more of a social atmosphere works for our guests as well, and Southern Oaks offered this style which executed our vision perfectly.  The expansive New Orleans style menu, the enhancements and the impeccable service up to our wedding day just made every moment like reading a storybook with minimal effort.  My wedding planner, Ebony Pickettay said I was the calmest bride she had ever coordinated a wedding for.  I cannot take all the credit.  I owe it to Ebony and the great coordination of the staff at Southern Oaks.  I selected the perfect venue for a perfect day

What was your favorite moment of the night?
Our favorite moment was when we were escorted to a private room.  There we were greeted by our personal concierge to a table set for 2.  Once seated, the table was filled with all types of delicious cuisine in which our concierge graciously described each item to us.  Our glasses were filled with champagne and once they walked away, we prayed together and was able to take it all in as now Husband and Wife.  The moment was priceless.

What would you say to other brides considering Southern Oaks Plantation as their venue?
If you are looking for the perfect venue that provides exceptional service, great food and a magical evening, Southern Oaks is the place.  From the first phone call up to the last dance, Mr. Bobby and his gracious staff handled my guests and the entire wedding party like royalty.   Every question I had regarding my wedding was answered, this venue provides everything and they do not try to upsell you on items…If you are a destination bride, no worries, they even have items in house for you to use, that way you are not shipping a lot of what nots or just in case you forget something they already have it in their inventory at no charge to use.  There are no hidden fees, upcharges or surprises.  Well, the surprises are what your guests will experience.  My wedding was Magical, Grand and Royal.  Everything was smooth and effortless, the staff operates this place like a well-oiled machine.  There is no running around, no one is confused and you, the wedding party and family members are assigned a concierge that ensures your culinary/drink needs are met.  The Food:  It is not your typical wedding plate of chicken, fish or buffet.  This place provides a Taste of New Orleans, I mean your guest will not stop talking about what they ate, how good the food was and how much food was being passed.  Amazing flavors and a huge variety.  There is no waiting, once the reception starts the food is being passed, this style was great because it also eliminated the hassle of seating charts, open seating was also another reason I loved this place.  Enhancements:  I chose to have a New Orleans Style Brass Band, Horse and Carriage, Carving Station and Fireworks, which made it a very grand time, my guest were over-stimulated with surprises.

This place is gorgeous on the inside and outside, the pictures on their website are nice, however this place is much more impressive in person. Your guest can sit outside and enjoy the cafe tables around the pool where the music from inside is piping outside for their enjoyment. Your wedding at this place really raises the bar. Cut the Check!! 

 

Photographer: Kate Bunny Hampson, San Francisco

Florist:  Steve Baker, New Orleans

Dress Salon: Kingsley James

Tuxedo/Suit Shop:  Tuxedos2Geaux, New Orleans

Videographer: BHawk Videography

Planner: Ebony Pickettay, Addictive Events

Adding a Little Fun + Flair to Your Reception

One surefire way to keep your guests shaking their stuff on the dance floor? Endless dance tunes and favors they can use all night long! After all the necessary wedding dances have concluded, it’s time to crank up the music and play music you know your guests will love to dance to! At Southern Oaks, your playlist is custom and completely up to you – your own personal DJ is included in every single wedding package at no additional cost. Once your guests are cutting the rug, surprise them with a fun favor!

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Koozies are always a hot commodity these days. With a wide color selection and custom design options, it’s the perfect favor to commemorate your big day. Your guests will use your koozies for years to come and remember the fantastic time they had at your wedding!

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Another fun option to add some flair to the dance floor? Glow sticks! With the lights down low, your guests will love this addition! The glow sticks that double as necklaces and bracelets are the way to go! That way your guests have their hands free to hang on to their drinks and shake to the beat.

One final favor that will definitely keep the party going is sunglasses! There’s just something about slipping on a pair that brings out the dancing machines in your guests. Similar to koozies, the customization options are really great! You can even coordinate with your wedding colors and print your names & date on the side.

It’s time to get creative! Your guests will absolutely love whichever favors you choose!

Planning Your New Orleans Wedding at Southern Oaks Plantation

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A quintessential New Orleans wedding is an experience unlike any other. Whether you’re from the Crescent City or planning a destination wedding down south, Southern Oaks is here to make your Southern bash a grand affair.

We are the only plantation home located within 10 minutes of downtown New Orleans! Your guests can spend the day traipsing about the streets of the French Quarter, soaking up its magnificent history. Guests might even be interested in finding their own accommodations in the downtown area to really get the most out of their stay!

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While the magic of New Orleans shines year-round, one should be cautious of the city’s busiest event weekends as accommodations may be few and far between. While hosting a wedding during Mardi Gras may seem like the ultimate adventure, you should caution your guests to book accommodations far in advance. Other big weekends boast our beloved music festivals – most notably, Jazz Fest and VooDoo Music + Arts Experience.

To top off a magical weekend, you can send your guests home with a little New Orleans flair. Party favors are a fun way to incorporate some of our favorite New Orleans goodies into your wedding. If you’re a sweets fan, a little bag of pralines or Roman Candy is perfect! Or if you want to go the hot and spicy route, miniature bottles of hot sauce reign supreme. You could also send guests away with Café du Monde beignet mix or coffee grounds. The possibilities are endless!

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Now that’s how to make an entrance!

Here at Southern Oaks, we like to go above and beyond for our happy couples. You can read about some of our New Orleans inspired enhancements in our last blog post, but we have many more to tell you about. Nothing says “here comes the bride” quite like these enhancements!

No wedding is complete without its grand opening number! That’s why we have carefully curated several magnificent entrances for your big day. Whether you dream of a storybook entrance or an eye-popping display in the night sky, we’re here to make it happen!

Our first enhancement is straight out of a fairytale. Our brides can enter their ceremony on a horse-drawn Victoria Carriage, pulled by our very own Magic and Majestic! Your guests will surely turn their heads at the familiar sound of horses trotting down our drive! All eyes will be on you as you step off the carriage and begin your walk down the aisle.

If you prefer to ride in a different style, you may be interested in our 1956 Silver Cloud Limo. This option is perfect for the bride who wants a little flair but prefers to make her debut emerging from the limo at the end of the aisle.

For those looking for a musical debut, you can second-line your way into the ceremony with a traditional New Orleans Jazz Band! This is sure to put your guests in a dancing mood that will carry over onto our ballroom dance floor.

The final enhancement is sure to start your wedding off with a bang! You guessed it, fireworks!! It’s definitely a “go big or go home” affair here at Southern Oaks. We’ll light up the night sky with a fireworks package that will make your jaw drop! Not to mention it makes for a stunning photo backdrop.

Can’t decide between our grand entrances? Who says you have to? We can mix and match any of our enhancements to make an entrance you will never forget. Give us a call today to get started on planning your big day!

New Orleans Inspired Enhancements

We’re sure you’ve all heard Bob Dylan’s homage to our city: “There are a lot of places I like, but I like New Orleans better.” We’re lucky to be in a city unlike any other and because of that, we like to celebrate with some of the Big Easy’s greatest traditions on your big day. We offer many enhancement packages that give a nod to what makes New Orleans so unique.

In the hotter months, it seems you can’t walk a few blocks without noticing someone carrying a colorfully-hued icy treat. For couples who want to add something sweet to their reception, we offer a Snowball Stand enhancement! There’s nothing better than taking a break from tearing it up on the dance floor with your favorite snowball flavor. It’s sure to be a crowd pleaser on your big day!

World Famous Cafe du Monde

Speaking of sweet treats, you can’t fully experience New Orleans without beignets! We are so honored to offer the Café Du Monde Beignet Truck enhancement to our couples. Whether you’re from New Orleans or just visiting, it’s a long-standing tradition that can’t be missed.

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Another Southern staple for our foodie couples is Drago’s Charbroiled Oysters. An oyster stand is a popular choice at Southern weddings. Trust us when we say your guests will be coming back for more! Another New Orleans must-have is a Lucky Dog! There’s nothing more fun than the Lucky Dog Stand at your wedding. The iconic hot dog shaped cart is an instant hit and it sure does make for a great photo opp!

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Finally, the icing on the cake for a quintessential New Orleans experience… a Mardi Gras-style Parade! We’re lucky enough to live in a city that throws one of the biggest parties of the year, and we love to celebrate it! No matter the date, you can have a slice of the Mardi Gras fun year-round. Grab your beads and second-line umbrellas and get ready for the time of your life!!

The Southern Oaks Experience

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There are many things that set Southern Oaks apart from other venues in New Orleans. Our grand façade is recognized near and far, and our storied grounds have been featured on The Knot, Style Me Pretty and many more. But what makes the Southern Oaks experience different from the rest? We’re the whole package!

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We’re here to help you create the event of a lifetime – one you and your loved ones won’t soon forget. That’s why we offer so much in our event package and such a wide list of excellent enhancements to boot! Our façade is the perfect backdrop for your ceremony. The Spanish moss adorning the oak trees on our sprawling front lawn and beautiful landscaping is all the décor you need!

Our ballroom is perfect for any style. We offer Chiavari chairs, tables and neutral-colored linens that match any style. We also offer custom ambient lighting for the cake setting, lounge and ballroom areas. To top it all off, all of our tables are adorned with chic candle-lit centerpieces. Music? We have that covered too! We have a built-in sound system and DJ, with music personalized to each event!

We are here to make sure the happy couple has everything they need on their big day. We offer professional coordination of every element and detail, and personal attendants to assist the couple and parents throughout the celebration.

For couples wanting to add a little more flair to their day, our enhancements are not-to-miss! Stay tuned for our next blog post, where we break down some of our New Orleans inspired enhancements!

 

First Look

To First-Look or Not to First-Look?

While the debate between first-lookers and non-first-lookers is a hot topic, there are certainly pros and cons to each. Whether you choose the former or the later, everyone at Southern Oaks is here to make your day a magical one!

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Couples who stick to not seeing each other before their ceremony want to keep with tradition or believe in the bad-luck superstition. We can certainly agree that there is beautiful emotion to be captured when couples see each other for the first time walking down the aisle. Just thinking about our grooms welling up at the sight of their brides brings happy tears to our eyes. If you’re a traditionalist and not pained by the thought of cutting into your reception time, opting out of a first-look is the route for you.

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On the other hand, if you’re a move-busting couple, doing a first-look is definitely the way to go. One of the main reasons couples are opting for a first-look is to cut down the time between the ceremony and reception. All of the main photos can be taken before the ceremony, so you can get straight to the party after your “I do’s!” A first-look at Southern Oaks is also a great opportunity to take advantage of our sprawling grounds and areas that aren’t commonly photographed! We have so many gorgeous spots that would make for a perfect first-look backdrop. We’d be happy to show you some of our favorites during your tour!

 

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Another little-known option is an “adventure session” the day after your wedding. If you have some time to spare between your ceremony day and leaving on your honeymoon, this is a great option for those couples who want to stick to tradition, be the life of the party, and get wonderful photos to boot. The idea is simple: get all dressed up one more time, head back to Southern Oaks with just the two of you (and your photographer of course) and take beautiful intimate shots without the stress of a timeline!

 

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