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I already knew I was going to love Catherine and William’s wedding when Emily snuck me a peek of Catherine’s custom Heidi Elnora ball gown, their snowy portraits, and their twinkling opera house reception, but all of my expectations were blown out of the water when I read Catherine’s interview. I think she said it best when she wrote, “I think what makes a wedding Southern is how a couple thoughtfully incorporates faith, family, tradition, and hospitality in meaningful ways throughout the day to celebrate their love story and the people who brought them to where they are.” Catherine and William stuck to this sentiment so thoroughly throughout their engagement, and with the help of Catherine’s talented mama, every moment and detail of this Missouri celebration expressed their love story and their hearts. Even after all of the magic of the day, one of Catherine and William’s favorite moments was the end of the night when they poured a glass of champagne at their hotel room and excitedly recapped the entire wedding. I’m positive that with their sweet attitudes and their hearts for what matters most, there are so many more celebrations in Catherine and William’s future!

Thank you so much to Mike Cassimatis of MNC Photography for sending this sparkly day our way!

P.S. Y’all, I just HAVE to mention this…but how perfect is it that Catherine and William incorporated a few nods to their British heritages into their wedding, AND they share names with the beloved royal couple? Clearly, they were meant to be ;)

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We were both law students at Vanderbilt, but we hadn’t met yet my first semester (or so I thought). Fortunately, we both had friends who convinced us at the last minute to come back to Nashville early for a New Year’s Eve party at a mutual friend’s house. When Will started talking to me, I thought it was rude that he didn’t properly introduce himself. Well, as it turns out, we had already met at a Christmas party at the same house, but I didn’t remember him! I left to go to another party, got on a friend for “giving my number out to random guys,” and told Will I couldn’t go out with him because my mom was coming into town on the 2nd for a girls’ week. Well, folks, I underestimated Will’s determination and found myself sipping an Old Fashioned with him at Whiskey Kitchen the very next night. A Tim McGraw sing-a-long later, and on the 2nd, I was telling my mom what a nice guy I had met!

My something borrowed was my favorite piece of my grandmother’s jewelry, a diamond bangle my grandfather gave her on their fifteenth wedding anniversary. My something old was a fur my grandfather on the other side gave my mom years ago, and my something new was my brand new Heidi Elnora dress. I was supposed to wear a blue garter but forgot to put it on!

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We did. We wanted to have that private moment between just the two of us, and we wanted to be able to relax and celebrate after the ceremony. It was really nice to see each other for the first time without any distractions, and we had so much fun spending our wedding day together with our wedding party!

My mom and I planned an epic dress quest across the South with appointments in Nashville, Huntsville, Birmingham and Atlanta. I tried on so many beautiful gowns, but with each one that got close, I kept asking, “Can we change the lace?” or “Can we add a bow?” or “Can we lower the waistline?” Nothing seemed exactly right. We walked into the Heidi Elnora Atelier at the very end of the day, exhausted and not expecting much until Heidi herself came out and changed everything! She is such a sweet, strong, spunky Southern woman. She started from scratch asking me about my vision and nailing down a silhouette. From there, we created a custom gown that was so very me! It was my favorite part of the wedding planning process by far, and I cherished my trips to Birmingham to visit with Heidi and her team and watch my gown come to life. The first thing Will said when he saw me in the dress was, “It’s so you!”

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? I’m a farmer’s daughter originally from a very small town in Southeast Missouri, but I always knew I wanted to get married in St. Louis and take photos at my alma mater (Washington University). We both love tradition and any excuse to dress up, so we dreamed up a classic (and sparkly!) black-tie evening with British touches to reflect both of our family heritages. I was initially disappointed to hear that we couldn’t get married at the church I attended during college, but when we heard Memorial Presbyterian was available, we couldn’t believe how perfect it was. It is next door to Wash U, is our denomination, and had the perfect grand, Gothic ambiance for our English-inspired ceremony.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The whole ceremony! Our pastor gave a beautiful charge about God’s purpose for marriage, and at one point, asked us to turn and face the congregation. The room was glowing with loved ones’ faces. We just smiled at each other and soaked in that coziest, happiest moment.

We chose a brass quartet for the ceremony music because Will grew up playing the trumpet, and we thought it would be fun to bring his love of brass into our wedding day! For the ceremony music, we decided to stick mostly to our favorite classic hymns. I walked down the aisle to “O God Beyond All Praising,” which we sing all the time at our church in Nashville. The congregation sang two hymns during the ceremony (thanks, friends!), “Be Thou my Vision” and “A Mighty Fortress is our God.” A bagpiper played through the snow as we exited the church in traditional British fashion

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? As my poor friends and family can tell you, I was an absolute mess stressing out about snow and ice, starting around Thanksgiving. The weather in St. Louis can really be anything anytime, and I was completely convinced that a huge blizzard would befall us and no one would make it to our wedding. I tried to convince Will and my mom that we needed to move the date, and when that failed, that we needed to make a special trip to St. Louis to bury the bourbon. They just shook their heads, so I had my small group praying for the weather for weeks! Well, when the sparkly snowflakes started to fall during our photo shoot, I laughed and exclaimed, “Thank you, Jesus, for the snow!” I could not imagine a more romantic finishing touch for our winter wedding, and the snowy photos are my absolute favorite reminders that God’s plans are better than mine. It made me think of how much I love the way snow slows life down and gives you time to just be still, which is how I wanted our wedding day to feel. Sure, our antique getaway car became an SUV, and guests’ flights home were canceled on Sunday, but boy did the snow look beautiful coming down out the windows of our reception!

For our reception, it was important to us to find a space with character and significance that wasn’t exclusively a reception venue. We joked that if each of us could choose our favorite non-geographical location, Will would choose a courtroom and I would choose a theater. (I was a theater major in college and worked in theater management in New York before law school.) Naturally, I won, and the 1934 Peabody Opera House was a dream! We fell in love with its opulent ceilings, gilded accents and cozy-but-stately feel. It screams black-tie winter wedding!

What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? A detail that was so special to me was that once the dancing got underway, I changed into the 1981 Priscilla of Boston gown my mom married my dad in. The only alteration we made was to remove the train, and it was perfect for dancing! I added a flower crown to look just like she did, and it was a really special moment. My dad was thrilled, and other relatives enjoyed telling me “I know that dress!” Some little details that I thought really added to the day included the strung lights that added ambiance over our reception, the couches that lined the dance floor for guests to take a break without leaving the action, and the band that had our guests dancing all night long!

Our décor was mostly ivory and gold, so we wanted to bring in some subtle blush pinks with the flowers. My favorite flowers are hydrangeas (which Will wrote down very early in our relationship), so we used a lot of them, along with roses, snapdragons, garden roses, and ranunculus. Our florist created an amazing canopy of elevated flowers hanging above our 34-person head table!

We had a traditional tiered cake with alternating layers of vanilla and caramel decorated with gold, and a groom’s cake with alternating layers of chocolate and red velvet, which is Will’s favorite. For a late night treat, we served my favorite St. Louis specialty: Ted Drewe’s Frozen Custard!

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? I’m not going to tell you not to stress about wedding planning, because let’s be real, it will inevitably be stressful. However, try to spend the weekend itself focusing on the people around you who love you enough to be there on your special day (and maybe even stand outside with sparklers at 11:00 P.M. in the snow!). All those people will never be in the same room with you again, and spending time with them is so much more important than the little details that go awry.

Tell us all about the proposal! We were in the middle of finals when Will suggested that we go for a hike before church the next morning to watch the sun rise over downtown Nashville. I thought it was a little suspicious when he kept changing the time that he wanted to pick me up, but with his hardest exam on Monday, I thought it would be the last day he would pick to propose. As we climbed the steep hill to Love Circle, I saw a picnic blanket with roses, photos of us, and my favorite breakfast sandwiches. I didn’t know what to do! Of course, I started crying, and as the sun rose behind us, Will took my hands and said a bunch of nice things I don’t remember until he got to “Catherine Elizabeth Moreton, will you marry me?” Our friend Ellen was there to capture the whole thing, and it was so much fun to share our news with our wonderful Nashville church family and then celebrate with worship and Sunday brunch.
When did y’all get married? February 28, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 300
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did not write our own vows, but we did memorize our vows! We wanted to make the same commitments that so many great couples before us have made to each other, but we also wanted the vows to feel more personal, so we bravely opted not to repeat after our pastor. Thankfully, we remembered them!
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? I think what makes a wedding Southern is how a couple thoughtfully incorporates faith, family, tradition, and hospitality in meaningful ways throughout the day to celebrate their love story and the people who brought them to where they are. I hope we accomplished that, because we tried! To start, my beautiful bridesmaids wore gold sequins to look similar to my gold sequined New Year’s Eve dress that caught Will’s eye the night we met. Our signature drinks were a “Make-her-Marks” Old Fashioned, because that is what we had on our first date in Nashville; and “Seaside Bride” champagne, because we went to Seaside for our honeymoon. One of the reasons for the date was that we met and fell in love in the winter. We tried to bring as much of our lives in Nashville into the day as possible, starting with having our pastor from Nashville marry us. That was a nice way to bring our church home to Missouri. We also served shrimp and grits at the cocktail hour, and included Will’s darling cousins from North Carolina to hand out programs and be our flower girl and ring bearer. Our invitations were hand-pressed at the Hound Dog Press in Louisville, Kentucky, where my mom and I had a great weekend designing everything with Nick on his antique machines. The gifts exchanged during the day also had a lot of Southern touches and meaning to us. On Friday night, my uncle gave Will his name carved out of wood to hang up with all the rest of the family names that hang on the porch of our lake house in Kentucky. I gave Will a journal I had been writing in to him since 2002. On our wedding day, he gave me a signet ring with my new monogram engraved on it, and I gave him a family Bible with our wedding as the first entry (as well as an in-progress needlepoint belt that is, unfortunately, still a work in progress). I gave my mom an engraved frame thanking her for everything, and my dad and brother got embroidered handkerchiefs.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We had great marriage counseling meetings with our pastor in Nashville, and we had marriage books all over our apartments, on tape in the car, everywhere! Tim Keller’s “The Meaning of Marriage” is such a blessing, honestly. We also had a great workbook that helped us talk through our plans and ideas about what we want our marriage to look like. We had fun with endless “1,001 Questions to Ask Before You Get Married” types of books, especially on road trips!
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We enlisted the talents of my incredible mama! She is a wedding coordinator and calligrapher, so we didn’t have to hire either. I knew the macro-level planning was in good hands with her at the helm, and she lovingly addressed all 250+ save the dates and 250+ invitations.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Besides the ceremony itself, Will and I both agree our favorite moment of the day was when we got back to our suite at the Ritz, collapsed onto the couch, poured a glass of champagne, and rehashed the entire day. Questions included: “Were you freezing waiting for me for the first look?” “What was your favorite part?” “What were you thinking when I was walking down the aisle?” It was our first moment of normalcy as a married couple, and we will never forget how thrilled we were!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are so excited to deck our Arlington, Virginia apartment out for Christmas (multiple trees!) and establish some Marks family Christmas traditions!

Photographer: Mike Cassimatis / Videographer: Lovebird Studios / Planner: Nancy Moreton (Bride’s mother) / Ceremony Venue: Memorial Presbyterian Church / Reception Venue and Caterer: Peabody Opera House / Florist: Lisa Molitor / Cake Baker: Sarah’s Cake Shop / Rentals: Amerevent Group / Lighting: Exclusive Events / Band: Griffin and the Gargoyles / Signage: Buffy Weddings / Party Favors: Trophy House Treasures / Paper Products: Hound Dog Press / Bride’s Gown and Veil: Heidi Elnora / Hair Accessories: Jennifer Behr and Enchanted Atelier by Liv Hart / Hair Stylist: Christy Parsons / Makeup Artist: Emily Miller Makeup / Bride’s Shoes: Kate Spade / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Blouson Bodice Sequin Mesh Gown in Gold by JS Collections / Attendant Dresses: Alfred Sung / Bridesmaid Furs: Tulip Bridal / Groom’s Attire: The Knot Standard / Flower Girl and Ring Bearer Attire: J. Crew / Getting Ready Location: The Ritz Carlton / Ceremony Musicians: Clarion Brass / Girls’ Getting Ready Robes: Just Cottons / Custom Invitation Design: Sarah Hanna / Wedding Logo Design: Folisi Design Studio / Photo Booth: Photography and Video Innovations / Late Night Snack: Ted Drewes Frozen Custard

lisa Written with love by Lisa
8 Comments
  1. avatar Alexandra reply

    Wow oh wow! This is such a beautiful wedding! I love all the personal touches throughout — it seems so personal. Thanks for sharing.

  2. avatar Meredith Sledge reply

    WOW! Phenomenal images!!

  3. avatar Bubbling Brides reply

    The sparkle accents are amazing. The sequin bridesmaid dresses are the best!

    XoXo,
    The Bubbling Brides Team
    Bubbling Brides

  4. avatar kelly reply

    oh i agree, this interview hands down is one of the very best!

  5. avatar Catherine reply

    We’re so honored to be included in the Southern Weddings family, and it was so fun to relive the day! Thank you so much Lisa and Emily!

  6. avatar Dana reply

    This is quite the royal looking winter wedding!

  7. avatar Wedding Wednesday No. 1: Our Proposal Story – Classic Catherine reply

    […] Once that nerve-wracking bit had passed and the surreal feeling of being engaged started to set in, everything comes back into sharper focus in my memory. Then, of course, it was time to check out that ring! I LOVE SPARKLY THINGS. […]

  8. avatar Baby’s First Snow! – Attention to Darling reply

    […] both featured on Southern Weddings. So happy she did! See their GORGEOUS winter wedding here and our home feature here. Finally, just for perspective, here’s a before picture […]

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I can’t think of a lovelier way to start the week than Kelly and Chris’ bright, joyful Charlottesville wedding! Kelly is a talented food blogger and one of our Southern Bride Bloggers, so we already knew she had an eye for fun details and a love of all things colorful. That cheery aesthetic combined with the sweet touches she had always dreamed of including in her wedding (like walking down the aisle to Pachelbel’s “Canon in D”), nods to her and Chris’ love story (they got engaged in Charlottesville and hope to call it home someday, too!), and plenty of Southern goodness (ahem, ham biscuits), made for quite the celebration, as well as the sweetest setting for Kelly and Chris to become husband and wife!

Thank you so much to our dear friend Jodi Miller for sharing this fun day with us!

We had so many beautiful details, but I absolutely LOVED our wedding paper! The invitations were really important to us, as this is the first glimpse guests have into your big day, so I wanted to make them extra special. So many details went into these beauties, including custom calligraphy, hand-painted watercolor, gold foil, and pretty ribbon, all tied together in peony colored envelopes with vintage stamps. I’m still getting compliments on our invites to this day!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. After visiting about 10 different dress boutiques and still feeling disappointed, I randomly came across the designer Augusta Jones at a trunk show and fell in love! The detail of the lace she used was just exquisite and so romantic, I knew I had to have one of her dresses. Well, when I went to try on a few, I was completely torn between two–I loved the top part of one dress that had this gorgeous neckline with lace falling across the shoulders, but the bottom of another dress. When I shared my dilemma with the stylist, she informed me that Augusta Jones loves doing custom orders, so they could combine both and give me my dream dress! I cried right there on the spot and knew I had found the “one!”

Describe your wedding flowers. Oh, our flowers! I knew from the beginning of the wedding planning process that our florals would be one of the most important details that we wanted to showcase, and Southern Blooms certainly delivered! I chose an array of peaches, pinks, and golds with lots of lush greenery, and I literally cried when I saw my bouquet for the first time. It was full of garden roses, beautiful peonies, and ranunculus, with eucalyptus leaves and vines cascading down, all wrapped up in long, gorgeous ribbon. Our farm head table had this amazing floral runner with tons of candles on it, and the guests’ tables had tall candelabras with overflowing flowers on the top. It was simply magical!

At first, we were against doing a first look, as Chris was adamant about not wanting to see me until I walked down the aisle. After talking it over and knowing we wanted to make the most of our amazing photographers, as well as enjoy cocktail hour with our guests, we decided on doing a first look, which ended up being a huge blessing. We were able to get so many gorgeous photos outside at the vineyard before it poured on us!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? Charlottesville, Virginia is such a special place to us, as we are huge UVA fans. Some of our first dates were spent drinking wine at the vineyards, and it was also where Chris proposed, so it was pretty much a given that we were going to plan our wedding there! Veritas Winery was the first place I looked, and not only did it have some of the most gorgeous mountain views, but the ballroom absolutely blew me away. It reminded me of a tented reception, which is something I had always envisioned for our wedding, with its floor-to-ceiling white drapery. Needless to say, we signed a contract that day and I never even looked anywhere else!

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The biggest challenge actually didn’t come until the day-of! We had gorgeous weather all day, but we knew Tropical Storm Bill was expected to hit us right around 6 P.M. when the wedding was about to start. Sadly, we had to make the call that afternoon to have the ceremony inside so that the florist could set everything up for the ceremony, even though the weather was absolutely beautiful at the time. Luckily, we had amazingly talented people who were able to make the ballroom look so breathtaking, and we were still able to overlook the mountains, as we were married right in front of floor-to-ceiling windows.

Ever since I was a little girl, I have always envisioned a beautifully classic wedding ceremony that included Pachelbel’s “Canon in D.” The bridesmaids all walked down to an instrumental version of “A Thousand Years,” but when Pachelbel’s Canon started, it was the first time that day that I was instantly brought to tears. My dad and I waited a few seconds to walk so that I could take in that special moment and reflect on what was to come. It truly made our wedding complete and is something I’ll always remember!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? To maintain that Southern feel, we had his and hers signature cocktails named “The Belle” and “The Beau,” the guys all wore pink bow ties, and we served delicious Virginia baked ham biscuits with apple glaze during cocktail hour, which really made us feel at home! We also had a drink station set up for guests with sweet tea, lemonade, and water with fresh cucumber and mint, and our welcome bags had local Southern fare that our guests absolutely loved!

What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? Charlottesville has some amazing local vendors, so we were able to cut transportation and delivery costs by using them. My talented cousin designed some of our beautiful signage and our florist re-purposed the ceremony flowers and bridesmaid bouquets at the reception, which saved us lots of money!

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Your wedding is only ONE day, but your marriage lasts forever! I had to continually remind myself of this throughout the planning process, as I’m super detail-oriented and would start to obsess over how the napkins were to be folded, if I should have ribbon or greenery at each place setting, where the cakes should be displayed, etc. At the end of the day, no one noticed the extra ribbon, nor did they care how the napkins were folded, but everyone had the most amazing time and we have so many memories that we will carry with us forever!

We chose to have three mini cakes that varied in size and were adorned with gorgeous greenery and flowers. They were displayed on a gold sequined overlay, which really made them stand out. We also have a close friend who owns her own donut truck, and she surprised us with over 200 cinnamon apple donuts for our guests!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Chris and I were introduced at a Rascal Flatts concert in 2010. We literally danced the night away and I was instantly smitten! Ironically, I found out that not only did we have many friends in common, but he had grown up in the same town as I did my entire life, and we were even born in the same hospital only 10 days apart! I knew we were meant to be.
Tell us all about the proposal! Chris and I absolutely love Virginia wine country and Charlottesville is one place that is near and dear to our hearts. Knowing this, Chris planned a special trip to Trump Winery on Thanksgiving weekend, which wasn’t out of the ordinary, since we go so often and he knew our family would all be in town. When we got there, we found a cozy little spot outside by a fire that sat us all, and Chris wanted to get a picture of us in front of the beautiful scenery. When we posed for the picture, which unbeknownst to me was actually a video, he got down on one knee in front of our friends and family and asked me to marry him! It was the perfect proposal and a moment I’ll never forget!
When did y’all get married? June 20, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 150
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We were both so nervous that we decided not to write our own vows, but we did write personal letters to each other to read before the ceremony, which was very special to us.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? My absolute favorite verses have always been 1 Corinthians 13:4-12 and Ephesians 4:2 which, to me, sum up the beauty of true, unconditional love. I think it’s so important for our marriage that our love continues to grow through our shared love for God.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Praying with each other daily is really important in our relationship, and has only brought us closer together as a couple. We also have some amazing people in our lives who model what a true happy and healthy marriage should look like, so we hope to follow in their footsteps!
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $50,000-$75,000
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Oh goodness, ALL of our vendors were absolutely amazing and I loved everyone that we worked with, but we were truly blessed to have some amazing planners! Ainsley and Wendy of Fete Weddings became such close friends to us throughout the entire process and truly went above and beyond all that was asked of them. For instance, one of our wedding guests had a strap that broke on her dress, and without hesitation, Ainsley whipped out a sewing kit from her apron and fixed it right there on the spot! I couldn’t have asked for better girls to work with and I knew we were in such great hands!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are currently living in our first home together in Northern Virginia with our sweet pup Oliver, but our dream is to build a home in Charlottesville for our future family. We’re also looking forward to welcoming our second niece into the family and spending lots of time with them!
Is there anything else you’d like to share about your wedding? One thing that was really special for me was that my brother, who is in the U.S. Marine Corps, was able to fly all the way from Japan, where he is currently stationed, to be at our wedding. I only get to see him maybe once year if I’m lucky, so having him be apart of everything was truly a blessing!

Photographer: Jodi Miller Photography / Planner: Fete Weddings / Venue and Caterer: Veritas Vineyards & Winery / Florist: Southern Blooms / Cake Baker: Sweethaus / Rentals: BB&J Linens / DJ: Roger Cruz of Astro Entertainment / Signage: The Paper Walrus / Paper Products and Calligraphy: Goodheart Design / Bride’s Gown: Custom by Augusta Jones / Bride’s Shoes and Jewelry: Kate Spade / Hair and Makeup: Ave 42 / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Morgan”, “Sarah” and “Rhea” in Blush, Honeysuckle and Peach Fuzz by Donna Morgan / Menswear: Jean Yves / Laser-Cut Wooden Tags: Laura Hooper Calligraphy

Jodi Miller Photography is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory, and Donna Morgan is a delightful SW sponsor!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
3 Comments
  1. avatar Southern Blooms by Pat’s Floral Designs reply

    We are so excited to see Kelly and Chris featured today! Kelly was a dream bride – great ideas, a love of color, and so much enthusiasm for life. We are honored to have been included in the spectacular team that was assembled for this gorgeous day!

  2. avatar Announcing the Pantone Design Competition Winners – Blog for Wedding Industry Professionals reply

    […] Photo Credits: Balloons via Design Love Fest/Flowers: Designed by Gypsy Floral via Moncheribridals.com/Confetti: Photographer Emily Crall via Le Magnifique Blog/Bride and Flowers: Photographer Kelsea Holder via Wedding Chicks/Car: Photographer Steven Goovaerts via Glamorous Housewife/Cake: Designed by the Art of Baking via Modern Wedding/Invites: Photographer Jodi & Kurt Photography via Southern Weddings […]

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    […] Pink Watercolor invitation by Goodheart Design, photo by Jodi Miller Photography via Southern Weddings […]

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When planning a wedding, there are a million things that can distract from what really matters, which is why I admire Wendy and Travis so much for the two things they committed to focusing on. Number one, they kept in mind that their wedding was first and foremost about them becoming husband and wife. Number two, they wanted to take the opportunity to celebrate the people who had helped shape them into who they are today. From the details inspired by Athens, Georgia, where their love story started, to the creative way Wendy saved money on her gown in order to put that budget toward caring for their guests, they did a beautiful job bringing both of their priorities to life, with the help of Candice Beaty at Chancey Charm Weddings!

Thank you so much to Lauren Carnes for sharing this sweet celebration with us!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t dreamed about finding THE dress in a bridal store, but when it came down to our budget, buying a designer dress wasn’t very high on my list of priorities. Instead, I looked into alternative wedding dress sites that would help keep costs down (OnceWed, Preowned Wedding Dresses, etc.), and ultimately decided on a dress that I found on Etsy. I ordered it in plenty of time to buy a gown from a traditional retailer if it didn’t work out, but I’m happy to report that it fit perfectly! My dress was delivered about a month after I ordered it, and although I made some minor alterations, I was very happy with it. For the ceremony and portraits, I added a Watters lace overlay that I bought on Tradesy. As someone who is not the slightest bit creative, I can confidently say that, with a little bit of work, it is possible to have your dream dress and not break the bank!

We decided to do a first look, and I would totally recommend it to any other couples who are even considering it. Our first look was a time for us to steal away for just a few moments. We exchanged letters we had written to one another and just took everything in. Seeing Travis prior to the ceremony helped settle my nerves so much, too! Our first look was probably my favorite moment of the day. Aside from that, it was important to both of us that our wedding party was able to enjoy the reception (and join up with their significant others) as soon after the ceremony as possible. Since we chose to do a first look, we were able to take group photos before the ceremony, which helped streamline the group photo process so much.

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. “In Christ Alone” was played during the seating of the mothers and grandparents, and I walked myself down the aisle to “How Deep The Father’s Love For Us.” My dad passed away three years ago, so not only was this song special because of its message, but it was also a way to remember him while I walked down the aisle. Travis and I walked out to “Something Beautiful” by Needtobreathe, a song and band that we both love.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Aside from the hummingbird cakes, we incorporated some Athens and Georgia-inspired touches into our reception. We served Terrapin beer, a beer brewed right in Athens, along with artwork by our dear friend and Atlanta artist, Britt Bass Turner, on the cookies. My sorority sisters sang our traditional wedding song to Travis and I, while his fraternity brothers performed what can affectionately be called their “fraternity chant.” Finally, the setting alone was very Southern! The magnolia trees, the blooming hydrangeas, and the rustic scenery all contributed to the Southern vibe of our wedding.

I asked Mary, my florist, to do something soft and feminine with an organic look, and she totally delivered! I know very little about floral design, so I showed Mary some bouquets that I liked and let her run with it. She knew exactly what I was looking for, from the ribbons on the bridesmaid bouquets to the greenery on the farm tables!

Instead of one large wedding cake, we chose to do a bunch of smaller ones that would allow people to taste a little bit of each flavor. We had traditional vanilla and chocolate cakes, as well as two hummingbird cakes. My grandmother always made each grandchild a hummingbird cake for our birthdays when we were younger, and she would decorate them with little animal figurines that made them feel so magical. The hummingbird cakes were a little way to remember her, since she was such an important part of our family. We also had cookies from Kellie’s Baking Co., complete with our friend Britt Bass Turner’s designs on them. The cookies were almost too cute to eat!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Travis and I were introduced by a mutual friend at Travis’ fraternity house during our freshman year at the University of Georgia. We didn’t talk long since Travis was tending to a dizzy-bat-gone-wrong scenario at the house. I walked away thinking, “Hm, he was cute.” We stayed in touch throughout freshman and sophomore years, mostly because our friend groups overlapped. Travis was busy cultivating a budding social life and staying involved in the fraternity, and I was busy spending countless hours tied to my chemistry notes. Needless to say, we weren’t seeing too much of one another. Fast forward to our junior year when Travis asked me on his fraternity formal in Nashville. He was the fraternity president at the time, so I obviously had to say yes. I am so glad I did! We had a great time in Nashville, and shortly after we got back, Travis manned up and asked me on a real date. The rest, as they say, is history!
Tell us all about the proposal! This past fall, my birthday fell on a big football weekend (UGA v. Clemson), which was wonderful, because all of our friends were in town and it felt like a big party! Travis had slyly asked me earlier if I would rather celebrate my birthday with all of our friends in Athens, or have a date, just the two of us, the following week. Not one to deny the chance to stretch out a birthday celebration, I asked if we could go to dinner the week after somewhere in Atlanta. Travis and I made our way to downtown Atlanta for dinner that Friday evening, and–miracle of all miracles–didn’t hit any traffic at all on the I-75/85 connector. If you live in Atlanta, you understand how rare and precious this is! Travis told me we were a bit too early for our dinner reservation, so we decided to grab a drink to buy some time. Afterwards, while we were walking to dinner, we passed a park that had lights glowing at the top of a hill. I was curious, so I told him I was going to quickly go see what was going on. When we got closer, I could see that the lights were actually lit candles surrounding a blanket and a bottle of champagne. It wasn’t until Travis was on one knee that I knew it was real. We were engaged!! We got to celebrate with our families at breakfast the next morning and started the planning right away. It was the perfect amount of time alone and celebrating with friends and family. I wish I could relive that night over and over!
When did y’all get married? May 9, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 250
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Travis and I were part of a premarital counseling program through our church. They paired us with a mentor couple who walked beside us over several months as we prepared for marriage. We met regularly with this couple and discussed everything from finances to expectations within the home to perceptions of marriage. In addition, we met with our officiant (who also happens to be our couples’ small group leader) and his wife a few times. We dove into “The Five Love Languages” and “Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts” with them. All of these efforts have been so valuable, and we’re already incorporating the things we took away from these sessions into our marriage.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? More than anything, we wanted our wedding to be a time to celebrate all the people who had helped shape us, both together and individually. When considering where we were going to save money, we chose to cut corners in places that we felt wouldn’t affect our guests: my dress and his tux, the save the dates and invitations, and supplying our own alcohol were probably the biggest places we saved. We also scaled back on any upgrades to chairs for wedding seating, chose to do a buffet-style dinner, and used a DJ rather than a band for the reception. All of these things helped save so much money and didn’t detract from the day in the slightest bit!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? When we first got engaged, my sister told me “everyone will have an opinion.” And it’s so true! As someone who’s really sensitive to this sort of input, I sometimes had to step back and realize that I wasn’t going to make everyone happy, but that’s not what the day was about! I guess my advice would be this: everyone will have an opinion, but it’s so important to do whatever suits you and your future husband best. I tried to include Travis in any decision that I was making. It made our wedding day so fun knowing that we had created this thing from the ground up, and it was a small taste of what it would be like to make joint decisions as husband and wife.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Now that we’ve both finished grad school (one week before our wedding, no less), we’re so excited to enjoy our time together in the same city! We hope to explore more neighborhoods in Atlanta, find little spots that we can call our own, and grow some roots in our community. We also hope to travel a good bit in the next couple of years!

Photographer: Lauren Carnes Photography / Planner: Candice Beaty of Chancey Charm Weddings / Venue: The Hill at Epting Events / Florist: Mary Eddy at Vine and Branch Floral / Cake Baker: Cakes by Anna Johnson / Cookie Baker: Kellie’s Baking Co. and Britt Bass Turner / Caterer: Epting Events / Cocktail Hour Music: Clayton Lee / DJ: Hollon Yarborough at Amp’d Entertainment / Calligraphy: Betsy Paolella / Bride’s Gown: MisDress / Bride’s Lace Overlay: Wtoo / Hair and Makeup: Jen Lewis at Pastel Makeup and Hair / Bride’s Shoes: “Glittering Gold Heels” by Seychelles / Groom’s Jacket: Jos. A. Bank

lisa Written with love by Lisa
6 Comments
  1. avatar Dana reply

    I love their engagement story! Birthday week and a proposal!

  2. avatar Lindy reply

    LOVE this wedding! So gorgeous!! And those cookies… I’ve loved Britt Bass Turner’s artwork since I stumbled upon it about a year ago… and seeing her work on cookies is just amazing! What a creative way to add a bit of whimsy to your wedding (and so sweet since she’s a personal friend… love little details like that!)

  3. avatar Lauren Carnes reply

    Thank you so much for sharing this gorgeous and heartfelt wedding and story! Wendy & Travis are such wonderful people and it was an honor to capture their day!

  4. avatar Alexandra reply

    What a wonderful wedding full of the stuff that really matters. I love how they prepared for marriage so thoroughly!

  5. avatar Candice Beaty reply

    Ladies! I am so honored! Seriously so squealing and squeaking honored to be featured! Wendy is such an incredible girl and friend and her wedding exploded with her joyful and amazing heart! Thank you for loving it as much as we do!

  6. avatar Naomi Jane reply

    Thanks for sharing this heart touching love story. It reminded me of my wedding story. Everything from proposal to wedding looks a fairytale. Congrats Wendy and Travis. May you have love and happiness around forever.

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