Y’all know how much a city wedding gets my heart pounding, and Anne and Eric’s Nashville nuptials are no exception. I could go on and on about how much I love their gorgeous fall color palette (charcoal, portobello, champagne, garnet and ivory–yes please!) and their modern loft reception space, but all of that pales in comparison to how I imagine this wedding must have felt. After debating whether to elope or throw a wedding (which they knew would have to be big, no getting around it!), Anne and Eric decided to take advantage of the opportunity to have all their loved ones together. Sure enough, 290 of their 300+ guests traveled from far and wide to Nashville to celebrate their wedding. That is so much love in one room!
Thanks so much to The Studio B Photography for sharing Anne and Eric’s wedding with us!
How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We are both alumni of Florida State University. As students, we were members of an organization for campus leaders, which is unique in that its membership continues beyond graduation. Although we were not at FSU at the same time, we met at the organization’s summer retreat. I was living in Phoenix, and Eric was in Tampa. We spent the following year as great friends, communicating and traveling together, but without any romantic advances. During one Sunday “marathon call” (as we called our regular multi-hour phone conversations), Eric mentioned that he would like to come visit me in Phoenix. Since Eric had mentioned in a previous “marathon” that he hadn’t yet visited his brother in New York City in the three years he’d been living there, I declined on the grounds that he “needed to go visit his brother before coming to see some girl.” “Fine,” Eric responded, “But if I’m going to NYC, then you’re coming with me! And just to be clear, I want to take you on a date when we get there.” So, in August 2010, one calendar year later, we met at our annual retreat and departed for New York at its conclusion.
The wedding colors were charcoal, portobello, champagne, garnet and ivory. The garnet was used sparingly as an accent, and was the primary color of the flowers. What a statement! They were a stunning combination of mokaras orchids (which are special to Eric and I), cymbidiums, spray roses, garden roses, calla lilies, safari sunset, amaryllis and kangaroo paw. The bouquets were tied in a champagne satin ribbon. At the reception, the floral arrangements were hung, soared on top of ottomans and billowed on tables, making the most dramatic and gorgeous impact. Paired with the soft lighting and the linearity of the space, the textures and hues were a show-stopper!
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? Eric and I were blessed to be married by repeating the same vows that have married so many other amazing couples before us!
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Old Testament Reading: Ecclesiastes 4:9-12; New Testament Reading: 1 John 4:13-19; Gospel Reading: Matthew 5:13–16
We decided to do a first look for a variety of reasons, but most importantly was this: of our 320 guest, more than 290 had traveled to Nashville for our wedding from out-of-town. We wanted to spend as much time with our families and guests as possible. We chose to do bridal, couple and family shots before the wedding, going straight to the reception after the ceremony. This was the groom’s favorite moment of the wedding–the moment where the hard work had ended, and the fun began.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: We loved the layout of our reception. There was one long bar, a variety of table sizes and heights, and a number of soft seating arrangements. Also, I requested a “kid’s area” with a private dance floor, activities and appropriately-sized furniture as a special haven for the children who were invited. It was a lovely space, and one that lent itself to reuniting with old friends and meeting new ones!
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. I am a designer, so I elected to make the design decisions, while Eric was responsible for the “taste” decisions. We had a seven-tier lemon cake with buttercream icing. The tiers were a combination of round (top five layers) and square (two base layers), and combined smooth and textural icing. This design was selected as a representation of the juxtaposition of the glamorous and structural elements of the reception. Eric chose the lemon-flavored cake because it reminded him of his favorite desert that his mom made as a kid: lemon icebox pie. He also felt it would be refreshing in late July, which was absolutely true.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? When first engaged, we discussed whether we wanted to elope or have a wedding. We knew that if we had a wedding, it would be a big one–there was no way around it. Ultimately, we decided to have the big wedding, because it would be the one opportunity to have all of our friends and family from all over the country in one room at the same time. And now, every memory that we reminiscence about from our day circles back to that initial goal.
Tell us all about the proposal! As we were coming up on two years since our first date, Eric wanted to go back to New York for a “rendition of our first date.” Since we had talked about getting engaged, I naturally thought the trip was planned around a proposal, and was honestly disappointed in the lack of creativity of a “first date-inspired proposal.” Little did I know, the vacation was merely a ploy to focus my energy on getting engaged in New York, so that he could surprise me and do it sooner. So, when Eric gave me an address, asking me to meet him for a “surprise” in Miami, I didn’t think much of it. The address was the Miami Seaquarium, and the surprise was a swim with the dolphins! At the end of the swim, as we were exiting the water, the trainer told me that Ringo (appropriately named!) had something for me. The dolphin swam to the edge of the pool with a buoy in his mouth. As I bent over to pick it up, I saw that it said “Will You Marry Me?” on it! Laughing, I turned around to tell Eric that I was engaged to a dolphin, finding him on his knee behind me with a ring. The photographer, who had been carrying the ring in his pocket, took dozens of pictures as I said “YES!” And, yes, we did go to New York the following weekend, recreating our first date. The trip ended up being an encore celebration rather than the main event!
When did y’all get married? July 27th, 2013–four years after we met, three years after our first date, and one year after we got engaged
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 320
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I had a grandiose idea to bring my mom, sister, grandmother and mother-in-law-to-be to Orlando to shop for wedding dresses. Instead, I allowed a sweet saleswoman to talk me into trying some on while casually looking at bridesmaid dresses in Nashville with my mom. I tried about ten, and we agreed the first dress was “the one.” We decided to keep it simple and buy the dress on the spot. Good thing, because the style was soon discontinued!
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We had our first dance to Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World”; my dad and I danced to “In My Daughter’s Eyes” by Martina McBride; Eric and his mom had their dance to Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Simple Man.” Since we had so many families at the wedding, we conjured up an idea to share the dance floor with other fathers and daughters, and mothers and sons who were attending. Having never seen or heard of anyone doing this, we needed to get creative to execute it well. Working with the band, we decided to pre-record a special message to our parents, using that as an opportunity to welcome the other families to join in the rare moment. It became one of the most special events of the evening as the dance floor was filled with examples of love and family: one friend danced with his 8-month-old baby girl, Eric’s brothers joined in surrounding their mom, my dad stole a dance with my mom. One dear friend came up to me, with tears in her eyes, exclaiming, “You gave me my first dance with my son!” What a special moment!
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Being in Nashville, our wedding was inherently Southern. We were married in the church that I grew up attending and where I was baptized–a gorgeous Episcopal church. On the Friday of our wedding weekend, the groom’s parents hosted a welcome reception for all of the wedding guests in the Rotunda at the Country Music Hall of Fame. Not to mention, our families had just eaten their rehearsal dinner at a local favorite, a restaurant called Southern!
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The biggest obstacle of the wedding was planning remotely. Our hectic work schedules only allowed weekends for preparation and meeting with vendors, flying to Nashville on Friday nights and traveling back to Orlando on Sunday evenings.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? We can’t possibly narrow it down to one: our photographers were the most amazing, easy to work with and fun team we could have asked for. The band absolutely killed it–people are still talking about them! We also just adored the flowers and can’t stop looking at pictures of them.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Our advice is to simply listen to your heart while you are planning your special day. From the colors to the emphasis on prayer, family and love, to the atypical way food was served and dances were danced, no one could deny that our wedding was perfectly designed specifically for us.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are happy to be living together for the first time, sharing life as a team. We are looking forward to seeing what the Lord has in store!
Photographer: Rebecca Enslein / Videographer: Jonathan Roberts / Planner: Alice Hendry / Ceremony Venue: St. George’s Episcopal Church in Nashville / Reception Venue: The Pinnacle at Symphony Place / Florist: A Village of Flowers / Wedding Cake or Dessert Baker: Jay Qualls Cakes / Caterer: Jim Hagy at Chef’s Market / Rentals: Visual Elements / Lighting: Bright Event Productions / Band or DJ: Blue Tones / Special Details: BBJ Linen / Bride’s Gown: Village Bridal / Paper Products: K & M Paper Designs / Hair and Makeup: Altra Salon / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Village Bridal