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Southern Weddings

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“Heritage” is the word that kept coming to mind as I read through Katie and Chris’ interview. At every turn, these two embraced the opportunity to celebrate their roots and let their guests know that even as they started a new chapter together through their marriage, they were grounded in the history and traditions of their families. A historic Atlanta venue was a natural fit–it made Katie the fourth generation of women in her family to tie the knot in the city! Along with honoring this special locale, Katie and Chris got creative by mixing Southern details with elements of their German, English, and Irish backgrounds. Catherine Kelly Events and Mary McLeod tied all of these meaningful sources of inspiration together with Katie’s favorite Anthropologie-inspired flair, and I’m sure you’ll agree, the results were so lovely and inviting!

Thanks so much to Lauren Carnes for sending this beautiful day our way!

My something old and borrowed was a lace fan my grandmother, Anne Caswell, lent to me to carry in my bouquet like she did during her wedding in Atlanta in 1955. My something blue was my engagement ring with a sapphire halo that Chris had custom made for me, my shoes, and my Chi Omega sorority handkerchief (given to all Eta Deltas at graduation). My dress, earrings, and hair accessories were new.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I have been a devoted Anthropologie shopper since 2003 and was over the moon when they launched their bridal store, BHLDN, my senior year of college! After we got engaged, I scoured the website and found several dresses I wanted to try on. The only problem with BHLDN was that they hadn’t launched their Atlanta store yet, so I researched online and found two local bridal boutiques I knew I would want to check out: Kelly’s Closet and The White Magnolia. I was very nervous about trying on wedding gowns and was so glad I picked the two boutiques I did. They were both on the small side and I had a very personal and positive experience at each. I had loved the look of The White Magnolia for years (I had driven by the Jacksonville location many times in high school) and booked an appointment at their Atlanta store as soon as I learned that they carried the Penelope gown (one I had picked out on the BHLDN site). As soon as I put on the Penelope gown, my mom and I knew it was the perfect dress! It was so delicate and different. I loved the illusion neckline, lace bodice, and dreamy tulle skirt! What I loved most was the bronze underlay, which made the dress work so well for our fall wedding. Mallory, the owner of the Atlanta store, made my shopping, purchasing, and dress pick-up experiences easy and stress-free! I ended up going back to Kelly’s Closet to buy my beautiful veil.

At first, we didn’t think we wanted to do a first look, but after discussing it in more detail, we decided we would do one after all. Several of our friends had done a first look and said it was very special to have private time together as a couple before the wedding. Also, since we were getting married in November, the sun would set early in the evening and we wanted to have pictures taken in the natural light. Finally, we liked the idea of getting our formal pictures done early so we could just be in the moment and go straight from the ceremony to the reception to enjoy the time with our family and friends on our special day.

My mother requested that the mothers and grandmothers be escorted and seated to Bach’s “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” and that the bridal party process to Pachelbel’s “Canon in D,” which is what played at my parents’ wedding. I was very happy to continue that tradition. We sung two of our favorite hymns during the ceremony, “For the Beauty of the Earth” and “Be Thou My Vision.” We loved that “For the Beauty” is a song of thanksgiving and highlights the importance of love in all of our relationships, and that it mentions “friends on earth and friends in heaven,” giving us an opportunity to remember loved ones no longer with us. We chose “Be Thou My Vision” as a prayer for our relationship and charge to guide us as we began our marriage. We processed to Beethoven’s “A Hymn to Joy,” which is Chris’ mother’s favorite.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Family and heritage are very important to us. When picking our venues and determining the look and feel of our wedding, we wanted to incorporate elements that would celebrate those things. We are also big foodies and hoped to express our style and heritage through food and drinks. We wanted our wedding to be elegant and classic, while being inclusive and comfortable, with a touch of whimsy and personality. I come from a long line of Southerners, particularly Atlantans. It is very special to me that I was the fourth generation of women on my mom’s side married in Atlanta. Chris’ family immigrated to America more recently, and he still has extended family members living in Germany. We had a table of family wedding photos laid out with the names, dates, and locations of the ceremonies for our parents, grandparents, and maternal great-grandmothers. The vision for the cocktail hour was to honor and celebrate Chris’ German heritage and his family’s love of beer. We designed it to look like a beer garden and added soft pretzels and mustard to the grazing table. We also wanted to make it feel like a Southern backyard gathering with benches, bar stools, and blankets to encourage guests to relax and get cozy. We served fried green tomatoes, shrimp and grit cakes, and duck tacos. Inside the Trolley Barn, we wanted to create a Southern garden party feel, with subtle nods to my English/Irish heritage through greenery, vintage china, and Irish coffee. We decided to do long banquet tables so everyone would be seated together, and we served the meal family-style to encourage guests to interact with each other and have the opportunity to try a bit of everything.

Our florist, Mary McLeod, did an incredible job with our flowers. She is a true artist! The bouquets and boutonnieres were gorgeous. She and I discussed how I was going for an Anthropologie-esque vintage chic/rustic look. She created amazing, loose, and romantic arrangements and picked the perfect colors and style of ribbons and details. Walking into the reception was like walking into a dream! She took everything I’d been imagining and turned it into reality, surpassing anything I could have hoped for. She has such a talent and eye for detail–there was greenery on the seating chart, cake, and backs of our chairs, little arrangements and vignettes on the highboys outside and on the banquet tables inside, and large arrangements and fall foliage trees she constructed on the walls inside the venue. It was spectacular!

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Our cake was just darling! We like the simplicity and elegance of naked cakes, but also love icing, so we opted for a “semi-naked” cake to maximize the amount of cream cheese frosting per bite. We had the hardest time narrowing down the cake flavors because our cake baker, Carissa, makes such delicious cakes! Thankfully, since we were having a family-style dinner, we decided we could do more flavors and have them served to our guests on platters in pre-cut bite sizes. The three-tiered cake was pumpkin with cream cheese icing, but we also served vanilla cake with chocolate icing and red velvet with cream cheese icing.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met online shortly after I moved to Atlanta. He asked me to join him for dinner at a restaurant in the historic Decatur Square, Leon’s Full Service, on November 20, 2012. By our second date, we were already comfortable enough to eat barbecue in front of each other! We both knew it was love on New Year’s Eve 2012 when Chris braved a night of festivities with several of my closest friends. We all had so much fun and Chris totally charmed them. The fact that he could hold his own in that crowd and enjoy himself, plus the very enthusiastic approval of girls who knew me so well, I knew he was the one!
Tell us all about the proposal! After two years of dating, it seemed time for our families to meet. Chris joined my family for a quick trip to New York before we made our way to Cape Cod to spend Thanksgiving with Mr. and Mrs. Keinath. While in New York, we stopped by the Algonquin (where my parents honeymooned) for drinks. Chris took advantage of the moment when I stepped away to visit the ladies’ room and search for Matilda, the famed cat-in-residence, to ask my parents for permission to propose. They gladly gave their blessing, and everyone was in on the secret at Thanksgiving except for me. We spent Christmas apart, and while he was home, Chris picked up the engagement ring and made a plan. Once we were reunited in Atlanta, we went out for a belated Christmas dinner on December 30th. Following dinner, we opted for a casual night in and celebrated another great year together with a bottle of champagne. As we were toasting the memories of the past year, Chris said we had some more thing to celebrate before the year was over, got down on one knee, and asked me to marry him!
When did y’all get married? November 21, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? About 140
What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? One day, when we were on a walk through Inman Park, one of our favorite places in Atlanta, we stumbled upon the Trolley Barn and I secretly made a note that it would be a great wedding venue. After Chris proposed, we went on another walk and came across the Trolley Barn again. It felt like the perfect place for us. My family on my mother’s side goes back several generations in Atlanta and I remembered hearing stories of my great-grandfather riding the Atlanta trolley, which made it seem even more special. Once we settled on the Trolley Barn and locked in our date, we discovered Inman Park Church a block or so away. It was built around the same time as the Trolley Barn (late 1800s) and it was just what we were looking for: simple and lovely, with just enough room for our desired number of guests. We knew it was the right place as soon as we stepped inside and saw the wood beam ceiling, distressed plaster walls, and breathtaking stained glass windows. It felt like a sacred space.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We wanted to be very intentional about focusing on our relationship and preparing for marriage while planning our wedding. We did premarital counseling through a local church, the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University course at home together, and read a couple of recommended books: The Five Love Languages and Boundaries in Marriage.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? My wedding was the best day of my life because I got to marry Chris and was surrounded by my favorite people in the world. But, the day went perfectly because we had a team of kind and talented professionals who went above and beyond to make my dream wedding a reality. A wedding planner is worth their weight in gold and we had the great fortune of working an absolute all-star, Mary Catherine Fisher of Catherine Kelly Events. The peace of mind that comes from having someone work alongside you throughout the process, managing the details and getting to know you and your family, can’t be overstated.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? It was a lot of fun getting married right before Thanksgiving so we could have an ultimate Thanksgiving with all of our family and dearest friends in one space. Since we are starting out as a married couple at the end of the year, we get to celebrate Christmas, New Years, and a whole new year of celebrations together for the first time right away! We are excited to devote our newfound free time to building a life for ourselves in our new home, Johnson City.

Photographer: Lauren Carnes | Planner: Catherine Kelly Events | Ceremony Venue: Inman Park Church | Reception Venue: The Trolley Barn | Florist: Mary McLeod | Cake Baker: Cakes by Carissa | Caterer: Endive | Tables, Chairs, and Heaters: Goodwin Events | Vintage China and Chalkboards: Southern Vintage | Linens: Party Tables | Lighting: Active Production and Design | Band: Melonbelly | Paper Products: Woods & Co. | Bride’s Gown: “Penelope” by Willowby from BHLDN | Bridal Salon: The White Magnolia | Bride’s Veil: Kelly’s Closet | Bride’s Hair Pins: Davie and Chiyo | Bride’s Earrings: BHLDN | Hair Stylist: Kimberly Killens | Makeup Artist: Holly Chastain | Bride’s Shoes: Anthropologie | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Evergreen Draped Dress” by Anthropologie | Men’s Jackets: Macy’s | Men’s Shirts and Pants: Jos. A. Bank | Suspenders: Melody of Cuteness | Bow Ties: The Tie Bar | Cufflinks: Tesoro Jewelry | Chalkboard Artist: Callie Meyers of Eliza Jane Lettering | Custom Bride and Groom Portrait: Spratt Design Inc.

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

    I love the bright flowers that still fit into the fall wedding!

  2. avatar Lauren Carnes Photography reply

    Thank you so much for featuring Katie & Chris’ amazing day! It’s always an honor to share with you all – this one was certainly one for the books – and the sentiments and heritage-inspired details were so sweet!

  3. avatar Gosia reply

    Lovely pictures, thank you for shearing!

  4. avatar Trend Alert: Winter Knick-Knacks n' Wraps – The Dandelion PatchThe Dandelion Patch reply

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I’ve always felt that true love means spending the rest of your life with your best friend. Though I haven’t asked them, I’m pretty sure Lauren and Tim would agree! From their engagement, throughout their planning, and right into the beginning of married life, Lauren and Tim not only committed to being one another’s best friend, but also made every effort to keep their relationship a top priority. I especially love how when wedding planning got challenging, they swapped the stress for a fun activity together–a tactic they plan to use throughout their marriage. Vowing to “communicate fully and fearlessly” as best friends and as husband and wife, I know that their loved ones are in for a treat to see Lauren and Tim’s marriage continues to bloom!

Big hugs to Blue Ribbon Vendor Perry Vaile for sharing their beautiful wedding day at Summerfield Farms with us!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? As soon as we drove up to Summerfield Farms, it felt special. We loved the little tree for our ceremony site, the hay ride, and the rustic, intimate setting of the barn. After visiting a few other sites and taking a few snowy trips to Summerfield Farms, we booked with them in February 2014. We never saw the property in person without snow until July 2015 after a few renovations. We were not disappointed!

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We didn’t! This was totally Tim’s decision–he was adamant that the first time he saw me in my dress was at the ceremony. Instead, I decided to do a first look with my dad!

After spending several weekends trying on wedding dresses with my mom, I wasn’t sure if I would know when I found the right dress. I liked everything that I had tried on, but I wasn’t in love with any of them. We decided to travel about an hour from our house to visit Southern Bride. As soon as we walked in, my mom and I both fell in love with the same dress. The dress in the store that day was a little too small, so I wasn’t able to try it on, but no matter what else I put on that day, we kept going back to that same dress. The store happened to be having a trunk show coming up for the designer, so the owner of the store was able to get the same dress with a slightly different lace pattern in my size included in the show! We made the trip back to try on that dress, and as soon as I put it on and saw myself in the mirror, I burst into tears! There was no denying that it was the perfect dress for me!

What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We had one reading at our wedding. During our private communion, Tim’s brother read lyrics from the song “I Will Be Here” by Steven Curtis Chapman.
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We hadn’t planned on writing our own vows, but after some encouragement from our preacher, we decided to go for it! In our vows, we made promises to each other as best friends and as husband and wife. My favorite line was my promise to “communicate fully and fearlessly.” We also worked in a little laughter–it wouldn’t have felt like us otherwise!

We loved the overall Southern feel of Summerfield Farms. The hay ride was a unique Southern touch that we couldn’t live without! We used magnolia leaf garlands on the front of the barn, tons of mason jars, and Southern foods including mac and cheese, sweet potatoes, and corn on the cob!

What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We tried to do all of the little reception details ourselves. We made the T and L that sat in front of us at the reception. Tim hand wrote all of our chalkboards and our menu. We made the magnolia leaf garland that hung on the outside of the barn. We were able to pick up all of our mason jars, bud vases, and wooden boxes from secondhand sales. We also have wonderful friends who let us borrow wood rounds for tables.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met working together in the athletics department at UNCG! Tim had left UNCG and we only kept in touch because of a mutual friend. After a few group outings and double dates, Tim and I started dating.
Tell us all about the proposal! Every year, I go to New York City for work. In 2014, we decided to take advantage of the opportunity to take a mini vacation. One evening, while I was at an event at the NY Public Library, Tim met up with a college friend who had moved to the city. The plan was for the three of us to meet up after my event and go to dinner. Tim called me and told me that our plans had to change, and asked me to meet them outside. When I got there, Tim’s friend, who I had never met, insisted on taking our picture in front of the library. I thought it was a little strange, but I just went with it! After the picture, Tim turned toward me and said, “You know you’re my best friend, right?” The next thing I knew, there was an a cappella group singing “Stand By Me” and Tim was on one knee! Everything after that is a blur, but then we went to dinner, where Tim had a bottle of champagne waiting for us!
When did y’all get married? October 10, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 85
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. We decided to go with more of a dessert bar. It included a small two-layer cake, chocolate chip croissants, lemon bars, pumpkin spice waffle whoopee pies, and s’mores.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? While we were planning our wedding, we kept reminding ourselves that as stressful as it got, the wedding wasn’t the important part! The important part was that we got to spend the rest of our lives with each other. When things would get really stressful, we would put everything wedding-related to the side and do something fun together. We plan on using this trick throughout our marriage!
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Perry Vaile, our photographer! I can’t say enough about her support and encouragement throughout our wedding process. From the first moment I talked to her, I felt like I had known her forever. She encouraged us to live our very best life full of excitement, down to the very last minute of our wedding! She was also the biggest cheerleader for our outdoor wedding on a rainy day. We could not have asked for more!
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? The most memorable part of our wedding day was seeing each other for the first time! Since we didn’t do a first look, that moment took place when was when I was walking down the aisle towards Tim. Tim wanted to wait until I was in full view to look up, so he had our preacher tell him when he could look! When he looked up, it was like time stood still for that second. I don’t think I will ever forget the look on his face!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? After our honeymoon to Hawaii, we caught the travel bug bad! We want to spend our first few years of our marriage traveling as much as possible and creating our perfect home together.

Photographer: Perry Vaile | Day-Of Coordination: Coordinated Events | Venue: Summerfield Farms | Florist: Relish Design | Dessert Baker: Easy Peasy Decadent Desserts | Caterer: Fresh Local Good Food Group | Rentals: Carolina Event Rentals | DJ: Triad DJ | Paper Products: Minted | Bride’s Gown: Style 5840 by Stella York | Bridal Salon: Southern Bride | Bride’s Hair Accessories: ModCloth | Bride’s Earrings: Anthropologie | Bride’s Veil: Boutique De Voile | Hair and Makeup: Megan Snipes | Bride’s Shoes: “Like You Mean It Wedges” by Seychelles | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Style F15711 in Marine by David’s Bridal | Menswear: Keane Suit by Tommy Hilfiger

Perry Vaile is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Occasions In Print reply

    Great setting for a fall wedding!

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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