Photography by Adam + Alli Photography
Dresses by Imaginations Bridal
Hair, Makeup & Adornment by Molly Gee Designs
Car by Way Back in Time

A Winter wedding can be simply magical!  Today, we are thrilled to share our Classic Dress Inspiration photo shoot from Inspiration Mississippi Magazine.  These feminine dresses adorned with lace, pearls and crystals will have you craving a wintry affair.
{Blog by Mitchell Walters}
{Bride}  Dafni LeFlore
{Groom} Karl Calender
{Hometowns} Brandon, MS and Flowood, MS
{Wedding Site} The South – Jackson, MS
{Reception Site} The South – Jackson, MS
{Bride’s Bouquet} white hydrangea, white mini callas, white Eskimo roses
{Bridesmaid Bouquets} white hydrangea, white mini callas, white Eskimo roses

{How did the two of you meet?} We first met in middle school, 6th grade. We have dated since our senior year of High School and were college sweethearts at Jackson State.

{What is your proposal story?} After viewing the lights on the square in Canton, we arrived home and settled in for the night.  He was in another room and texted me asking me to come where he was.  That’s where I found him in the living room on one knee with the ring.  It was a complete surprise, but an awesome Christmas present.

{What inspired your wedding and reception locations?} Our wedding had a “Classic Romance” inspired theme, so we wanted a venue that encompassed the theme in itself.  The setting of The South was romantic and enchanting.  The low lighting made the environment majestic and provided the exact feel that we were looking for.  Being able to have the wedding and reception in one space was a plus for us as well, as we wanted to provide that convenience to our guests.

{What inspired your color scheme/theme/flowers?} As our wedding had a “Classic Romance” inspired theme, black and white felt like the best representation of everything classical.  We liked the simplicity of the idea.

{How did you pick “the dress?”} I had dreamt of the day that I would get married so I knew I wanted my dress to show off my figure and make a statement.  I felt the material complimented our theme and I thought the simplicity of it made it beautiful and classic.

{What was your favorite part of the wedding planning process?}I enjoyed seeing my vision become a reality.  It was a remarkable feeling seeing how my dream wedding was formed all out of my pure thoughts and creativity.

{Besides the actual wedding, what was your favorite moment of the wedding day?} Our favorite moment was our individual serenades by the bride’s sorority and the groom’s fraternity and the party stroll to follow.

{What was your favorite surprise detail/moment about your wedding day?} Our favorite moment was our dances with our parents.  It became more of a dance competition with the bride’s dad and the groom’s mom.

Photographer: Carlyn Photography
Event Planner: Dafni Calender
Dress: Alfred Angelo
Bride’s Jewelry: Charming Charles
Hair: Ufancii Beauty Bar
Make-up: Fab Faces by Amber Nicole
Bridesmaid Dresses: Alfred Angelo
Tuxes: Tuxedo Junction
Videographer: NA
Venue: The South
Lighting: Davaine Lighting
Rentals: NA
Florist: FreshCut Catering and Florals
Catering: FreshCut Catering and Florals
Bar: Upscale Bartending Service
Band: NA
Bride’s Cake: Cakes by Iris
Groom’s Cake: NA
Print Material: Magnet Street
Car Service: NA
This evening, two baseball teams will set aside their fierce rivalry and play a game in memory of a remarkable teenager.  At 6:00pm, the Prep Patriots and Jackson Academy Raiders will meet on the Patriot Field at Jackson Prep for the Walker Wilbanks Legacy Game, celebrating the late Prep student.  All proceeds will benefit the Walker Wilbanks Scholarship Fund.  We encourage everyone in the Jackson area to attend this game and honor the life of an incredible young man. 

Inspiration Mississippi Magazine chose Walker Wilbanks as our Most Inspirational Mississippian.  He has inspired us, and we know his life will inspire you.  Today, we share with you the article from Inspiration Mississippi.  A special thanks to his family, coaches and friends for sharing their laughter, tears and precious memories of Walker Wilbanks with us.
Most Inspirational Mississippian: Walker Wilbanks
Walker Wilbanks stood out.  He had a fetching head full of thick red hair, honest blue eyes and a face filled with endearing freckles.  Much like Saul in 1 Samuel, verse 9, he was “A handsome young man.  There was none finer – he literally stood head and shoulders above the crowd.” Walker was a teenage boy with an extraordinary heart.    

An easygoing, sweet guy, Walker enjoyed camping, deep-sea fishing, and cooking up fiercely competitive Ping-Pong matches against his little brother, Landon.  Only two years his senior, Walker and Landon were extremely close and Landon looked to his big brother for laughs and advice.  Walker was an active member in the youth group at First Baptist Church, and enjoyed fellowship with friends at a weekly Bible study.
He was also a loving and devoted son to his parents, Sheila and David.  Sheila reflects, “Walker was not perfect, but he always tried to do the right thing.  He loved playing sports, he loved hanging out with his friends, he loved to laugh and he loved his family.  He had a ‘driven’ spirit when it came to sports, but a ‘gentle’ spirit in everyday life.”

Walker was a remarkably talented baseball and football player and was fired up about the first game of Jackson Prep’s 2014 football season.  Prep’s head football coach, Ricky Black says, “Walker’s attitude was so contagious that adults and other students enjoyed his presence and his friendship.  Walker's athletic attitude was motivated by trust.... you could trust him to do his job and he had trust in others to do their job. It was my great pleasure to coach Walker Wilbanks, #65.”  On August 22nd, after playing aggressively during the first half, Walker suddenly fell ill.  From the stands, his close friend Ashley O’Mara noticed he had been helped to the bench.  “The sideline doctors were surrounding him.  If it had been any other football player I may have not been as astonished, but number 65 belonged to my beloved friend, Walker Wilbanks, a fighter.” 
Walker fought for three days until he slipped peacefully into eternity.  News of his passing shook the city of Jackson, and hundreds of students overwhelmed his family with prayers and support.  Area schools held prayer vigils and Prep’s rival, Jackson Academy, emblazoned their football helmets with the number 65.  Sheila says, “In the hospital I was in complete and total shock.  I remember being thankful and amazed when I saw all of the kids in the waiting room.  They loved my son and that made me feel so good.” 
Sheila adds, “Walker was so compassionate.  He was sweet and loving and would do anything for a friend.”  Or even a stranger.  When Walker obtained his driver’s license, he was determined to be an organ donor. “He was really giving.  Why would he not donate his organs if they were perfectly good?” says Sheila.  Walker gave the ultimate gift to many people.  
“When I received the letter telling me where his organs went, I cried and cried.  Happy and sad tears mixed together,” says Sheila.  He saved five lives with his heart, liver, pancreas, kidneys and lungs.  Walker’s tender heart is miraculously beating strongly in another’s teen’s body.  Upon hearing the news, Landon tweeted, “Walker’s heart is going to save a 14-year-old boy.  Dang, that’s awesome.”
Ashley says sweetly,  “I now have my own personal guardian angel.  Walker taught me to never take anything for granted and to appreciate the days that I have on earth with my loved ones…Walker Wilbanks, the red-headed boy who will never be forgotten, made me a better person.” 
Before his funeral, Walker’s treasured friends and pallbearers were asked to describe him in one word.  Compliments poured out: funny, happy, laid back, loyal, strong, and a great friend. There truly was none finer; Walker stood head and shoulders above the crowd.  Thank you, Walker, for reminding us to play hard, have faith, and love one another. 
{Blog by Mitchell Walters}
Hollywood's brightest stars will gather together this Sunday for the 87th annual Academy Awards.

While the splendor of the evening is enticing, when you strip away the designer gowns, layers of diamonds, makeup and glitz of the Oscars, you simply have brilliant films that deserve to be celebrated. 
With the Oscars tonight, our thoughts have naturally turned to the many amazing pictures filmed right here in Mississippi.   Thanks to the Mississippi Film Office, major motion pictures, documentaries and reality shows are constantly being filmed around the state.  The Mississippi Film Office assists with everything from the initial contact to the wrapping of a movie or program.

We had the pleasure of speaking with Ward Emling from the Mississippi Film Office.  Check out our interview below, featuring the birth of the Film Office, notable movies filmed in our state, and the history between Mississippi and the Oscars:

How did the Mississippi Film Office get started?   How long have you been in business?
The film office was created on January 17, 1973.  It was one of the first three film commissions in the world. (Colorado, Mississippi, Georgia)   It was created by Charles Allen, then head of the Mississippi A & I Board, our economic development agency.  The first two films it brought in were Thieves Like Us and The Musical Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
(The Clarion Ledger)
Tell me some of the films you have worked with over the last couple of years, and how you have helped them?
We support all films that come to Mississippi in one way or another: scouting locations, finding cast and crew, coordinating with local municipalities, etc.  We also administer the application process for the Mississippi Motion Picture Incentive Program.  (A 25% - 35% cash rebate for in state spend and resident and non-resident payroll.) 
Big films over the last several years include:  O Brother, Where Art Thou?,  The Help, Get On Up, The Hollars.  Last year was our biggest year ever:
Get On Up, Midnight Special (partial), Mississippi Grind (partial), Big Bad, The Gift (short), A Gift Horse, The Hollars, Impact Earth, The Livingston Gardener, By Way Of Helena, Worry Dolls, Dixieland, Olivia Martha Ilse (short), Battlecreek, Life At These Speeds, Same Kind Of Different As Me, Texas Heart, The Race of a Lifetime
    Reality programming
Swamp Hunters, Bring It!, The Primary Election, Local News, Party Down South, Mississippi Snake Grabbers
    Documentary programmingFive V Men Live, Gulf South Outdoors, Honey Brake Experience, Ducks Unlimited Television, St. Joe High:  Giant Killers, Y’all vs. Us
Why do you think it is important for films to be shot in Mississippi?
Film production provides broad based economic impact:  from salaries for cast, extras and crew; to production specific support; from car rentals and groceries to dry cleaners and building materials to hotels and restaurants to office equipment and utilities… They also offer opportunity to individuals to be a part of the film industry for a day or for a lifetime. 

Let's talk Oscars.  Are there any Mississippi connections with the Oscars this year?                                              
One, rather obscure connection:  Danielle Brisbois, who is nominated for Best Song from Begin Again, made her film debut in a film made here in 1975 called The Premonition.  Also, Begin Again was produced by Jacksonian Tom Rice.
(The Hollars - Production Still)
Any past winners connected with Mississippi we should recall?
Morgan Freeman, Octavia Spencer (The Help)

I think Mississippi Burning, The Insider, Walk The Line, and The Help have received the most nominations of films made (in whole or in part) in Mississippi.  Also, The Reivers and Ghosts of Mississippi received nominations.
Thank you, Ward, for bringing such incredible films to our state!  For more information on the Mississippi Film Office, please visit their website here
{Blog by Mitchell Walters}
“The Oxford Film Festival represents the best of independent filmmaking: camaraderie, support, and enthusiasm for independent cinema.  The directors go out of their way to make filmmakers feel appreciated.  I love what OFF has done for Oxford, and I'm honored to be a part of it.”

Filmmaker and Oxford Resident, Meaghin Burke
Oxford, Mississippi is a town that completely embraces, cultivates and celebrates the arts.  The small, charming city has been home to the Oxford Film Festival for over twelve years, screening innovative films from Mississippi and beyond. “Because Oxford is an arts town, film is a natural addition and avenue to story telling,” says Melanie Addington, Development Director of the Film Festival.
This year, films will be screened from February 26 through March 1.  The event is ticketed and open to the public!  Melanie says, “We have an array of experimental, animation, music videos, narrative and documentary.  There are films from Mississippi and from here in Oxford and they have a special award category.  We also have some spotlight films including The Last Time You Had Fun starring Mary Elizabeth Ellis and the Sound and the Fury with James Franco.”
Meaghin Burke is one of the Oxford residents generating buzz with her new film, Garage Sale.  “It is a quiet little film about what it means to be a family and how sometimes the only way through our grief is forward,” says Meaghin. 

Meaghin has participated in the Oxford Film Festival for the past six years.  “For two years I volunteered.  I sold t-shirts and coordinated volunteers.  Then I auditioned and got a part in the 2012 community film, The Show Must Go On, directed by Matthew Graves.  That experience got me hooked on filmmaking,” admits Meaghin.  “By the next year I had directed a short 90-second film (Palindrome) that was included in the festival.” 
In 2014, Meaghin was asked to direct a community film entitled Killer Kudzu.  “Directing that film was so much fun!  We got to involve a ton of folks from the community, and I was really proud of the result.”  Meaghin also had a short documentary in last year’s festival, and her husband had a film in the festival as well! 

The Oxford Film Festival is an extraordinary gift to the community, local writers, producers, actors and filmmakers.  To view a full schedule of Oxford Film Festival events, please click here!
{Blog by Mitchell Walters}
{Bride}  Chelsea Leigh Cawthon
{Groom} Gregory Joseph White
{Hometowns} Bride (Hattiesburg, MS) & Groom (Tupelo, MS)
{Wedding Site} Parkway Heights United Methodist Church Hattiesburg MS
{Reception Site} The Barn at Bridlewood Hattiesburg, MS

{Bride’s Bouquet} A combination of white hydrangeas, white blizzard roses, pale pink peonies, and white mini tulips tied together with a satin ribbon love knot

{Bridesmaid Bouquets} A combination of white hydrangeas, white blizzard roses, pale pink roses, champagne spray roses and larkspur

{How did the two of you meet?} We met in Starkville, MS while both of us attended Mississippi State University.

{What is your proposal story?} Leading up to February 8, 2014, Greg purchased tickets for the women of the family to go see Wicked at Memphis' Orpheum Theater while my parents were in town. We went to dinner where Greg had originally planned on popping the question, but time ran out and the ladies had to leave to catch the play. Greg decided, while we were at the play, to have everyone meet at the famous Peabody Hotel for a nightcap after the show. Moments upon arriving, I suggested that we leave due to the unusual amount of people there that night, but Greg insisted we stay and enjoy the company. While getting a table and waiting on desserts, Greg asked me to go browse the selection of Yankees cufflinks that he had been eyeing. Reluctantly, I agreed. Moments later, heading back to our table, just in front of the famous fountain, Greg reached for my hand. Before I knew it, he was on bended knee asking me to marry him in front of hundreds of strangers!

{What inspired your wedding and reception locations?} We chose the wedding venue, Parkway Heights, because of its classic look. The stained glass backdrop is just breathtaking against all of the stained wood! As far as the reception goes, I knew I wanted something unique and romantic. Luckily, The Barn at Bridlewood fell into our hands at just the right time. Tori and Nathan Banks who created the gorgeous venue are family friends, so we knew that was the place as soon as the opening announcement was made.

{What inspired your color scheme/theme/flowers?} From the start of wedding planning, I knew I wanted my wedding to be timeless, but with a romantic feel. I actually didn’t decide on colors until we found the bridesmaid dresses! We went with blush dresses, and had gold accented throughout the reception.

{How did you pick “the dress”?} I brought my mom, Greg’s mom, my matron of honor and one of my bridesmaids with me to Low’s Bridal in Arkansas. Overall, I tried to be really open minded walking into the bridal salon. I knew I loved lace, but sleeves were always in the back of my mind. My mom was completely shocked when I chose a full gown with sleeves, but we all knew it was “the one” as soon as I put it on!

{What’s your favorite unique accessory? Is there a story behind it?} I actually had two very meaningful accessories with me. I wore my mom’s “something blue” garter from her and my dad’s wedding 30 years ago and I also wore my grandmother’s diamond tennis bracelet.

{What was your favorite part of the wedding planning process?} I loved being able to finally bring all of my ideas together! I think every girl goes through the phase of wondering what her wedding will be like so having that moment with my groom was so surreal.

{Besides the actual wedding, what was your favorite moment of the wedding day?} Hands down, Greg and I loved our moment alone after the ceremony. We were fortunate enough to have a classic car to drive from the ceremony to the reception together in. We had the best time riding down Highway 98 getting congratulations from strangers rolling their windows down and taking our picture!

{What was your favorite surprise detail/moment about your wedding day?} I think we were both just overwhelmed with how many people came to show their support for us. We are truly blessed to have such amazing family and friends.

{Your favorite picture from the big day?} I can’t say that I have just one favorite picture! Katie captured so many special moments that I will remember forever.

{The picture that represents the two of you best?} There is a picture of us in the balcony just after the ceremony where we are holding each other and laughing. I think that picture says it all and definitely represents our relationship together. I thank God every day for bringing Greg into my life!

Photographer: Mary Moment Photography
Wedding Coordinator: Susan Jett
Dress: Low’s Bridal
Bride’s Accessories: Low’s Bridal
Hair: The Abbey Salon
Make-up: The Abbey Salon
Bridesmaid Dresses: Bella Bridesmaid Memphis
Tuxes: Men’s Warehouse
Church: Parkway Heights United Methodist Church
Venue: The Barn at Bridlewood
Rentals: Celebrations, Etc.
Florist: Julia Johnson
Catering: Dianne Morgan Catering
Bar: Dianne Morgan Catering
Band: The Royal Dukes
Bride’s Cake: Cakes by Janice
Groom’s Cake: Cakes by Janice
Print Material: Bourne Brothers Printing
Car Service: Knight Coach, Inc.
Today, we are thrilled to feature Carlyn Photography.  Specializing in breathtaking, modern images, Carlyn Photography brings a unique style of photojournalism to Mississippi.

We had the pleasure of interviewing the married team behind Carlyn Photography, Derrick and Carlyn.  We hope you enjoy their lovely photos, the history behind their business, how they capture magical moments, and what they love about living and working in Mississippi:

Tell me how Carlyn Photography was founded! 
Carlyn Photography was founded in 2009, two years after we were married. Derrick had been a serious hobbyist since for approximately five years at that time, having also served as the Public Affairs Officer during his latest tour of duty in Iraq.

When we were planning our wedding, Carlyn was very specific about the type of wedding photography she wanted, and at the time, we couldn't quite find a photographer that was a perfect fit, so we settled on a photographer and that was it. 

It was after that when Derrick decided he wanted to get into wedding photography, specifically, and bring his style of photojournalism to the market in the Jackson area - to fill that void experienced by brides like Carlyn. It turned out to be the perfect marriage of photojournalism and portraiture. Derrick always says everyone deserves beautiful wedding imagery - that they shouldn't have to settle - and he designs his packages to capture something for brides of every budget.

Your photography is magical.  How do you capture such special moments for a bride and groom?                                                                                                      
Capture real moments and emotions. Timing is very important and being there at the right time to capture the chemistry and watch the magic happen. 

What is your favorite thing about being based in Mississippi?
Southern Brides have a style distinctively southern and fresh. There's also so much versatility in what and where you can shoot. With a 15-minute drive you can go from a very urban feel to a very rustic and rural feel for your imagery.  

Mississippi is like no other place, and I've been in several different places. It's the people who make it a great place. Everyone is like family and you never meet a stranger. The care is genuine, the interactions are genuine, and the hospitality is superb.

What is so special about working with a bride and groom on their wedding day?                                                                                                                                      
Being entrusted to capture one of the most important days of their lives as a couple. Documenting their special day through my eyes and artistry. By the time our couples reach their wedding day, we have built such a rapport with them that they feel like family. So, seeing these people we've come to know and love over the course of a year or six months or so commit themselves to each other is special to us as well. 

Any favorite memories from shooting a wedding? 
There is a couple who immediately comes to mind. We were covering the first dance part of the reception. The groom's father and mother were divorced and his father had remarried. During the Father/Daughter Mother/Son dance, the mother stopped mid dance and invited the Stepmother to join the Groom on the dance floor for the remainder of the song. It was a complete surprise to both the Groom and the Stepmother, you could tell from their facial expressions. It was such an unselfish gesture of love and acceptance and unity of family. There weren't many dry eyes in the venue after that moment.   

Any advice for someone searching for the right wedding photographer?
First and foremost, make sure it is their work and artistry that brings you to them. The best couple/photographer relationship is one where the couple absolutely loves the work, because they exhibit a level of trust and comfort that is important in capturing great imagery. It's very important to make sure they are a good fit. Treat the consultation like a job interview. Think about what is most important to you as a couple and look for that in what the potential photographer has to offer.  

Anything else you want to highlight?
Thank you to the team at Inspiration Mississippi for the opportunity to share a little bit about Carlyn Photography with your readers and blog subscribers.

For more information about Carlyn Photography, please visit their beautiful website here!
{Photos by Carlyn Photography & Blog by Mitchell Walters}
Brothers and sisters in Christ, let love challenge you!  Your love is not limited.  Your love cannot be spoiled, misspent, or wasted.  In preparing to celebrate Valentine’s Day, profess your love to the world.  The funny thing about love is that out on the edges of who we are in Christ, we experience a tension, of sorts.  That tension is the struggle between the reality that our love knows no bounds and the fear and insecurity of not being loved in return.  But the truth is that we are loved.  We are loved by the Father, who perfectly expressed His love for us in the form of His Son, Jesus Christ.  In your expressions of love and compassion, you will find that the tension actually comes from the attempts we make to contain the love that now exists in us.

On Valentine’s Day, as you hear and say and think the word LOVE, move beyond who your fear defines you to be.  Move beyond that tension that exists on your outer edges.  Move to love someone who least expects it; who may need it in the most desperate ways.  Love through presence, service, attention, and compassion.  Love sacrificially and feel yourself being refreshed and refilled by the endless resources of the Holy Spirit.  

Many people dread Valentine’s Day because they do not have a “significant” other.  We are all surrounded by significant people who want to feel our love.  It does not matter your age or your station in life – you can make some handmade cards to brighten the day for a recent widow, someone who is about to spend their tenth Valentine’s Day in a nursing home, a soldier’s wife who’s husband is deployed, someone going through chemo or someone who just celebrated the birth of their first child.  There are so many people in our lives who we can share love with.  Don’t avoid this day.  Embrace it. 

7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

{Photos Courtesy of Mary Moment Photography}
{Blog by Heath Ferguson}
Mark your calendars!  On Thursday, February 26, Inspiration Mississippi will be hosting an extraordinary Get Inspired event at SKIN the Spa at Runnels Center in Jackson!  From 4-6pm, we invite you to a memorable evening of pampering, relaxation and rejuvenation with friends, thanks to the following vendors: 

SKIN the Spa at Runnels Center - Participants will have the opportunity to talk one-on-one with aestheticians about their skincare routine and treatments. A Neocutis representative will be on site to discuss new products and how they work!  SKIN the Makeup consultants will also available, offering tips for Spring Makeup trends.

Babalu/Table 100 Catering - Guests will sample delectable appetizers and sweet treats from this impressive catering company.  

Christina Foto - Talented photographer Christina Cannon will be at SKIN snapping beautifully artistic photos (her signature style) and discussing photo packages.

This event is only open to the first 20 people who register!   SWAG bags filled with incredible goodies will be given away.  Call your girlfriends and click here to sign up for a fun, unforgettable evening!

Our January Get Inspired event at Banner Hall was a great success thanks to all of the guests and vendors who participated!  Adam + Alli Photography captured lovely moments throughout the night.  Thank you to everyone who helped make our Get Inspired event an evening to remember!
{Photo Courtesy of Adam + Alli Photography}
Valentine’s Day is the perfect excuse to celebrate your dearest friendships.  This February 14, gather your best girlfriends, enjoy sweet treats and surprise your guests with delightful gifts. 

With a beautifully simple tablescape and neutral furnishings, let the holiday shine in lovely shades of pink and red, and a touch of gold glitter, of course! 
A special thank you to the vendors involved in this fun photo shoot:

Bliss Gift & Home for the perfect Valentine’s Day presents
Fresh Cut Catering and Floral for the pretty floral arrangements and sweet treats
Modern Revival Rentals for the gorgeous furniture
Maison Weiss for the beautiful clothing, jewelry and makeup
Christina Foto for the incredible photographs
Inspiration Mississippi for the lovely location
{Blog by Mitchell Walters}