Anyone who has been in a long-distance relationship can attest to how challenging it is. I’m in that boat myself, and sometimes, it is just plain hard. That is one of the many reasons I’m so encouraged by Emily and Tripper’s love story. After years of distance, they were engaged in the city where they first met and planned a gorgeous wedding in Emily’s hometown. Now that they’re happily married, they’re thrilled that they finally get to see each other every day. I can’t help but feel overjoyed for them–what a testament to “love never fails!”
Many thanks to Melissa Schollaert for sharing Emily and Tripper’s wedding with us!
Tell us all about the proposal! We planned a trip to Nashville in September 2011 to visit Tripper’s sister and brother-in-law and to go to a Vandy football game. Coincidentally (or so I thought), the Dores were playing Ole Miss that weekend, which marked the four-year anniversary of our first date. On Saturday evening after the game, Tripper and I had dinner at our favorite restaurant, Virago, and planned to meet his sister and brother-in-law at the Hutton Hotel bar for post-dinner drinks. When we got to the hotel, Tripper led me up to the penthouse suite, which was filled with candles, flowers and mementos from throughout our relationship. Getting engaged with the backdrop of the Nashville skyline was the perfect way to bring our relationship full circle!
Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? Although I was initially hesitant about a first look, our photographer convinced me that it was necessary in order to get portraits and bridal party photos with natural light. We did our first look in a small park in Atlanta with no one else around. It was a perfect, intimate setting. Looking back, I am so happy we made that decision, because were both much more relaxed going into the ceremony.
Like many brides, I wanted romantic, lush flowers in soft colors and dreamed of peonies. Since peonies weren’t available in September, we used lots of hydrangeas, ranunculus, garden roses and spray roses to deliver the same full effect. My favorite flower is the gardenia, so we included those in my bouquet, in my hair and in the floral garland runner on the head table.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Our Old Testament reading was Tobit 8:4b-8, and our New Testament reading was Colossians 3:12-17.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We were married in a cathedral and felt the music needed to match the formality of the venue, so we chose traditional songs played on the church organ. My dad walked me down the aisle to Clarke’s “Trumpet Voluntary” and we recessed to “Hornpipe” by Handel. For our first dance, the band played “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You” by Frankie Vallie and the Four Seasons. It was the perfect song for us because it started off slow, but the tempo picked up so we could have a little fun! The band’s last song of the night was Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered.”
I just loved the overall effect when walking into the reception space. Atmosphere was extremely important to me and creating the right mood was at the top of my mind throughout the planning process. As I told our vendors, I wanted the reception space to feel warm and “glowy” and I felt strongly about choosing a venue where all our guests could be in one space together. I was thrilled with how our vendors executed my vision.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? The food at our wedding was Southern-influenced and included shrimp and grits and fried green tomatoes. Tripper grew up in Louisiana and has a passion for Gulf oysters, so to bring a little Louisiana flair to our Atlanta wedding, we brought in over 1,000 Gulf oysters and an award-winning shucker straight from New Orleans!
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Our cake was delicious! Since Tripper doesn’t have much of a sweet tooth, we skipped a groom’s cake and instead offered two tiers of flavors in the wedding cake–red velvet with cream cheese frosting and vanilla genoise with lemon and raspberry mousse.
How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Tripper and I met in college at Vanderbilt University. We had many mutual friends, but somehow, we didn’t connect until our senior year. Our first date was to the Vanderbilt vs. Ole Miss football game, followed by dinner at Rotier’s–a perfect Nashville evening! After college, I moved to Atlanta and Tripper moved to Charlotte. Two years later, he started business school in Charlottesville, VA and I moved to DC. Needless to say, our love story contains many tanks of gas and hours on the phone.
When did y’all get married? September 22, 2012
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? Around 250
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I lived in DC during our engagement and went wedding dress shopping both there and in my hometown of Atlanta. Although I didn’t know what style dress I wanted when I got engaged, I quickly realized that a lace gown with a fit-and-flare silhouette felt the most “me.” At every appointment, I kept going back to the same lace Marissa dress, so I knew it was the one.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My something old was a religious medal that has belonged to my grandmother since she was a child. My something borrowed was a garter that my best friends and I each wear on our wedding day, embroidered with our monogram and the date. My something blue was a Bonnie Blue flag pin given to me by Tripper’s aunt. My something(s) new were the dress, shoes and diamond earrings that were a wedding day gift from Tripper. And I had a sixpence in my shoe!
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? I lived in DC for the majority of our engagement and Tripper was in business school in Charlottesville, so it was a challenge to work with all of our vendors in Atlanta while being long-distance from both them and from each other.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? That’s tough! We were lucky to have a fabulous group of vendors who worked wonderfully together and made things easy on us. I am so happy we chose Melissa Schollaert as our photographer because she captured every moment and detail of the day beautifully. We love reliving the memories through her images.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Seeing each other for the first time! That, and the amazing party on the dance floor.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? This sounds obvious, but when your wedding day finally comes after many months of planning, make sure you enjoy it together! Tripper and I made a deal beforehand that we would stay within an arm’s length at our reception. We knew from attending other weddings that the bride and groom often get pulled in different directions and get caught up talking with friends and family. It was important to us to have shared memories of the night.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are settled down in Louisiana and enjoying married life! After four years of dating long-distance, it is a thrill to wake up in the same place and be together every day.