Although I’m sure most brides wouldn’t consider rain one of the best parts of their wedding days, with a well thought-out backup plan, it sure can make a wedding a little extra magical, don’t you think? Lauren and Brandon’s garden ceremony was moved to the stables of Belle Meade Plantation thanks to the weather, and spruced up with jewel-toned florals by Brocade Designs and seamlessly coordinated by My Bellissima, it became a perfectly cozy place for them to become husband and wife. I love Lauren’s sentiments about their ceremony (“Rain or shine, we would be just as married when the day was over.”) as much as I love that last romantic portrait under an umbrella!
Thanks so much to Melanie Gabrielle for sharing this gorgeous celebration with us!
My dad actually picked out my dress for me! My parents were in Nashville visiting, and after two boutiques, we hadn’t found anything that really stood out to us. I thought I had found the dress, but I didn’t get the response I was looking for. We decided we would look for another dress when I went home to visit them again in September. When we got to the boutique in New Jersey, my dress was on a mannequin, and my dad said that it was the one I was going to end up purchasing. I probably tried on twenty dresses, and in the end, the dress my dad picked was the winner!
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Yes, we did a first look. When we were planning out the day, it just didn’t make sense to me to not see Brandon for the majority of the day. It sounded crazy to me that I would only get to hang out with him for five hours. It was also a lifesaver for pictures–we were able to get all of our shots done without having to worry about cocktail hour and if our guests were happy or hungry. We got to enjoy the whole reception and not miss a thing!
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We went to a pre-marital counseling class at our church and met with our pastor a few times prior to the wedding. It was a great way to open some discussions we hadn’t thought of or hadn’t talked about in awhile. Our favorite exercise was family mapping–neither of our families live close to us, so we talked about how we would handle holidays so that both families were included.
We originally thought we were going to get married in the garden, but we had to implement our rain plan at the last minute. We couldn’t imagine what our ceremony was going to look like in the stables. When I was walking down the aisle, I remember thinking how beautiful everything looked, and Brandon had the biggest smile on his face. It was a great reminder that, rain or shine, we would be just as married when the day was over.
Describe your wedding flowers. In one word, our flowers were ubiquitous. Hillary from Brocade brought my vision to life–I never imagined that my wedding would be so beautiful. She used dahlias, roses, chocolate cosmos, ranunculus, stock, and rosemary, just to name a few. She used lots of ruby reds, pinks, apricots, purples, and peaches. The color combination gave depth to the blank canvas of our venue, and I don’t think she could have come up with a better color scheme to fit Brandon and I.
I didn’t have the ability to take much time off of work, so Brandon took my parents around for an entire day and went to about seven different venues to narrow down the options. The next day, I went with my parents and looked at the top three that they had chosen. I was originally set on having a small wedding with just family and a few close friends. When I went to the Belle Meade Plantation, however, my whole idea was turned upside down. I imagined filling it up with family and friends who were going to fly in from New Jersey. I wanted to entertain them with a big Southern celebration. I think the biggest significance to the venue was embracing the fact that I am truly a Southerner at heart. The venue allowed us to show everyone the culture that my husband and I love so much. It was the opposite of the weddings everyone in my family had experienced before–I mean, who gets married in a stable?
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Music has always been a big part of our relationship. Brandon always has top 40 music playing while tailgating for football games or getting ready to head to the apartment pool with friends. I always have Frank Sinatra or Dean Martin on while I’m cleaning or cooking. And we both love country music. Needless to say, our wedding had a very diverse sound! For the ceremony, we chose some non-traditional songs with acoustic and fiddle instrumentation. For the cocktail hour, we stuck with your traditional dinner songs by Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Michael Bublé. During the reception, we played top 40 playlist songs and mixed in a few disco songs to appeal to my side of the family. And it wouldn’t have been a wedding in Tennessee if we didn’t play “Rocky Top” at least once!
We each had our own cake. Mine was very girly and traditional: a traditional white cake with strawberry filling for two layers and lemon cake with a lemon custard for the others. I chose lemon because it’s my dad’s favorite, and it was extremely refreshing on a hot summer day! Brandon had a groom’s cake that was Tennessee-themed. It was decorated in orange and white checkerboard, and the top was the blue and white tri-star emblem that you find on the Tennessee state flag. It was a nice way to incorporate his school pride, as well as embrace our new home state.
How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Brandon and I met while we were out with friends. I was new to Nashville and thought it would be fun to watch some live music with the only two girls I knew in town. Brandon happened to be out with a large group of friends for one of their birthdays. We literally bumped into each other, and the rest was history! We talked for the remainder of the night and have seen each other every day since.
Tell us all about the proposal! Knowing that I have a huge love for the beach and my family, Brandon proposed to me on a trip home to see my family in New Jersey. We drove to the Barnagate Lighthouse, where he gave me a beautiful letter and had rose petals waiting at the top of the lighthouse and a burlap banner he had made reading “Mrs. Emerson?” It was so magical, as if it were out of a Nicholas Sparks book. When I was reading my letter on the staircase, the wind from overhead was blowing the petals all around me. I thought he was doing it on purpose, but he was actually panicking because the ladies who manage the lighthouse had informed him that there couldn’t be any garbage left behind! After we had a wonderful moment embracing as the sea air whirled around us, we had to pick up 300 red rose petals as we walked back down the 217 steps!
When did y’all get married? August 30, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 135
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The mini biscuit bar! We’re both big lovers of the Southern biscuit. It was a great way to show off our Southern pride to my Northern family members. My aunts raved about it, and even took some of the biscuits home because they liked them so much!
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? In order to use beautiful and high-end linens in our reception space, we toned down the linens that we used in other areas. This allowed us to use some fun sequin linens on the tables in the carriage house, as well as a fun linen on our cake table.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Melanie Gabrielle was the best decision we made regarding our wedding. We were actually teammates in college, and she reached out to me via Facebook regarding photography. Unfortunately, I had already booked a photographer. Over the next few months of following her business on social media and her blog, I fell in love with her work and her vision. I ended up parting ways with my former photographer and booked Melanie. She was so thoughtful throughout the entire process–she even sent me inspiration pictures prior to the wedding and a few sneak peeks during our honeymoon!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Relax! Your engagement is a time to celebrate the marriage you’re about to enter. Take time to enjoy your family, friends, and most of all, each other. Often times, you’ll be tempted to get bogged down by all of the details. Just remember that at the end of it all, you’ll be married to your best friend!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Brandon has recently been accepted into a graduate program in Chattanooga. We just moved and are getting settled in a new city! We’re looking forward to exploring our new town and making new friends. After he graduates from his program, we’re even more excited about figuring out where our “forever” home will be. We’re also looking forward to having some land where we can grow a garden!
Photographer: Melanie Gabrielle / Videographer: PF Films / Planner and Designer: Lauren Emerson Events and Design / Day-of Coordinator: My Bellissima / Venue: Belle Meade Plantation / Florist: Brocade / Cake Baker: Dulce Desserts / Caterer: Red Pony Catering / Rentals: Music City Tents and Events / Lighting: Bright Event Production / DJ: Nashville Party Authority / Calligraphy: Script Merchant / Paper Products: Dauphine Press / Bride’s Gown: “LZ3108” by Lazaro / Hair Stylist: Rachael Holton / Makeup Artist: Cayla Poindexter / Bride’s Shoes: “Fable” by Jimmy Choo / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Heidi” in Bright Coral by J.Crew / Menswear: Street Tuxedo