Y’all, I could read Caroline + Chaz’s wedding interview over and over again. I don’t believe there is a single part of their wedding that wasn’t inspired by their relationship, their past or their shared loves. The best part is that my first impression of this wedding (pure fun and sweet love) is one that hasn’t been dulled by time. If C + C’s wedding morning kickball game doesn’t convince you of that, nothing will! “One thing that we both wanted was to spend as much time as possible together on our wedding day,” said Caroline. “We also had many people from out of town that we wanted to spend time with, so Chaz’s proposed that we play kickball the morning of our wedding. I can’t tell you how many people asked me ‘Are you crazy?!’ Yes, definitely. But we had a crazy fun time!”
Don’t forget to scroll down and read about how C + C found their wedding rings! It makes me cry every time. Giant hugs for Jamie Clayton who shot this wedding!
Briefly describe your wedding flowers: I was planning on ordering all of the flowers wholesale and then putting together the bouquets and boutonnieres the day of. My sister interned with a floral and design company in Knoxville during her time at the University of Tennessee and she keeps up with the owner. One day they were on the phone and Leah, the florist, was saying that she really needed some graphic design work done and would love to get in the Nashville market. Kristen told her that I’m a graphic designer and still need a florist. We ended up chatting and bartering our services! It was such a wonderful arrangement! We stuck with the color scheme of mustard and white for the flowers. I loved our florist, and I basically left it up to her! She used lots of herbs, daisies and billy balls (which I LOVE!). Since we got married in the garden, there was hardly a need for flowers or decoration. There were about one hundred blooming historical white hydrangea bushes surrounding us. We put hanging mason jars lining the aisle with the same white and yellow flowers. My bouquet was very lush and full of stock, ranunculus, yellow garden roses, billy balls, chamomile, Queen Anne’s lace, and lisianthus. The stems were partly covered in burlap and then a vintage-inspired cream ribbon tied in a bow. One special part of the boutonnieres is that I made paper flowers out of an old Bible we had and my grandmother’s antique buttons. I chose to use pages from the book of Acts because it is Chaz’s favorite book of the Bible, so what better way to adorn his best friends? It was also made up of herbs and billy balls.
Tell me all the basics of your wedding! We got married at half past six on June 16, 2012 in the historic town of Franklin, Tennessee, just south of Nashville. Our venue was Carnton Plantation. It is special to us because we knew we wanted to get married in Nashville because that’s where I’m from, and I’ve always envisioned getting married close to home. To us, time with each other and the people we love was most important to us, so we looked for a venue that could host both the wedding and reception so we wouldn’t lose time with travel in between venues. More than anything, we wanted our wedding to reflect our personalities and who we are as a couple. When we went to Carnton, I knew it was the perfect place because the door and shutters were the exact same deep muted sea foam! It was meant to be! The plantation home and gardens at Carnton Plantation are so beautiful that we hardly had to add any decorations at all. It was a laidback and Southern atmosphere that perfectly reflected us!
Three adjectives that describe the day are: Authentic, spirited, and adventurous.
How many guests attended your wedding? We had a little over two hundred people at the wedding.
What was the design inspiration for your wedding? We didn’t really look at many places for inspiration. We wanted the design to reflect each of our personalities and our joint personality as a couple. We’re pretty laid back, casual, and eclectic, and we tried to reflect that.
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. Finding my wedding dress was such a special experience. It was the very first thing we did in planning the wedding. We picked a weekend in May that Chaz’s mom and grandmother could come up and go shopping with us. I had three pictures on my phone to show examples of what I was looking for. I tried on a lot of different dresses, and then finally I found one I really liked. I wasn’t entirely sold, mainly because it was stark white, but it was definitely my favorite dress I tried on at this first store. When I got back to my phone, we realized it was the dress I showed the woman helping me! It was meant to be! We went to another bridal shop in Nashville and yet again, I tried on a bunch of dresses. We found the favorite from the other store, but this time the sample dress was in ivory. We spruced it up with accessories and I came out and stood on the pedestal. When I noticed that there were pockets, I was sold! For the rehearsal, I got the opportunity of doing something special for my mom. While we were looking for dresses, my mom kept telling me, “Caroline, my dress looks a lot like this….” All I could think about was this one wedding picture of theirs where the lace came all the way up to her neck and she had enormous puff sleeves. I mean, it was the 80’s! I disregarded her comments and bought my beautiful dress. Later, mom brought out her dress just to see it again. She showed it to me, and we realized that with some manipulation this could really be perfect! I tried it on, and it surprisingly fit like a glove! I took off the puff sleeves and sewed the lace onto the bodice. I loved this new dress! Since we already bought my dress, I decided it would be so special to wear this to the rehearsal. I was waiting by the altar when Chaz walked up with his eyes closed. He opened, and he was SO surprised and happy I could wear my mom’s dress. I’m so glad I got to do something that was so meaningful to her and my dad.
Matching yellow bow ties all around! I love it.
My absolute favorite design element of our big day was the bunting. While sitting there and tracing the triangles, cutting them out, cutting holes, and stringing it wasn’t the most fun thing my mom and I have ever done, I LOVED the way it turned out! We decided to have it behind the altar, and I love the way the pictures of our ceremony look! We put the bunting so many places: behind the guest book table, around the cake table, behind the biscuit bar table. I think it looked so great and it reminds me of our fun, casual personalities!
Tell me a bit about the wedding ceremony. We had a pretty typical wedding ceremony. We knew we wanted it to be short and sweet. We loved how well our pastor made connections between a wedding ceremony and the Gospel. One of my good friends, Clark read scripture that’s typical of a wedding, 1 Corinthians 13, but it meant so much to me and my family because we memorized that chapter as a family when I was little.
Who participated in your ceremony? Since I’m a musician, I knew that I had to have someone I really trusted to do the music. I led worship at a church in Athens, Georgia with a good friend who also produced my album, Paul Reeves. I knew without a shadow of a doubt that he had to sing and play. The most emotional song he played was when I came down the aisle. It was “You’re Beautiful” by Phil Whickham. Paul’s precious little boy Thatcher was the ring bearer and his daughter Peyton was the flower girl. They walked in at the beginning of the song, and I was totally composed, surprisingly. But then they did SUCH a great job! I was so proud of them that I lost it! It didn’t help that I walked down the aisle to the most beautiful, emotional lyrics of the song “When we arrive at eternity’s shore, where death is just a memory and tears are no more. We’ll enter in as the wedding bells ring. Your bride will come together and we’ll sing… You’re beautiful.” Also, we had our wedding party pray over us during the wedding, which was really special.
How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. In the summer of 2009, I was spending my summer at home working at J. Crew. We had a mutual friend in town that was doing work with a non-profit in town, so when Chaz was driving through Nashville to help with a Young Life camp, we all got together for dinner. Neither of us thought anything of it, other than “Hmm, s/he’s pretty cute…” Fast forward to early that fall semester. We both, by chance, went to some mutual friends’ housewarming party. It was an older crowd, so I was introducing myself to those I didn’t know. Chaz was sitting next to me, and he stood up politely when it was his turn. We shook hands and he said “Wait, aren’t you supposed to be in Costa Rica?” He mistook me for a girl he met once who was, in fact, studying abroad in Costa Rica. After about 10 minutes of trying to figure out how we knew each other, and realizing we did none of the same things, we remembered that summer dinner. We talked while Chaz flipped burgers for the crowd (ironic now because we’re both vegetarians). Yet again, we each left and didn’t think much more of it. In fact, I had just sworn off boys forever. My thought was “the next guy that comes in my life is going to have to knock down my door to get me.” Well, that worked for about a week, and that’s exactly what he did.
Describe the proposal: One weekend, we headed to his grandmother’s house for a late lunch. His Nana is notorious for her cooking, so we had a huge meal. I knew Chaz had planned for us to go back to Athens and eat at one of our favorite restaurants there, Farm 255, but I obviously had no idea that we had specific reservations, or that anything sneaky was going on. We were taking our sweet time enjoying the food and family, and his Nana kept saying things like “Well, y’all might need to go, you wouldn’t want to be late.” I continued to reassure her that we had nothing special to get back to. We made the trek back to Athens, enjoyed a delicious and fresh meal at Farm 255 and then Chaz took me to Memorial Park, a place that was special to us because it was the first place we held hands. We walked over to the bridge, and I immediately knew this was it because I could hear Chaz’s heart beating harder than I ever had in my entire life. We sat down at a bench, and he began the speech. He told me how much he loved me, and how he loved growing so close to me while we were dating and how he can’t wait to see how the Lord continues to bring us closer together in marriage. Then he got down on one knee and opened that little Italian box I had waited for over a year to see. My response? “I KNEW IT!!!” I about tackled him and hugged him around the neck, and then he stood up and swung me around as I said “YES! YES! YES!!!” He was so sweet and told everyone in Athens that day to come to my house for an engagement party that night, so we got to celebrate with all of those that were closest to us. It was absolutely a dream come true!
Tell us about your beautiful engagement ring. The story of my engagement ring is one of our funnier stories. I studied abroad in Cortona, Italy in the summer of 2010. At this point, even though we had only been dating about nine months, Chaz and I knew this was it. An important precursor to this story: I’ve never liked engagement rings. They are always so fitting of the person, but I’ve never found one that fits me (not literally, although my 3.25 ring size is a challenge). On one of our day trips to Sienna, I was walking by a jewelry store called “Platinum,” and I just stopped in my tracks. My friends, who didn’t even notice me stop, came back to see why I was just staring in the stop window. They stood and stared at the hundreds of items in the window, and somehow they both were staring at the same ring I was. They simultaneously said “Caroline. You HAVE to get that ring.” Since the owner was on Siesta, I rang the doorbell, got his card, and figured I would never see the ring again. I showed Chaz a picture of the ring, on Skype, of course, and he loved it just as much as I did. He sent the owner an email, and I got my Italian friend to call, but no luck. We had almost given up, but then I showed my Mom and Dad a picture of the ring, and my mom said “Caroline, you HAVE to go back and get it!” Three train rides later with my sweet friend Missy, we arrived at Platinum. She helped me barter in Italian, a language neither of us knew very well at the time. Finally, it was mine! Since I wasn’t engaged, and this wasn’t the typical engagement ring process, Missy allowed me to look at the ring a measly three times that day. We had a beautiful celebratory dinner in Sienna and then took a train back to Cortona in complete bliss. The night I came back to the states I handed Chaz the ring and never saw it until over a year later when he proposed. We’re so glad to have this ring because Italy has been such a special place to my family, and then me, and represents to us fun travels as a married couple in our future. While the groom’s ring usually doesn’t have a unique story, Chaz’s ring is possibly has an even sweeter story than mine. I knew finding a ring for Chaz would be a struggle because he hates male jewelry, and we’re also concerned with the environment, so the whole mining for metal thing concerns him. That left me the option of antique jewelry. After going to many an antique store, I realized that because the price for gold is so high, many pawn and antique shop owners are melting down any gold that comes in their store for the sheer value. Either that, or the price of a simple gold ring was exorbitant. Luckily, I found an alternative. I asked my parents if they had any gold that they weren’t using anymore. My dad so kindly offered me his University of Kentucky class ring, a ring that I remember him wearing everyday for my entire life. I knew it meant so much to him, so his sacrifice deeply touched me, and I knew it would mean the world to Chaz. I took it to some jewelry shops, but even using our own metal cost so much for labor. Then I realized that one of my best friends Vasilisa has been taking lots of jewelry and metals classes, even in Cortona the summer after I was there. I asked her if she would be able to fashion a ring for Chaz out of my dad’s ring. She said she would be delighted! It was a hard and rigorous process, but she did a wonderful job. More than that, she gave it to us as our wedding present. We felt so honored to receive such a wonderful gift! I presented Chaz with the ring because I knew it would be an emotional experience for both of us. My father and Vasilisa’s sacrifice and gift to us brought him to tears. I know that his ring is absolutely the perfect ring for him, and nothing else could have sufficed!
Groom’s favorite detail of the wedding: After the ceremony and family pictures, our wedding planner Jennifer took us to a private room where we had the chance to sit in private and reflect on what we had just accomplished together. It was very important to me that Caroline and I had a chance to process our day and the huge step in life we had just taken together so Jennifer made sure to give us that opportunity. We sat together for about 30 minutes without any distractions talking about our favorite details of the day and sharing our excitement for the future. It was a wonderful and sweet time that I will cherish for the rest of our lives.
What was the most memorable or touching moment about your wedding day? Right before our pastor was about to announce us as man and wife, right at sunset, there were hot air balloons flying along the horizon. It was so absolutely special. It was as if God wanted to let us know that He was blessing our marriage.