Southern Living insider and Executive Director Kristen Payne will visit The Willcox on Saturday to share ideas and advice on how to have the perfect Southern wedding.

The Willcox was recently added to the 2014 Condé Nast Traveler magazine Gold List – “The Best Hotels in the World.”

The Aiken establishment received a rating of 95.2 and was also named No. 4 in the magazine's category, The South, as one of the top hotels.

Rooms 93.6

Service 96.5

Food 95.2

Location 96.5

Design 94.1

Activities N/A

Each candidate is rated on a five-point scale – excellent, very good, good, fair and poor.

The Willcox awarded high score

One of the largest Southern lifestyle publications in the U.S., Southern Living encompasses four major pillars – food, travel, home and garden, said Tina McCarthy, general manager at The Willcox.

And now the company will launch its fifth pillar – weddings.

“They have a huge readership of over 16 million readers; my grandmother used to get Southern Living,” McCarthy said. “These sessions will be geared toward the latest trends in Southern entertainment and what makes a Southern Living wedding.”

Located at 100 Colleton Ave., The Willcox will host several wedding vendors for free to the public. Vendors include Dianna Tornow Cakes, pianist John Vaughan and All Star Tents & Events. At noon, Payne will discuss what makes a Southern Living wedding, including a light lunch and wine for $35 per person.

From 1 to 4 p.m., The Willcox will host a mix and mingle to learn more about The Willcox Wedding Sweepstakes – a wedding giveaway package for the chance to win $35,000 for 100 guests during an intimate event which includes all the ins and outs for the ceremony, reception and extras.

To cap off the afternoon, at 4 p.m., Payne will speak about the latest trends in Southern entertaining. The talk will include cocktails and hors d' oeuvres for $35 per person.

“This is a really special event, and we hope everyone can come out, even if its just for the vendors in the lobby,” McCarthy said. “The event will be great to see new ideas and trends, fashion food and ways to make a wedding or cocktail, or even a holiday party a very special event.”

To request a reservation, call 803-648-1898. Limited seating available.

For more information about The Willcox, visit

For more information about The Willcox Wedding Sweepstakes, visit

Maayan Schechter is the city beat reporter with Aiken Standard. An Atlanta native, she has a mass communications-journalism degree from the University of North Carolina Asheville. Follow her on Twitter @MaayanSchechter.