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It’s an incredible feat when a wedding feels magical enough to takes guests out of their normal lives, but makes them feel right at home at the same time, and I’m convinced that Mattie and Louis accomplished just that. They chose to be married on Mattie’s parents’ property, which is not only breathtakingly beautiful, but also deeply meaningful–it’s where Mattie’s parents and her brother were married, too. Mattie grew up admiring the garden parties her parents frequently hosted, so she and Louis decided to adopt the same elegant, but relaxed, feel for their wedding. With the help of Simply Chic Events and Beehive Events, they combined the garden’s natural aesthetic with plenty of nods to their families, the most stunning blooms, and a hearty helping of Southern hospitality to create a day that was uniquely theirs.

Many thanks to Kate Headley for sharing this gorgeous day with us in V9!

We got married on June 18, 2016 at 6 P.M. at Old Mill Cottage, my parents’ home in Crozier, Virginia. Because we knew our wedding would be outdoors, we targeted an early summer wedding date to try and avoid the risk of high heat that is common in Virginia in July and August. The ceremony and cocktails were held in different locations of the arboretum and gardens. The dinner reception was held under tents. I had always dreamed of being married in the gardens of the home where I grew up. It is a beautiful place, made even more special to me because my parents were married in a grove of trees on the property, and my older brother and his wife chose Old Mill Cottage for their wedding and reception as well. My parents love the outdoors and gardening and have spent years building a gorgeous, five-acre arboretum which provided perfect spots for the ceremony, cocktails, and reception.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. What was your favorite thing about it? My mom and I went shopping in New York one weekend and found my dress at Gabriella New York Bridal Salon. I had been eyeing Marchesa’s Azalea gown on Pinterest before we went shopping, and when I put it on, I knew it was the one. I thought it was the perfect garden wedding dress and loved the crystal and flower petal appliqués and airy tulle overlay.
Describe your bridesmaids’ dresses. How did you choose them? I wanted mix and match bridesmaids’ dresses, so I shared the color palette with my bridesmaids and asked them to pick out a couple dresses they liked in that palette. From there, I was able to coordinate their picks, and everyone got to wear something they liked!

Tell us a bit about the wedding ceremony. What part was most special to you? Did you include any special readings? We had a Christian-Jewish interfaith ceremony. Louis and I spent a lot of time putting the ceremony together to blend our traditions, cultures, and religions, which made it very unique and personal to us.
Who participated in your ceremony? Family members, friends? If so, what did they do? Louis’ sister, Rebecca, co-officiated the ceremony with the minister from my church growing up. The minister conducted the ceremony and exchange of vows, while Rebecca led the sections of the ceremony honoring Jewish wedding traditions. Our niece and nephew, who are also our godchildren, were the flower girl and ring bearer. They are so special to us and it was wonderful that we were able to include them in such a big way. They were adorable and really stole the show!

My parents are beekeepers, so we had a subtle bee and honey theme throughout the wedding: specialty honeybee cocktails, bee emblems on the invitations and paper goods, a honeycomb-inspired display for the escort cards, clover honey ice cream to go with the cake, and of course, a jar of Old Mill Cottage honey for the guests to take home!

What was the design inspiration for your wedding? Why was this design special to you as a couple? The season and the botanical setting of our home and property were the design inspiration, as well as the style of entertaining that I learned from my parents. My parents like to host outdoor dinner parties that are best described as casual, elegant, French-style dinners with colorful tables, lots of flowers and candles, and bottles of wine on the table. Our wedding planners expertly developed the beautiful details of our wedding and reception to complement the setting and style that were important to us.

We had the good fortune to work with a very creative floral designer who also lives “in the country” and appreciates the beauty of interesting botanicals, as well as the more traditional flowers. I wanted vintage-inspired bouquets and arrangements that used seasonal flowers and greenery in our color palette.

We had one kiddie table set up outside the tent for all the young kids we were having at the wedding. At each kid’s “place setting,” there were jars of colored pencils, mini etch-a-sketches, small wooden toys in wood berry baskets, and a kids Polaroid camera.

Tell us about your wedding cake or sweets. The base layers of the cake were completely covered in buttercream and then faded to a scraped naked style as you worked your way up the layers. The hand-piped buttercream on the base layers mimicked the embroidery on my grandmother’s family’s antique silk piano shawl, which was used on the altar table at the ceremony, and which also provided the inspiration for the design of our invitations. The cake was adorned with cascading fresh flowers. Our cake was layered with two different flavors: lemon zest cake with blackberry buttercream and lavender cake with honey buttercream. They were both served with clover honey ice cream.

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. We met in 2007 in New Orleans when we were both attending Tulane University. We knew of each other through mutual friends and eventually found ourselves hanging out in the same crowd. After a few nights out on the town here and there, we could tell there was a connection. We both refer to one specific late night that ended at the infamous dive bar near campus called Snake and Jake’s as the night that really sparked our relationship. And the rest is history!
Describe the proposal: Louis proposed to me at the gorgeous historic Driskill Hotel in Austin. We had just seen a comedy show and decided to get a drink at the Driskill Hotel bar. While we were enjoying a cocktail, Louis excused himself to go to “the bathroom.” A few minutes later, the concierge came up to me and said Louis would like for me to join him in the Governor’s Suite and handed me a key. I knew right then what was about to happen! I went up to the room and Louis was on one knee out on the porch overlooking downtown Austin. It was very romantic and a night I’ll never forget!
How many guests attended your wedding? About 225 guests
What were some of the highlights of the reception? My stepdad’s toast, the Hora (chair dance), all of the kids on the dance floor, and our amazing band that had everyone dancing!
Tell us about your grand exit. Louis and I stayed until the band stopped playing at midnight and hopped on the bus with the rest of our guests back to the hotel, where we continued the party.
Did you include any Southern traditions in your wedding? In the fall of 2015 after we got engaged, Louis and his parents traveled to Virginia to spend the weekend with my family at Old Mill Cottage. We had a ceremonial burial of a bottle of Virginia Gentlemen bourbon under a garden statue at the site of the ceremony to ensure good weather for our wedding day…and it worked! Also, Louis’ father and brother served as his best men.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? We just moved from Austin, Texas to Mobile, Alabama and we’re getting settled into our first home together! We’re looking forward to establishing ourselves in Mobile and eventually starting a family.
What advice would you give to someone currently planning his or her wedding? Make sure to enjoy every second of your wedding week! It goes by so quickly, and there’s no reason to stress over the little stuff at that point.

Photographer: Kate Headley | Videographer: Monachetti Weddings | Planner and Designer: Simply Chic Events | Venue: Old Mill Cottage and Arboretum | Florals and Rentals: Beehive Events | Caterer: Occasions Caterers | Wedding Cake: Sweet Fix | Bride’s Gown: “Azalea” by Marchesa | Bridal Salon: Gabriella New York Bridal Salon | Bride’s Shoes: Stuart Weitzman | Bride’s Earrings: BHLDN | Matron of Honor’s Dress: Style 651755 by Needle and Thread | Bridesmaids Dresses: Various styles and colors by Jenny Yoo and Adrianna Papell | Hair Stylists: Ashleigh Snider and Niki Crocker of JAK Salon | Makeup Artist: Stephanie Parker Makeup | Groomsmen Fashion: The Black Tux | Paper Goods: Brown Linen Design | Linens: La Tavola Linen | Dinner Tent Chandeliers: Amelia Wood Bead Chandeliers from Pottery Barn | Favors: Old Mill Cottage honey jars | Transportation: James River Transportation | Lighting, Tents, and Flooring: Skyline Tent Company

The Black Tux is a delightful Southern Weddings sponsor!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
3 Comments
  1. avatar Bri A reply

    Oh my, I tried to pick just one favorite detail but there were so many that I don’t know where to start! All of this is so amazing — the location, mixing the traditions, the bee details (I die!) — and of course the sweet dogs and this gorgeous couple. Love it! Thank you for sharing this gorgeous wedding!

  2. avatar Catherine reply

    Her dress is stunning and just perfect for the aesthetic of the whole day!

  3. avatar Kimberly reply

    Gorgeous wedding! Welcome to Mobile!

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While we aim to feature a range of wedding aesthetics in our annual print edition, an issue of Southern Weddings doesn’t feel quite complete without a celebration that can be best described as “classic Southern.” Well, friends, it doesn’t get much more classic Southern than Sarah Beth and Matt’s Senoia, Georgia wedding–just one look at her allover lace gown, that darling little white chapel, or the countless Southern traditions they included in their big day, and we knew we had found a couple after our own hearts! Sarah Beth handled lots of the plans with the help of her mama, but they also recruited Invision Events to help bring every charming detail together. In such good hands, she and Matt were able to be completely present on their special day–I think the joy on their faces in these pictures is evidence enough that they soaked every single moment in!

Thanks so much to Amy Arrington for sharing this sweet day with us for V9!

P.S. Want to learn more about many of the traditions Sarah Beth and Matt included in their wedding, like the cake pull and saber arch? We dove into them, plus many more, in our new Southern Traditions E-Book!

How did you spend the morning or afternoon before your ceremony? We rented a bed and breakfast a block from the church for the bridesmaids and my parents to stay in for the weekend. It was so fun because it reminded me of slumber parties we had together growing up! My bridesmaids and I had an easy morning of sleeping in a little bit, and then we ate breakfast together at the bed and breakfast. It was the perfect Southern breakfast, with grits, pork tenderloin, eggs, fruit, bellinis, and biscuits! Y’all, those grits were something else! I’m big on sweets, so we celebrated with a cake pull and giggled at the bridesmaid who pulled the pacifier charm, which means a baby is on the way! We then started getting ready while listening and dancing to our favorite songs from high school! It was so fun!

I have always wanted a Southern spring wedding. Spring has always been my favorite season–not too hot, not too cold. The flowers are always beautiful and the air is crisp. I was unsure about locations, but Matt’s parents moved to Senoia, Georgia a few years ago and we fell in love with it! We actually did our first premarital counseling session there before we even decided on our venue. When I saw that old white church in downtown Senoia, we thought it was perfect! I’m not big on themes, but I wanted our wedding to exude Southern charm, and this church was the perfect fit. I asked Matt to wear his mess dress Air Force uniform because he looks so handsome in it. It’s so dressy that I thought it would be more appropriate for an evening wedding.

What was the most memorable or touching moment of your wedding day? The most memorable moment of our wedding day was when we got to see each other before the ceremony. All of the wedding party went to the church and we had a few moments of quiet to ourselves before we made our covenant of marriage in front of our family and friends. It was so peaceful; we just took pictures and enjoyed each other’s company.

My favorite thing about finding my wedding dress was that my mom was with me. It was a really special moment for the two of us. My mom lost her own mom at an early age, so this was extra special. I went to Bridals by Lori in Atlanta and my bridal consultant, Meghan, was the sweetest thing ever! She let my mom and me shop and pick out dresses. My mom and I buzzed like bumblebees from rack to rack because we were so excited! I remember seeing the dress I ended up with on the rack and picking it to put in my dressing room. Meghan told me that it was her favorite dress in the store and it was the first one I put on. I tried about fifteen more dresses on after that one, and then put the first back on. Meghan put a veil on me and my mom and I both started crying! It hit me–I was not a little girl anymore, and I was getting married! It was one of the most exciting times in my life, besides getting pronounced husband and wife! My mom and I celebrated with a sweet prayer, sweet tea, and my favorite, Chick Fil-A! It was perfect.

Tell us a bit about the wedding ceremony. What part was most special to you? Did you include any special readings? Our wedding ceremony was absolutely beautiful. The most special part to me was the songs that were sung, because they told the story of our faith. My friend from engineering school sang “What Love is This” by Kari Jobe before I walked down the aisle, which set the tone for the ceremony, as it talks about Jesus Christ and his unconditional love for us. Every time I hear that song, it makes me tear up a little bit and makes me feel so thankful. The other song we chose was “The Marriage Prayer” by John Waller. My husband’s good friend that had a band in college played this song on the guitar and sang with his little sister. It was probably my absolute favorite moment, other than saying our vows. My matron of honor read 1 Corinthians 13 and Matt’s groomsman read 1 John 3:18-24. My nephew was the ring bearer and my two nieces were the flower girls! They looked like little angels in their heirloom dresses and flower halos. Since they were so young, they walked down the aisle in their mothers’ arms (two of my bridesmaids).
Did you write your own vows? No, we didn’t write our own vows. The traditional vows describe the covenant of marriage so beautifully, and I wanted to vow to each other the same vows that our parents both had said to each other when they got married.

Bride’s favorite detail of the wedding: I have so many favorites, so it’s hard to choose just one! But my favorite detail is my groom’s uniform he wore on our wedding day. He looked so handsome! Who doesn’t love a man in uniform?
Groom’s favorite detail of the wedding: Her dress! It’s a pretty surreal feeling seeing the love of your life standing there in a wedding dress, and it’s a moment I will cherish forever. I was simply at a loss for words. It was the happiest day of my life! A close second would be the trolley ride from the church to the reception. It was so much fun having all of the groomsmen, bridesmaids, and family together, jamming out to music and drinking champagne before we had to be semi-responsible in front of the other guests.

How did you prepare for marriage while planning your wedding? Matt and I did premarital counseling with our close family friend, the chaplain of the United States Armed Forces Mission. We talked about some not-so-easy topics, like finances, future kiddos, and family, but they were important to talk about before we got married. We also read marriage books and did devotionals together whenever we got the chance.

Did you have a cocktail hour? If so, what was it like? Yes, we did! While we were taking pictures by the lake at the reception venue, we got to see our guests take pictures of us with their phones and enjoy the beautiful scenery, food, drinks, and each other’s company. We had mini chicken and waffles, mini fried mac and cheese bites, and mini shrimp and grits served to our guests during cocktail hour. We also had a groom’s signature drink, an Old Fashioned with a candied orange rind, and a bride’s signature drink, a Southern Georgia Peach Bellini.
What kind of food did you serve at your reception? My groom actually took charge of this one and he didn’t fail us! It was so Southern and yummy–exactly what I was looking for! We had a tender brisket, tasty chicken marsala, and Southern trout that was to die for! We also had broccoli and cheese casserole and Southern-style green beans with bacon. I also wanted to serve my momma’s rolls, so the caterer made the rolls using her recipe!

My momma and I went to several cake tastings, and let me tell you, there is nothing wrong with that! The more cake, the better, if you ask me! We ended up choosing one of the sweetest cake bakers in Auburn, Alabama to make our cake. This was a process because Matt asked that he have a fighter jet on the top of his cake. Not only did we want our cake to taste good, but we wanted the fighter jet to look as realistic as possible. I think it turned out pretty wonderfully! I’m pretty traditional, so I wanted all white and ivory on my cake. It was a white cake with white buttercream and ivory piping. On each layer, we had a different pattern of piping, which was beautiful. It was topped with beautiful flowers to match my bouquet. Matt’s cake was a devil’s food cake with milk chocolate buttercream. It was delicious–you can’t go wrong with chocolate!

We had a sparkler exit because it was pretty dark on the farm and I wanted to be able to see our exit in pictures. If we had chosen lavender, rice, or bubbles, I don’t think we would have been able to see anything! Running between two rows of golden sparklers was like a dream!

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. This story is always a little embarrassing for me! We met at a local bar in downtown Auburn and were introduced by a mutual friend. I’ll never forget him saying “Oh, you’re that cute girl in engineering!” He asked for my number and I said “Don’t you know this isn’t how this works? But, you can have mine if you’d like!” The next day he asked me out to lunch, and I hesitatingly obliged. We went to lunch, and what was supposed to be a one-hour lunch turned into a three-hour date filled with nervous giggles, stories, and laughter. After that, we both knew we didn’t want to spend another day without each other in our lives.
Describe the proposal: I’ve always wanted to go to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens and see the Christmas lights, but the year before we got engaged, we waited until the last minute and the tickets sold out. The next year, Matt surprised me with tickets, and I was so excited! When we got there, we got some yummy hot chocolate, walked the winding paths of the garden, and enjoyed the lights. Matt wandered a little bit behind me the whole time, and I asked him, “Matt, why don’t you walk with me?” He responded, “I just like to watch you and I want to take it all in.” I didn’t think twice about it. As we got to the end of the gardens, Matt looked at me and said, “Let me take your hot chocolate.” I said, “Why?!” He responded, “I need both of your hands to talk to you.” I looked into his eyes, and I knew exactly what was about to happen. He got down on one knee and asked, “Will you marry me?” Of course, I said yes!! We went to his parents’ house afterwards and he surprised me with my parents, some close family friends, and my favorite–my doggy. I’ll never forget it.
Three adjectives that describe the day are: Southern, classic, joyful
How many guests attended your wedding? 150
What was the design inspiration for your wedding? Why was this design special to you as a couple? I have always been drawn to feminine, classic details, but Matt and I also wanted it to be Southern and relaxed so our guests could feel like they were at home. This design was special to us as a couple because it showed our friends and family our love story and our love for each other, and our guests got to see our personality unfold as they experienced our wedding day.
What was the biggest challenge you faced while planning your wedding? The biggest challenge I faced during the wedding planning process was listening to myself, rather than family and friends. I felt the urge to please others and let it cloud my opinions about things, but it is ultimately you and your groom’s wedding day. Be respectful to friends and family, but listen to yourself and your groom.
Tell us about your wedding flowers. How did you choose them? What did you love about them? I have an obsession with flowers and so does my mother. My florist was a DREAM to work with. She is as sweet as the smell of peonies, and her work is amazing. I wanted flowers that smelled wonderful and achieved the color combination we were looking for: a mix of peaches, pinks, creamy ivory, and white. I also wanted to use my mother’s favorite, roses, and my dad’s favorite, gardenias. We also used rosemary as a nod to my mother’s name, Rose Marie. For me, we chose to do an all-white bouquet with a twist. We used a mixture of roses, garden roses, peonies, hydrangeas, tulips, white anemones, ranunculus, veronica, hyacinth, and gardenia foliage. My bouquet was wrapped in the baby bonnet that I wore when I was brought home from the hospital after I was born.
Did you toss the garter or bouquet? I did! I didn’t want to do either at first, but I am glad I did! Our guests had fun trying to catch the bouquet and garter, and it made for cute pictures!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? Spending our lives together! Matt and I were long distance for four years before we got married, so we look forward just to being together and seeing each other every day.

Photographer: Amy Arrington Photography | Videographer: Imagine Video Productions | Planner and Designer: Julie Bunkley of Invision Events | Ceremony Venue: Senoia United Methodist Church | Reception Venue: Diastole Farms | Florals and Reception Bar Sign: Southern Posies | Caterer and Linens: It’s Your Day Catering | Wedding Cake: Sonshine Cakes | Bride’s Gown: “Emma” by Matthew Christopher | Bridal Salon: Bridals by Lori | Bride’s Shoes: “Thora” by Badgley Mischka | Bride’s Earrings: Elizabeth Bower | Bride’s Bracelets: Gause & Son Jewelers | Bride’s Veil: Matthew Christopher | Bride’s Garter: Nordstrom | Bridesmaid Dresses: Various styles in Bellini by Amsale | Hair Stylist: Lynsey Richardson | Makeup Artist: Rachel Griffin | Groomsmen Fashion: The Modern Gent | Paper Goods: Linen & Leaf | Rentals: The Event Group | Ceremony Draping and Lighting: Unique Event Elements | Favors: Totally Wedding Koozies

Amy Arrington and Invision Events are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
4 Comments
  1. avatar Joy – Leicestershire Wedding Photographer reply

    Awesome amazing photos! Great Work, great lighting and great location.

  2. avatar Hayley reply

    Where are the bridesmaid’s robes from?

  3. avatar 5 Southern Wedding Traditions Any Couple Can Incorporate – Plan My Wedding – Inspiration & Real Weddings reply

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For Chesne, who grew up in Atlanta, getting married at the Swan House had always been her dream. Like any good Southern girl, she knew that it would be too hot for an outdoor wedding after May (and fall is for football!), so she and Raul were thrilled to be able to secure a May 7th wedding date at her dream venue! The beautiful historic home not only served as a stunning backdrop for their ceremony, but as inspiration for their entire celebration. The team at Amy Osaba Design created florals that had an organic, romantic, and “a bit wild” feel that were the perfect complement to both the mansion and Chesne’s Carol Hannah gown. Chesne and Raul also worked with Candice of Chancey Charm Weddings to create a wedding day that was a tribute to their life together in the South–a South that, to them, is “hospitable, romantic, delicious, fun, and in full bloom.” What a beautiful sentiment!

Big hugs to Blue Ribbon Vendor Anna Shackleford for sharing this sweet day with us in our ninth issue!

I found my dress at The Sentimentalist in Atlanta. I went with my mom and two of my bridesmaids, and it was our second stop of the day. I was having a hard time making a decision between two Carol Hannah dresses because I liked the top on one, but loved the skirt on the other. The Sentimentalist actually has a great relationship with the designer, and I was very fortunate because they were able to request a custom design that combined the two dresses that I loved!

I knew from the beginning that I wanted to use Amy Osaba Design for our flowers. I love how their arrangements are really loose and organic, and all of their work feels so romantic. We scheduled an appointment and met with Mary McLeod, who is one of their main designers. I had so much fun at our appointment–it was definitely one of the highlights of the planning process! When I met with Mary, I didn’t want to give too much direction on the bouquet, and we instead talked about the overall feel. I wanted the feel to be loose, romantic, and a bit wild, but didn’t specify any particular flower. I really loved how Mary used both greenery and flowers in our color palette, but my favorite detail was the beautiful ribbons that she used to tie it all together.

What was the most memorable or touching moment of your wedding day? My favorite moment from our wedding day was our first look. I am so thankful that we did a first look before the ceremony and were able to experience that emotion in an intimate setting. Raul and I both cried, and it was so incredibly special. The moment felt really special and intimate, and we were really able to enjoy all of the emotions that we were feeling on that day. It also helped with the timeline after the ceremony and allowed us to go straight into the party!

Growing up in Atlanta, the Swan House was always my dream venue and we really didn’t consider any other locations. We also knew that we would have to get married in the spring–an outdoor wedding in Atlanta would be too hot after May, and fall is for football. We booked the Swan House for May 7, and everything else stemmed from that. The house served as a constant source of inspiration throughout the planning process and was the most stunning backdrop for the ceremony.

Tell us a bit about the wedding ceremony. What part was most special to you? Did you include any special readings? Our ceremony was on the lawn of the Swan House, and the home served as the most beautiful backdrop for our big day. My dad and I were hidden inside while the guests were seated, and I will never forget the moment that the doors finally opened and we walked down the steps together.
What songs did you use for your ceremony? My favorite song is “Tiny Dancer” by Elton John and I knew that I wanted to incorporate it into our big day somehow. We had a four-string band for our ceremony, so we had them do an instrumental version for my entrance. It was such a unique touch that brought a personal element to our ceremony.

Did you include any Southern traditions in your wedding? Our ceremony and cocktail hour were outside at the Swan House and we wanted to take no chances when it came to the weather. The Swan House is a historic site and we were not allowed to bury a bottle of bourbon on-site, so naturally, we snuck in to do it anyways. On April 7 at 5:30 P.M. (exactly one month before the ceremony), we secretly buried a bottle of Four Roses and prayed for a sunny day. We also included mini bottles of Four Roses in our welcome boxes to include our guests in the tradition. The big day went off without a hitch–not a cloud in the sky!

Did you have a cocktail hour? If so, what was it like? We had an outdoor cocktail hour in the Boxwood Gardens adjacent to the Swan House. The string quartet continued to play and hors d’oeuvres were passed. Something we love about the South is tailgating, and although our cocktail hour was far from a football tailgate, it had many of the same elements, including perfect weather, Georgia pines, great food and music, and even koozies we had designed especially for the occasion.

What kind of food did you serve at your reception? We are big foodies and knew from the beginning that one of the things we cared about the most was the food. We used Sun in My Belly, a local restaurant, as our caterer and they did an amazing job! Dinner began with a panzanella salad with heirloom tomatoes and cornbread croutons. Guests then chose between two entrees: miso glazed salmon with a blueberry compote, or juniper and fig roasted pork tenderloin. We also served two very Southern sides of collard greens and roasted cauliflower.
What were some of the highlights of the reception? I think one of the highlights for our guests was the late night Chick-fil-A that we brought in towards the end of the evening. It was the perfect treat after a night of dancing!

Our favorite detail was the cake table. We couldn’t decide on a favorite flavor at our tasting, so we decided to do three different cakes! The main cake was vanilla cream, but we also had a lemon buttercream cake and a rose cake with coconut buttercream frosting and a blueberry jam filling. The exteriors of the cake were pink ombre that matched perfectly with the décor, and our florist added greenery to all three. They were displayed on a big farm table and we absolutely loved the presentation.

Tell us about your grand exit. We had our last dance to “Georgia on My Mind” by Ray Charles. It was the perfect end to our Southern affair! We then went straight to our exit, but had to get creative about how to do it because the Atlanta History Center is a historical site and was pretty strict about what they would allow. We ended up passing out a mixture of eco-friendly confetti and rose petals for guests to toss as we made our way to the car.

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. We met while working at the Abercrombie & Fitch headquarters in Columbus, Ohio. We both worked in merchandising for sweaters and sat a table away from each other, but didn’t really get to know each other until after a year of working on the same team. At 3 A.M., following an evening at a favorite rooftop bar with mutual friends, we ended up going to Waffle House and chatting for hours about our families, childhoods, and our likes and dislikes. I knew that this was something special after that very first night.
Describe the proposal: From Raul: After three years of dating, we flew to New York from Atlanta to repeat our Belmont weekend date for the third time. We both love the city and our frequent trips there had become an integral component of our relationship, so there was no doubt that that’s where we would get engaged. We stayed at the beautiful Nomad Hotel and planned each day to incorporate all of our favorite things. Of course, there was the Belmont (where this time, we saw a Triple Crown win!), and meals at L’Artusi’s, Gramercy Park Tavern, and our favorite sandwiches from the Birdbath Café. Finally, on Sunday night, we headed to Cobble Hill for drinks and a walk through the park. On a romantic stroll to Lucali’s, we took a detour down a street we’d never walked before. On the front steps of a stranger’s beautiful brownstone at 204 Union Street in Brooklyn, we got engaged and celebrated down the block with our favorite meal.
How many guests attended your wedding? 200
What is the one thing that made your wedding different from anyone else’s wedding? The thing that set our wedding apart was definitely our venue. The Swan House was built in 1928 for the Inman family, and it’s one of Atlanta’s most recognizable landmarks. I still can’t believe that we were lucky enough to get married at such a stunning place.
What was Southern about your wedding? Many of our guests were visiting Atlanta (or at least, seeing the city through our eyes) for the first time, and we wanted to celebrate and share with our family and friends all of the wonderful times we’ve had here. Our wedding was a tribute to our life together in the South–a South free from caricature or pretense, a South that is hospitable, romantic, delicious, fun, and in full bloom. Beginning with our welcome boxes, which featured peaches, bottles of Coke, copies of Garden and Gun, and other Southern touches, and ending with the late night Chick-fil-A, our wedding was Southern through and through. Our focus was the food (because we love to eat!), and our Southern fare was a big hit on the wedding day. During cocktail hour, fried green tomatoes, mini corn muffins with Carolina pulled pork, and spicy pimento cheese were served. For our seated meal, we had green goddess salad and pork tenderloin with collard greens. From the massive Georgia pines surrounding the Swan House to our favorite country tunes, our wedding embodied the best of Atlanta and the South that we love.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? Raul is starting business school at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, so we just moved to Evanston, Illinois. We’re so excited for this next chapter in our lives and are happy to be living right outside of Chicago.

Photographer: Anna Shackleford | Videographer: Iron Kite Films | Planner: Candice Lorraine of Chancey Charm Weddings | Ceremony Venue: The Swan House at the Atlanta History Center | Reception Venue: The Grand Overlook Ballroom at the Atlanta History Center | Florals: Mary McLeod of Amy Osaba Design | Caterer and Linens: Sun in My Belly | Wedding Cakes: Sugar & Slate | Bride’s Gown: Carol Hannah | Bridal Salon: The Sentimentalist | Bride’s Shoes: “Candance” by Badgley Mischka | Bride’s Jewelry: Jenny Packham | Bride’s Veil: Sky Mist Veil by BHLDN | Bridesmaid Dresses: “Cecilia” in Blush by Jenny Yoo | Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist: Claudia Mejerle | Men’s Fashion: The Modern Gent | Paper Goods: Chelsea Petaja | Wooden Signage: Katie Davis Creative | Rentals: Crush Event Rentals and Goodwin Events | Favors: Pine + Pen Design

Anna Shackleford Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory and Chancey Charm is a wonderful Southern Weddings sponsor!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
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