Bride McKenzie shares her blue wedding at the historic Garibaldi Cafe.
Call me old school, but I not-so-secretly love when couples opt out of a first look. And today’s bride McKenzie is a girl after my own heart! She and her beloved Andrew decided that seeing each other when those big church doors opened for their ceremony was going to be just enough to calm their nerves, and it became one of McKenzie’s favorite moments of the day. (Though she did do a first look with her daddy: one of my favorite traditions!) Another favorite for this sweet duo? Seeing all their family and friends who made the trip to Savannah to celebrate with them. McKenzie said, “It was such a surreal feeling to look around the room. A year worth of planning had come together in the most romantic way. More importantly, it was the first, and probably only, time that all of our friends and families from both sides were all together.” You’ll definitely want to keep reading about these newlyweds!
Big SW hugs to Shannon Griffin for sharing this lovely Georgia day with us!
When did y’all get married? June 10, 2017.
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 100.
Our ceremony began at 2:00 p.m., so there was a little gap of time between when the ceremony ended and when we wanted the cocktail hour to begin. One of the things that Andrew and I love so much about Savannah is the history. Most of our guests had never even been to Savannah so we thought what better way to show everyone around than a Historic Trolley Tour. After the ceremony the guests were able to get the party started on air conditioned trolleys with some beverages. The tour guides were hilarious and kept them entertained while the wedding party was busy taking pictures. We had great feedback from everyone on what a great idea it was.
Tell us the highlights of finding your wedding dress. I had seen the gown on Pinterest in a fall wedding picture a while before I ever got engaged. I loved the dress from the moment I saw the picture. When searching for my gown, every time I would try on a dress I kept thinking about the gown from the picture. I did a little research to find the designer and where there would be a trunk show close to me. Calvet Couture Bridal had a sample at their trunk show, and the ladies who worked there were amazing. They helped me to imagine the dress without sleeves and adjusting the neckline to better fit my style. Our wedding was going to be in Savannah in June and sleeves were just not going to work. The owner talked me through the changes we were going to make, and I couldn’t have been happier with the way it turned out!
Andrew and I wanted to keep the tradition of having our first look be as the church doors opened. Our photographer, Shannon Griffin, made a suggestion that I do a first look with my father instead. This ended up being such a special moment for us. This was a time for just my dad and I to spend with each other by ourselves. It was emotional, but helped me get over some of my nerves. After all… he was going to be the one walking me down the aisle. The pictures of these few minutes of my dad seeing me for the first time turned out absolutely amazing and something that I will cherish forever.
What were some of the most meaningful or special parts of your ceremony? Our ceremony was a half mass at Sacred Heart Catholic Church. Even though Andrew is Catholic and I am Methodist, we always knew that we wanted to get married in a church. I will never forget the moment that those huge wooden doors swung open and I could see him at the end of the aisle. I am typically more reserved and was nervous about being in front of what I felt like was so many people (even though we had a relatively small wedding). When the doors opened and I could see him, all of my nervousness was calmed. Looking around and seeing our closest friends and family was such a blessing.
Tell us your love story in one sentence. A love that started four years ago just keeps getting sweeter each and every day!
Tell us all about the proposal! Andrew and I are both from Florida and have lived here our whole lives, so naturally the beach is our favorite getaway spot. We headed to Seaside for the first weekend in June to spend a little time relaxing after we both finished up our busy season with work. It seemed like a completely normal weekend for us. We stayed at the cutest beach cottage close to all the fun restaurants and shops! We had reservations for dinner at a restaurant overlooking the water, Fish Out of Water, so we headed up to get ready after a short time on the beach. On the way back to the cottage, Andrew mentioned that we needed to leave the cottage an hour early to head to dinner. I thought it was a little strange because we were staying right up the road and were going to just walk. He played it off saying that we should take our time walking there and we didn’t want to be late for our reservation. I agreed and didn’t think much about it. On the way to dinner we decided to walk along the beach because it was sunset. Everything was so beautiful! As we were walking along the beach we came to a spot where it was just the two of us. Before I knew it he was on his knee asking me to be his wife. The moment was perfect!
What was your favorite thing about wedding planning? My favorite part about wedding planning was the time that I was able to spend with Andrew and my family. Andrew and I did as much planning together as we could. Going into the planning process, I didn’t know how much Andrew would want to do, but he was more than helpful! After all, this was OUR wedding. We made little trips to Savannah several times throughout the year to plan, but also made it an excuse to have mini vacations. My family was a huge help when it came to everything coming together and needing an extra hand here and there along the way! It was important to me to include them in as much as possible.
What was the hardest part about planning your wedding? The hardest part about planning our wedding was definitely the guest list. From the beginning we wanted to make sure that we had an intimate wedding so that we could truly spend time with everyone who made the trip. Having a destination wedding made it a little easier because we knew right off the bat that some people were not going to be able to travel, but nonetheless it was still difficult. There is nothing worse than the feeling of not being able to invite people that you would love to have celebrate with you.
What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? We chose for our ceremony to be at a smaller Catholic church in Savannah, Sacred Heart. Sacred Heart was built in 1902 and had the charm that we were looking for. This beautiful brick church was filled with stained glass windows, wooden pews and floors, marble steps, gold detailing, and so much more. Our reception venue was a great surprise just when we were about to give up on our venue search. We had been to so many different venues on a weekend trip to Savannah shortly after we got engaged. We were struggling to find something within our price range, inside with air conditioning, while also providing a Savannah feel. We were finishing up lunch before heading back to Tallahassee when my mom texted me telling me she came across a venue that we should just check out really quick. So we did, and… it was perfect from the moment we walked in. Garibaldi Cafe was the original Fire Station of Savannah when it was built. It had a downstairs area to use for cocktail hour and then a gorgeous upstairs for the reception. Upstairs had huge windows and mirrors that made the room feel very large, but still intimate. It was the perfect size for our wedding with 100 people. It was just what we were looking for!
What was your favorite detail from your wedding? If I had to choose a favorite detail, I would say that it was the antique hobnail glass vases that we used for the floral arrangements. Over the year, my mom, grandma, and I traveled to different antique shops collecting opaque hobnail glass. The glass was mostly clear with hints of white and blue that matched everything perfectly. Because they were antiques, we collected each unique piece as we found them. Every table at the wedding had difference vases that made up the centerpieces. I loved that each table was unique!
What was Southern about your wedding? Because we were in Savannah, I feel like almost everything was Southern about the wedding. The old venues, the Victorian home we stayed in, ruffled bridesmaid dresses, wooden trolleys, huge oak trees, antique glass, delicious desserts, Savannah honey wedding favors…
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding. Andrew and I were both brought up listening to good ole country music. We both feel that there is nothing better than 90s country songs. Picking out our first dance song seemed like an impossible task for some reason. It was one of the last decisions that we made, but we couldn’t have been happier with our choice of “Keeper of the Stars” by Tracy Byrd. We also loved the song “Thinking out Loud” by Ed Sheeran, so we wrapped up our final dance with that one!
What was your most memorable moment from your wedding day? There were so many great memories from our wedding day that I could go on forever. I think the moments that stand out to me the most now are the times that Andrew and I stopped to just take everything in. After we did our dances and walked around talking to all of our guests, we sat at our sweetheart table in the center of the room and just enjoyed everything. It was such a surreal feeling to look around the room. A year worth of planning had come together in the most romantic way. More importantly, it was the first and probably only time that all of our friends and families from both sides were all together. We were so blessed and humbled that so many people we love were able to make the trip to celebrate us.
What advice would you give to someone currently planning a wedding? The best advice I would give is to pace yourself. I had an entire year to plan our wedding and I truly feel like it was the perfect amount of time for me. We started shortly after getting engaged and planned up until about three weeks before. We would do as much as we could on weekend trips to Savannah. We would try to knock out all of our appointments in as few days as possible to cut down on the traveling. Money can become stressful, so we paid vendors all along the way instead of having everything due the month before the wedding. It made things much nicer when unexpected costs came up at the last minute. AND always remember to make time for each other between all of the cake tastings and floral arrangements.
What did you serve for your wedding cake or dessert? Dessert is my favorite course, so we went all out with a Southern-themed dessert table. Our three-tiered cake had layers of both Georgia peach and hummingbird. We also had several other mini desserts for the guests to sample. My favorite dessert is bananas foster, so we had mini bananas foster bundt cakes that were amazing. Andrew naturally picked out his favorite dessert… key lime pie. And no Southern sweets table would be complete without pecan pie. The last dessert we chose was a Savannah staple, pralines that melted in your mouth. This created a variety to choose from that was perfect for everyone’s palate!
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We had a unique way that we saved money, and it turned out to be one of my favorite parts about the weekend. We were sensitive to the fact that our wedding party was going to be spending a lot of money on travel and accommodations because our wedding was destination for everyone. It was important to us that we all stayed in the same place and we knew that the hotel options were not going to be affordable to everyone. That is when we came across Savannah Villas rental properties. They have three different properties that we were able to rent from them. One house was for my family, one house was for Andrew’s family, and one property was for us. The property that we stayed in comfortably fit 26 people! Our entire wedding party and their dates were all able to stay together in one huge house. This ended up being significantly cheaper than staying in a hotel and way more fun. The Victorian style house was built in 1871 and located in the Historic District. It was absolutely beautiful and our wedding party LOVED IT! They even had a penthouse suite for Andrew and I to have our own space that was a little separated from the rest of the house. We were able to have our hair and makeup done at the house with all of my girls while the guys used the downstairs apartment to get ready. We were all on the same property, but completely separated for getting ready. Since we were staying in a house, we were able to stock it full of breakfast foods and snacks for the weekend. It was such a comfortable feeling to have a home away from home for the weekend. Not to mention, the photographs of getting ready were beautiful!
Photographer: Shannon Griffin Photography | Planner: Lacy McLaurin with Design Studio South | Ceremony Venue: Sacred Heart Catholic Church | Reception Venue: Garibaldi Café | Florist: Kato Floral Designs| Wedding Cake Baker: Savannah Hall of Cakes | DJ: The Sound Guy | Paper Products: Do Tell Calligraphy and Design | Bride’s Gown: “Hayley” by Hayley Paige. Gown and Veil from Calvet Couture Bridal | Hair Stylist: Jessica Bailey with Enchanted Salon | Bride’s Shoes: “Imagine” by Vince Camuto | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “N358” in Blue Steel by Nouvelle Amsale | Menswear: The Black Tux | Napkins and Bridesmaid Bags: Monogrammit | House for Wedding Party: Savannah Villas | Guest Trolleys: Kelly Tours | Wedding Party Trolleys: Old Savannah Tours | Favors: Savannah Bee Company | Bridesmaid Robes: Fancy Art Decor