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Though Catherine and Will did give a lot of thought to eloping, they ultimately decided they wanted to celebrate their marriage with their friends and family, so a wedding weekend it was! After a whirlwind search that ended with lots of great venues but none that felt exactly right, they found themselves on a tour of Blue Ribbon Vendor RT Lodge. The peaceful atmosphere and opportunity to have the property all to themselves for the weekend sealed the deal!

String lights, bales of hay covered in family quilts, and s’mores by the fire helped create the magical, “grown-up summer camp” feel Catherine and Will were hoping for. And judging from the joy in these photos, I’m thinking they’re pretty glad they didn’t decide to elope!

Thanks to Cody Myers for sharing their sweet Tennessee day with us!

The wedding dress wasn’t a detail of planning that I was especially excited about, so I put off looking until a ways into our engagement. Because we were on a tight timeline, I knew we needed to find something that day. After trying on a few dresses that were definitely not the one at different shops, we went to The Sentimentalist. The dress I ended up going with was flowy and relaxed with great lines. It had the perfect feel for our wedding, and I couldn’t have been happier!

I was very against the idea of not seeing Will until I walked down the aisle, so we both had breakfast at the lodge with our bridesmaids and groomsmen. Seeing him that morning was so nice, and it set a great tone for the day. If it was supposed to be one of the most important days of our life, it didn’t seem right not to spend most of it together! After breakfast, we went our separate ways to get ready with our friends, and then we had a first look in our wedding clothes in the woods at the Lodge.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? We gave a lot of thought to eloping, but once we decided to have a wedding weekend, we decided to get married in the mountains in North Carolina. After a whirlwind search, we decided to go look at RT Lodge in Tennessee. It isn’t what I thought we were looking for, but as we toured the property under umbrellas, the peaceful atmosphere pulled us in! It really felt like grown-up summer camp in the woods.

We used traditional Presbyterian vows, and we loved the simplicity and significance of those words that have been said time and again…”in plenty and in want; in joy and in sorrow; in sickness and in health, as long as we both shall live.” And it was so meaningful to use the words “husband” and “wife” for the first time!

The only readings we had at the ceremony were two Bible verses. One of our officiants read Romans 12:1-2, 9-18, and our other officiant read Colossians 3:12-17. We wanted our ceremony to be simple, meaningful, and very centered on God.

We wanted our ceremony music to be traditional, but walking down the aisle made me nervous, and listening to traditional processional songs made me even more nervous, so we decided to go with a more contemporary song for that part! One of our officiants suggested at an early meeting that we have everyone sing a hymn during the ceremony, and we chose one of our favorites (“Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing”). We chose to have the hymn be played right after communion, so we were still sitting down in the seats with everyone, which was so sweet.

Will and I danced to Blake Shelton’s “Mine Would Be You” for our first dance. Our bluegrass band played a shortened version of it and it was really fun! My dad and I danced to Elvis’s “Sweet Caroline,” a song he would sing to me when I was a baby.

Our cocktail hour site was a grassy area just behind the ceremony site that had strung lights from trees Alex had planted and hay bales covered in family quilts around a fire. One other really sweet detail we loved was that after our rehearsal dinner, everyone hung out by the fire making s’mores and relaxing. It was the perfect ending to a really great day.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Will and I met on my first day of work at the Tennessee governor’s office (I give him a hard time because he doesn’t remember meeting me!). We slowly became office friends, and after a while, things began to shift into the possibility of becoming more. Will finally asked me out on an October Friday to go watch a Braves playoff game after work. After a somewhat bumpy first date (I was really nervous and didn’t even have my ID!), the rest of our story has been an amazing adventure!
Tell us all about the proposal! As soon as our busiest season of work ended, Will planned a trip to the Grove Park Inn in Asheville for a weekend getaway. On Saturday, we drove up the Blue Ridge Parkway to find a place to hike. After a lot of discussion with locals about where to go, we ended up at the summit of the Craggy Gardens Pinnacle trail with 360-degree views. After enjoying the view for a few minutes and taking some pictures, Will began saying some amazing things, and he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him! We were able to enjoy the rest of the day up on the mountain, and then we celebrated with a perfect dinner in downtown Asheville. We didn’t tell anyone the news that day (except for every stranger I encountered!), so on Sunday, we spent the drive home calling friends, and even stopped in Knoxville to tell my mom on Mother’s Day (my dad already knew).
When did y’all get married? October 24, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 105
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: For me, the paper aspect of the wedding were something I was very excited about! I was able to create the save the dates and I painted the fireplace at the lodge and did the calligraphy, and we had Chelsea Petaja create the most wonderful invitation suite. I loved working with her and I couldn’t have been happier with the way everything turned out. I love vintage stationery and stamps, so I started collecting old stamps as soon as we got engaged. Each envelope had six or seven vintage stamps on it! One of our favorite details of the actual wedding was the ceremony and cocktail hour sites–Alex (our coordinator) made those blank canvases come to life!
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! Making sure I was wearing each category was one of the details that ended up not happening in the chaos of the weekend, so I only had a borrowed veil and new dress/shoes. BUT, there was a lot of “old” strung throughout the wedding, like the old (and blue!) Chevy truck, the cake topper, the film photography, the Super 8 video, my paternal grandparents’ wedding guest book that we used as our guest book. We laugh that our wedding was straight out of the 50s!
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? Will had a special bourbon bar during the reception, which was made up of a selection of bourbon from Southern distilleries. For our rehearsal dinner (which took place on the front lawn of RT), we ate barbecue, drank Cokes in glass bottles, and had banana pudding served in the sweetest Spode Woodland bunny bowls. Most of our food had a Southern base, from fried chicken at my bridal luncheon Friday to collards at the reception!
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We tried to be very intentional about the fact that the wedding was only one day in the scope of our entire marriage, so we went to a marriage seminar, had counseling with our minister, and read a lot of books together like Tim Keller’s “The Meaning of Marriage.”
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? We had Campbell Brewer film our wedding in Super 8 video. The nostalgic feel of our video is incredible, and all of our details fit perfectly with that medium. He edited amazing videos for us. Because we had an amazing film photographer (Cody Myers) shoot the weeding, the video truly feels like our photos came to life! I loved using the wedding as an excuse to hire really talented people I know. My friend, artist James Worsham, created our altar–it was so perfect! He really set the scene with the wood altar, the fabric draped over, and the copper flower stands he made! Also, I had an artist I know from high school, Adele Yonchak, paint small canvases for my bridesmaids; they turned out so perfectly, and I loved being able to give them to my closest friends.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? It was really important to us that the day be centered around the ceremony. Communion was served during our ceremony, and being able to experience that sacred moment with our closest family and friends while rain lightly fell was so special.
Is there anything else you’d like to share about your wedding? Will loves old trucks, and I was able to borrow an amazing 1960s Chevy pickup truck from a couple I know in Knoxville. There was a road next to our ceremony site, so Will drove us away from the ceremony in that! Our videographers got amazing Super 8 footage from the bed of the truck, and even running alongside while we were driving.

Photographer: Cody Myers | Videographer: Campbell Brewer of Clark Brewer Photography | Planner, Venue, Catering, Rentals, and Lighting: RT Lodge | Florist: Lisa Foster Floral Design | Wedding Cake: Cheryl McMillan Cake Design | Cake Topper: The Delightful Crow | Ceremony Music: Tim West and Adam Cromer | Band: Sweetwater Road Band | Paper Products: Chelsea Petaja | Save the Dates: 23Postcards | Printing: Midtown Printing and For Your Party | Invitation Stamps: Bride and Verde Studio | Bride’s Gown: “Kerry” by Theia | Bridal Salon: The Sentimentalist | Hair Stylist: Eric Patterson and Elisabetta Proietto of Twisted Scissors | Makeup Artist: Patty Watson | Bride’s Shoes: Tali Grand Waterproof Bow Wedge in Canyon Rose by Cole Haan | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Annabelle” in Shadow Grey, Mist Grey, and Blush by BHLDN | Groom’s Attire: Brooks Brothers | Groomsmen’s Ties: The Tie Bar | Welcome Bags: Bradley’s | Transportation: Big Love Bus | Altar: Handy Dandy Productions | Bridesmaids’ Gifts: Adele Yonchak

RT Lodge is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
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When Hurricane Matthew caused a mandatory evacuation in Charleston, Hayley and Richard were forced to cancel their original wedding plans and notify all their guests–something made even more challenging by the destination aspect of their celebration. However, with the help of their planner Victoria, their entire wedding was rescheduled within an hour! While this challenge could have left Hayley in tears, thanks to a supportive fiancé, loving family and friends, and a fast-working planner, she felt nothing but loved and supported. Though I’m sure this was not the easiest of planning experiences, I admire Hayley and Richard’s strength through adversity and encouragement for couples to “enjoy the planning together,” even when unexpected challenges arise

We’re sure happy Virgil Bunao was there to capture their sweet (and sunny!) Charleston day!

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did, and I was terrified. I had my best friends read my vows the day of the wedding while we were getting our hair and makeup done. They all approved, so I went with them. Rick’s vows were perfect. He managed to make them very sweet, while still poking fun at several of my traits, including my love of kale.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We agreed to let the officiant surprise us with readings of his choice. He knew that I had lost my father and was very emotional about him not being a part of the wedding. The poem he read was written from a father in heaven’s point of view to his daughter.

The dress I wore was my second pick. When I went with several friends and family to pick my dress, I chose a long-sleeved lace Stella York dress. When I went to pick it up, I did not like it on me, so my wedding planner made an appointment and we went together, just the two of us. I chose a completely different dress–it was sleeveless and had no lace or beading.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? I knew I wanted everything to be outside. I was born and raised in Naples, Florida and spent virtually all of my free time at the beach, so a beach wedding was out for me. We traveled to Colorado and looked at the Broadmoor, but decided against it. One night, we were watching a movie set in the South. The oak trees and Spanish moss reminded me of family vacations to Southern towns–Savannah, Charleston, and Louisiana. We ultimately picked Charleston because of all the activities. We thought a destination wedding should be a mini-vacation for not just us, but for our guests. Charleston met all of our requirements.

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Have fun with it. It is an important day, but it is just a day, so don’t let yourself become overwhelmed. Rick and I decided on certain details individually and bigger decisions together. For example, he picked the food and I picked the flowers. We chose the band, budget, and weekend activities together. My advice is to enjoy the planning together; it really is a fun and exciting time for a couple.

Rick was in charge of all of the food. We had a three-tiered cake with different flavors for each layer: raspberry cake with a white chocolate and buttercream frosting, carrot cake with a lemon buttercream, and red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting and chocolate ganache.

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The biggest challenge we faced was when our wedding was canceled. Our original wedding date was October 7, 2016. We prepared and looked forward to this date for over a year. At the beginning of October, Hurricane Matthew began taking aim at the Carolinas. On October 4, we made the decision to cancel our wedding. An hour later, Charleston issued a mandatory evacuation. We had to contact all guests and notify them to cancel their flights and hotel accommodations. We had to cancel our honeymoon and contact all our vendors. It was very hard, and for some reason, I felt embarrassed–I knew that everyone was going to be put out by this. Fortunately for Rick and I, we have the most amazing friends, family, and wedding planner. Our wedding planner (Victoria) took control–she had the entire wedding, including all vendors, rescheduled within an hour. My friends and family stepped up and helped notify other guests. On a day I thought I would cry all night, I ended up feeling blessed. Rick brought home two bottles of my favorite wine and a ridiculous amount of roses. Between the support of Rick, family, friends, and our planner, it was impossible to be sad.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The guests. Our friends and family booked flights, took off work, and made hotel accommodations not once, but twice. We felt very loved and supported.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We both work in the medical field, and met while working together.
Tell us all about the proposal! We love to run together in our neighborhood. One Saturday, Rick insisted we run at sunset instead of in the morning. He is much faster than me, so he was about a quarter of a mile ahead of me. When I finally caught up to him, he went down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I was in shock at first, since I had waited five years for this. It was not until I realized he was tearing up that it hit me. I loved that he proposed during an activity we enjoy together. It was not the typical romantic story, but it was us. I drive by the proposal spot each day and it reminds me of that day and how lucky I am.
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 55
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. I walked down the aisle to The Beatles’ “In My Life.” My father loved the Beatles and the song reminded me of him. Our first dance was to Michael Buble’s version of “Feeling Good.” We wanted the dance to be fun, not the typical slow dance. We took dance lessons for several weeks and incorporated lots of spins and lifts. We wanted our friends and family to be excited during the dance.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I only had something blue: a piece of my father’s favorite blue shirt cut into the shape of a heart and sewn into my wedding dress.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $75,000-$100,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We set an overall budget for the wedding and then set budgets for each individual item, from wedding invites to the band. We made sure that the budget we set for each item and vendor was followed and not broken.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are excited to continue to grow as a couple. We plan on traveling a lot over the next few years and really enjoying this time in our lives.

Photographer: Virgil Bunao | Videographer: Cinema 843 | Planner: Victoria Wolanin of TopNotch Entertainment Corp. | Venue: Lowndes Grove Plantation | Florist: Branch Design Studio | Caterer: Patrick Properties Hospitality Group | Rentals: Snyder Events, Ooh! Events, Polished!, and Nuage Designs | Lighting: TEC Lighting | String Quartet: Palmetto Strings | Band: Palmetto Soul | Paper Products: DM Paper Designs | Bride’s Gown: Maggie Sottero | Bride’s Accessories: Bel Aire Bridal | Hair Stylist: Jamie Stuart of Blue Dahlia Salon | Makeup Artist: Elina Mille of Bellelina | Bride’s Shoes: Yves Saint Laurent | Groom’s Tuxedo: Canali | Groom’s Shoes: Prada

Bellelina is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory and Maggie Sottero is a wonderful Southern Weddings sponsor!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
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  1. avatar Ashlee reply

    What a great testament to the couple’s resilience through less than ideal circumstances with Hurricane Matthew! And the reception looks dreamy (those chairs!).

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With a wedding as lovely as Elizabeth and Patton’s it’s hard not to get lost in the details…especially the magical florals that Oxford Florals created and the fun yellow front door of the ACRE Restaurant. In fact, said front door set the tone for the entire theme of Elizabeth and Patton’s decor, from the bridesmaid dresses to the cake! They wanted their wedding day to embody that same feeling of “home” that they instantly felt when they visited ACRE for the first time. Looking at their photos, I was already smitten, but after reading their interview, there was so much more that I fell in love with about their wedding. My favorite detail was that Elizabeth grew up picturing her grandfather officiating her wedding. He was not only able to do just that, but he did so in the church she grew up in!

Thanks to Cameron Reynolds for being on hand to capture such a sweet day!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? A September wedding was a natural fit for our timeline. Not only was the church available, but my grandfather was also free. My entire life, I had always imagined my grandfather, a retired Presbyterian minister, marrying me in my home church in Memphis, Tennessee. While my ideal reception venue, taste in wedding colors, and dream wedding dress have changed throughout my life, my desire to be married by my grandfather and walk down the aisle of Second Presbyterian Church has always remained a constant. Once the church was set, the rest of the details began to take shape. After exploring many options, we decided to have our wedding reception at ACRE Restaurant. Not only was ACRE conveniently located close to the church, it immediately felt like home. I found the neutral interior colors soothing to my soul. As I walked around to each dining space, I could envision the evening of our wedding reception, and the atmosphere seemed perfect. But my most favorite part of ACRE was the bright yellow front door! The contrast of the yellow door against the dark gray house and lush green landscape set the tone for the entire theme of our wedding. The flowers, wedding paper, bridesmaid dresses, cake, and many other details would soon be created to embody that same touch of home.

Every girl dreams of her perfect wedding dress, and my dress did not disappoint! I knew I wanted a classic lace dress with cap sleeves, but it was not until I put on this dress that I knew I had found my dream dress. I felt beautiful and classy. Since we decided months earlier not to have a first look, I couldn’t wait to see Patton’s face when he saw me for the first time as I walked down the aisle.

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Of all the things that brought Patton and I together, the most important thing that holds us together is our faith. Patton and I wanted our wedding to be a worship service, so each song we selected was specially picked for that purpose. A string quartet welcomed our guests, and Patton actually played the prelude since music is one of Patton’s greatest passions. He has enjoyed playing instruments for most of his life, so I knew I wanted to weave that into our day. The mothers and grandmothers walked in to “Be Thou My Vision,” which is a tradition that goes back for three generations in my family. The bridesmaids walked in to “Great is Thy Faithfulness,” one of my favorite hymns! I also gave each of my bridesmaids a framed calligraphy print of this hymn to thank them for being part of our special day. I walked in to “Crown Him with Many Crowns,” and the entire congregation sang “To God be the Glory.” Once Patton and I were announced husband and wife, the congregation rejoiced by singing “The Doxology.”

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! A special pocket was made on the inside of my dress to hold a four-leaf clover that has been worn by many generations of women in my family when they got married. My grandmother, mother, aunts, and sister have all carried this special heirloom on their wedding days. I was honored to carry this good luck charm as my something old and something borrowed on my special day too! My something new was my wedding dress, and I wore a blue diamond-studded ring as my something blue.

I absolutely loved the natural look of ACRE and I wanted our wedding flowers to take on this same look. A simple green and yellow watercolor was the backbone of our paper details, and I wanted the flowers to incorporate this theme. The flowers scattered throughout the wedding and the reception took on the loose, natural look of ACRE, and each flower detail incorporated the butter yellow and green colors of the watercolor we used for our paper details. My favorite flower detail was the flower guitar that adorned the mantle above the groom’s cake.

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? While the details are important, the most important detail is the marriage that the wedding represents. That is the true gift! As a bride, I wish I had remembered to take a step back and breathe more. If you are planning a wedding, remember that the perfect day pales in comparison to the gift you will receive in marriage. After all, the wedding details are simply memories. Life will go on… you will be married! However, in the meantime, enjoy the process. The real party has just begun!

Music is one of Patton’s greatest passions. He has enjoyed playing instruments for most of his life, so I knew I wanted to weave this into our day. During the prelude at the ceremony, Patton played the piano, but I also wanted to surprise him with something special at the reception. With the help of both the Flour Garden and Oxford Floral, a room at ACRE was designed just for Patton. He was not only surprised by the groom’s cake that looked exactly like his banjo, but the reaction on his face was priceless when he noticed that the stone mantle above the cake was adorned with flowers made to look like his guitar. We also handed out blow-up banjos and tambourines on the dance floor, so that our guests could actively enjoy the music of the evening with us. Our wedding cake was also beautifully designed by the Flour Garden. It was a simple five-tier white cake. Each layer was either buttercream or coconut cake, and the cake tasted as good as it looked! The cake was adorned with beautiful yellow and green sugar flowers that were made to match the flowers scattered throughout the reception. If I didn’t know better, I would have thought the sugar flowers were real.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Patton and I met during out freshman year at Ole Miss. We were friends for the first couple of years of school, but things turned to more than friendship during our junior year.
Tell us all about the proposal! It happened on February 4, 2016 in the parking garage of my office in Birmingham, Alabama. I walked out of work to find Patton on one knee with a ring in his hand. Completely surprised, I was overjoyed to say yes!
When did y’all get married? September 10, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 350
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Patton and I decided not to do a first look. We wanted our wedding to be very traditional, so seeing each other for the first time when the doors of the church swung open seemed fitting. I wanted to see Patton’s genuine reaction as I walked down the aisle towards him. His reaction was perfect!
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? My dear friend Sarah read Ephesians 3:14-21, and my grandfather gave a homily on a passage that has been very special to Patton and me throughout our relationship: Romans 8:1-11.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Guests traveled from near and far to support us, and I wanted each person to have a token of our gratitude. Gift boxes filled with water bottles, caramel corn, and cookies were waiting at the hotels upon their arrival. The cookies were in the shape of Mississippi and Tennessee, and little red hearts were placed over Patton’s hometown of Jackson and my hometown of Memphis.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? The perfect ending to the perfect beginning was driving away from our smiling family and friends in a 1957 FORD Thunderbird… I can’t imagine a better way to start my life as a Ford! From getting ready at my childhood home to the ceremony being performed by my grandfather at my home church, September 10th was an absolute dream. As I reflect back on my wedding day, I feel like I have been given the most amazing gift. So many people worked extremely hard to make every detail perfect, and I will forever be thankful.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Our next chapter is going to be filled with adventure! After dating long distance for the past couple of years, we are thrilled to begin our lives together in Jackson, Mississippi.

Photographer: Cameron Reynolds Photography | Videographer: Caitlin Colcolough Films | Planner: Audrey Hurst Weddings | Ceremony Venue: Second Presbyterian Church | Reception Venue and Caterer: ACRE Restaurant | Florist: Oxford Floral | Wedding Cake: The Flour Garden | Rentals: 12th Table | Lighting: White Door Events | Band: The Soul Shockers | Paper Products: Sue Corral Ink | Bride’s Gown and Veil: Maggie Louise Bridal | Hair Stylist: Annie Shackelford of Juve Salon | Makeup Artist: Makeup by Kendrick | Bride’s Shoes: Stuart Weitzman | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: BHLDN | Men’s Attire: Jos. A. Bank

12th Table is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
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