Southern Weddings

I adore each one of the weddings that we publish in our print issues, and while it’s sometimes hard to pick a favorite, there are always a few that I simply cannot get out of my head. Case in point, Callie and Sinclair’s amazing wedding at Cheekwood from Volume 9! There’s just something about their magnolia-filled wedding that is undeniably Southern and completely magical. For their spring celebration, Callie and Sinclair worked with the Social Office to create a wedding day that was, in Callie’s words, “exquisitely beautiful and tons of fun!” While I can’t personally comment on the fun level, I would absolutely agree on the exquisitely beautiful part. With the help of lots of draping, and just a few chandeliers, Dori and her team transformed a white party tent on the Swan Lawn behind the Cheekwood into a reception venue filled with classic details and bountiful florals.

We’re sure glad Kristyn Hogan was there to capture all the goodness, and that she gave us the honor of sharing it in V9!

What was the design inspiration for your wedding? The Southern magnolia! After we got engaged, my mom and I started wedding Pinterest boards and both ended up pinning several magnolia photos, so it really started from there. I liked the Southern significance of using magnolias as a design element, but there were other fun reasons too. During middle school, my friends and I spent many fun hours hanging out in a huge magnolia tree in our front yard, where we had constructed a fairly sophisticated treehouse called The Fort. My family also traditionally uses lots of magnolia cuttings from our trees during the holidays or parties to decorate the house, mailboxes, and anything else we could think of. Maybe we have just always associated magnolias with good feelings and good times. The magnolia theme was used throughout all of our wedding events, beginning with our magnolia-imprinted save the dates and ending with a magnolia garland on our getaway car as we left the reception–and everything in between.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. What was your favorite thing about it? I found my dress at Vera Wang in Chicago. Vera Wang salons have a very relaxed and calm atmosphere, which suits me and made the process very enjoyable. I wanted to find a gown that was somewhat traditional, but had a modern flair and would be appropriate for an outdoor Southern garden wedding. I ended up choosing “Leda” from the Vera Wang Iconic collection, a strapless dress with illusion lace and layers of floral lace that was perfect for the garden setting. It was so comfortable and easy to wear. I knew immediately when I tried it on that it was the right dress for me.

For both our ceremony and reception, we chose flowers in shades of white, blush, and pale peach, and used accents of magnolia throughout. Soon after we mailed our magnolia-inspired save the dates, we met with our longtime florist Mark O’Bryan to explain our vision. He came up with a design plan using magnolias as a foundation and our favorite flowers to add softness and color. We used mainly garden roses, tulips, ranunculus, and anemones. We ended up choosing David Austin Juliet garden roses as one of the main flowers, not only because we loved the more natural shape and scent, but also because Juliets happened to match to the blush ribbon on our save the date perfectly! Many beautiful flowers were used at our wedding and it was important to us that they not just go to waste afterwards. We commissioned Thistle Farms Studios to make beautiful notecards and journals using our wedding flowers in their handcrafted papermaking process. Thistle Farms produces bath products, candles, and handcrafted papers to raise money for their mission of providing safe havens to women survivors of abuse and human trafficking. It was a meaningful way for us to give new life and purpose to our wedding flowers, and we will forever cherish our beautiful journals for both memories.

Tell us a bit about the wedding ceremony. Our ceremony was held outdoors in the Wills Perennial Garden at Cheekwood. As guest arrived, they were greeted with live music and offered a glass of rose champagne or pink lemonade as they headed up the walkway to the ceremony site. Magnolia-covered pedestals with urns of blush wedding flowers guided guests along the path, where they were offered hand-embroidered linen hankies to catch “Tears of Joy” and “Keep Warm as they Wed” pashminas. Guests passed under an arbor of hundreds of beautiful pale lavender blooms, where they were given wedding programs and escorted to the seats. We wanted to include religious elements in our ceremony, so a large wooden cross with magnolia swags was created to frame our bridal party, and our minister used the lectern from my great-grandfather’s church. The most special part of the ceremony was standing together in front of our family and friends on the most important day of our lives and walking back up the aisle as Mr. and Mrs. Myers. Seeing everyone’s happy faces and all of the white rose petals being tossed in the air as we walked by is a moment we will never forget.

We got engaged in late summer and knew we wanted a spring wedding date, so we chose April 16, 2016, mainly because it had a nice ring to it. I had always envisioned an outdoor, Southern garden wedding, and Sinclair and I both wanted the ceremony and reception to be held at the same place, so Cheekwood became the obvious choice for us. I have always considered Cheekwood one of the most beautiful places in Nashville, and it also holds great sentimental significance to me since it’s located in the neighborhood where I grew up. I actually had my fifth birthday party at Cheekwood, and several of the same friends and parents who were guests then came back to celebrate my wedding 23 years later!

Who participated in your ceremony? Family members, friends? If so, what did they do? I had fourteen bridesmaids and Sinclair had fourteen groomsmen, all of whom are very special people in our lives, ranging from family to childhood and college friends. We also had other close friends, along with my niece and nephew, who participated as greeters. Todd Jones, our minister at First Presbyterian Church in Nashville, officiated our ceremony and Chris Simonsen, a family friend, sang a beautiful solo of the “The Prayer.”

Did you have a cocktail hour? If so, what was it like? Yes, cocktails were served in the Wisteria Arbor and a cocktail tent located at the entrance to the dinner tent. Guests mingled and nibbled on appetizers such as mini BLTs and lamb crostini and sipped signature cocktails named “The Blushing Bride” (Veuve Clicquot rose champagne garnished with lemon and lavender) and the “Oh Happy Day” (a Tennessee whiskey slush). The Wisteria Arbor is one of our favorite Cheekwood spots–it has a breathtaking view of Tennessee’s rolling hills. We chose the Wisteria Arbor for some of our engagement photographs, and for my bridal portraits. This was also the time that we used to sneak away for a private first meal and a quiet moment for the two of us before joining family and friends at the reception.

Overall, our reception had a very elegant, Southern look, but it was also very important to us that we created an upbeat and lively atmosphere so guests could have fun and enjoy themselves. The reception was held in a tent on the Swan Lawn behind the Cheekwood mansion, and the space was so flawlessly designed and executed by Dori and team that the tent appeared to be an extension of the Cheekwood mansion. It was amazing to see the transformation of a cavernous, plain white party tent into what appeared to be a beautiful Southern mansion ballroom.

What was your reception like? Most of our friends love to dance, and once Big Swing and the Ballroom Blasters came on, I don’t think we ever left the dance floor. The entire evening was just what we wanted: exquisitely beautiful and tons of fun!

Tell us about your wedding cake or sweets. We had a six-tier cream cheese pound cake with raspberry filling decorated with cascading magnolia flowers and white icing. The cake was displayed on a glass chandelier table with magnolia leaves underneath the glass.

After the last song of the evening, a Dixieland-style brass band led an exit parade for the guests as they lined the walkway to our getaway car. A few minutes later, we ran down the steps and out the front door, past all of our family and friends as they showered us with what seemed to be mountains of confetti! Our getaway car was a white vintage Bentley decorated with a Just Married sign and, of course, a magnolia garland on the back.

How did the two of you meet? From Sinclair: We first met in Nashville through mutual friends. I had my eye on Callie for several months before she finally agreed to a dinner date in July 2013. We have been together ever since!
Describe the proposal: From Sinclair: I proposed to Callie on August 26, 2015. I had planned to keep the proposal a surprise from Callie, but let our families in on the secret so they could be in town to celebrate with us. Things got more complicated than expected when I realized Callie was a bridesmaid in an out-of-town wedding on the weekend I had planned to propose. After some quick rescheduling, I caught Callie off-guard a few days later than planned with a traditional on-one-knee proposal when I was picking her up for dinner at our favorite restaurant. Afterwards, Callie was anxious to share our news and couldn’t figure out why no one was answering her calls or texts, until we arrived at the restaurant and everyone was waiting for us with raised glasses of champagne in a special, flower-filled private dining room. It was a great night of happiness, hugs, and celebratory toasts.
How did you prepare for marriage while planning your wedding? We met with our minister for premarital counseling. We were also not shy about asking questions and taking advice from our married friends and our family members.
How many guests attended your wedding? 330 of our most favorite people in the world!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? Children are the next big plan, but not for a while. We are just enjoying married life and building a home together. We could not be happier!

Photographer: Kristyn Hogan | Videographer: Eugene + Heather | Planner and Designer: The Social Office | Venue: Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art | Florals: The Tulip Tree | Caterer: Kristen Winston Catering | Beverages: Lipman Brothers Inc. | Wedding Cake: Dessert Designs | Bride’s Gown and Veil: “Leda” by Vera Wang | Bride’s Shoes: Rene Caovilla | Bride’s Ring: Harry Winston (borrowed from mother) | Bride’s Jewelry and Accessories: Kleinfeld Bridal | Bridesmaid Dresses: Various full-length chiffon dresses in Graphite by Amsale | Hair Stylists: ELAN Hair | Makeup Artist: Daniel Cole Collection | Men’s Fashion: Street Tuxedo | Paper Goods: Tenn Hens Design | Rentals: Please Be Seated, Visual Elements, Nuage Designs, Beachview Event Rentals, Liberty Party Rental, and Music City Tents and Events | Linens: Nuage Designs and Graceful Tables | Favors: Grace Rojas Designs and Riverside Wine and Spirits | Transportation: Matchless Transportation | Lighting: Bright Event Productions | Music: Sam Levine and Big Swing and the Ballroom Blasters | Welcome Baskets: The Dotted Line

marissa Written with love by Marissa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Marilisa | Martel Event reply

    WOW!! How heavenly are those bouquets!? I wish there was a scratch + sniff function through my computer so I could smell the bride’s bouquet :) And the magnolia leaves are perfectly timeless. Love it all!!

    xo,
    Marilisa

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