I always know it’s going to be a great Real Wedding when I get an email from Miss Lisa while she’s prepping it, saying how much I’m going to love it. Boy, was she right! Lisa and I both fell in love with not only the beauty of Christina and Tyler’s wedding, but also, their adorable personalities and acute focus on creating an intimate wedding with a feeling so special that it’s palpable even to their future grandchildren. After quite the long courtship, these two absolutely knew they were meant to spend the rest of their lives together and reflected this throughout their day. They worked with their wedding planner, From This Day Forward, to combine old South with a splash of couture. Right up my alley!
Obviously, Christina’s top knot and tulle ball gown rock my world, but that’s not what truly makes this wedding hit the nail on the head–it’s the heart behind each detail. While glamorous accessories are oh-so-pretty, like Christina said “those perfect little blue heels may have been cute, but family heirlooms last forever.” Amen!
Big SW hugs to Ariel Renae for sharing this sparkly day with us!
It took me four states, eight bridal boutiques, and countless dresses before I found the one. When I would imagine myself on our wedding day, the same thought always came to mind: that perfect little church and Tyler standing at the end of the aisle after the church doors opened. I wasn’t choosing my dress based on the look of our wedding, our reception location, or anything else. All I was concerned about were those few seconds of Tyler watching me walk towards him. Because we had already been together for so long and he had already seen me in countless dresses, I was determined to find something grand–the type of dress that I would never get the opportunity to wear again. Friends and family members were all pushing for me to choose a mermaid gown, but I had something else in mind. I wanted vintage, yet modern–the type of dress my daughter would one day want to wear. I found that in my Vera Wang. I fell in love with the combination of lace and tulle, but it was the structure of the dress that had me sold. Not to mention, Tyler had stated in years passing that he envisioned me in a ball gown with my hair up… so that is exactly what I gave him.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! Yes, my something blue ended up being very special. Leading up to the wedding, my sister and I fell in love with these royal blue suede heels, so I decided to make them my something blue. However, what I didn’t realize was that Tyler’s mom had a very meaningful gift waiting for me in Savannah. The morning before our wedding, she handed me a ring box. In the box was a flawless blue sapphire ring that was previously worn by Tyler’s nanny. Tyler’s nanny was was his world, and unfortunately, God decided to take her sooner than we would have liked. It was such a sweet surprise and an honor to wear that ring on my wedding day. Tyler’s mom said that before she passed away, Tyler’s nanny told her to give the ring to Tyler’s bride. I can’t wait to continue the tradition and one day be able to hand over the ring to my new daughter-in-law. Those perfect little blue heels may have been cute, but family heirlooms last forever.
What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? At first, picking a wedding location seemed like a daunting task. Since I was born and raised in Virginia, we both went to high school and college in Georgia, and we’ve both been living in Florida for the last five years, we really had the entire South to choose from. However, it ended up being one of the easiest decisions for us to make when we started planning our wedding. I had spent months researching churches across the East Coast, and I just so happened to stumble upon Whitefield Chapel. We decided to make a trip up to Savannah to see it in person, and it was love at first sight. We both instantly knew we were meant to wed there.
Describe your wedding flowers. Because I loved the idea of mixing the old South with a splash of couture, I really wanted to pair the look of loose, garden flowers with the glitz and glamour that went with my bridesmaid gowns. I knew I wanted all white blooms, lots of greenery, and lots of texture, to create a Lowcountry feel. My two favorite floral pieces were the garland attached to the back bumper of our vintage Bentley, and my flower crown that the ladies of A to Zinnias constructed for our rehearsal dinner. Simply stunning.
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? Nope, Team Traditional Vows all the way.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. You can even find this verse written on an old particle board hanging in our living room. Whenever one of us is quick to have a temper, the rule is you must stand in front of the sign and read the entire verse out loud for the other to hear. What may have started out as a joke has turned out to be very conducive.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: From Christina: I really can’t choose just one. I love how we provided the trolley service for our guests, so they wouldn’t have to worry about a thing. I also loved our welcome bags, which included Georgia pecans, glass bottles of coke with Crown Royal, and vintage Savannah postcards. I would guess Tyler’s favorite detail was his dance moves. From Tyler: My favorite detail was the chalkboard sign at the entrance of the chapel that my wife made for me.
Now that is some serious Blue Steel, Mr. Tatum – work!
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? By far, my favorite detail of the wedding was displaying our moms’ wedding dresses for all of our guests to see. My mom had found the perfect vintage dress forms online and they went beautifully with the architecture and style of our reception space. Also, instead of using a typical guest book, we decided to use quilt patches that my great-grandmother had sewn decades ago. What better way to remember our wedding guests than by reading their messages on a family heirloom that’s been passed down three generations?
We LOVE seeing how real couples incorporate products from the Southern Weddings Shop into their own weddings!
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Our first dance was to Adele’s version of “Make You Feel My Love.” That song is so special to us because it really connects with what we’ve gone through and endured in our relationship over the last ten years. “There’s no doubt in my mind where you belong…” is probably my favorite line, but I’m pretty sure I whispered every word of the entire song in Tyler’s ear during our first dance.
Our guests came from far and wide to attend our Southern-themed Georgia wedding, so it was only fitting that we offered Georgia peach cake with peach buttercream icing. Yum! In recognition of my daily pumpkin coffee, we also offered a pumpkin cake with cream cheese icing–my favorite! When choosing the design of our cake, I was thinking big picture. I knew I wanted to surround our cake with vintage family photos of our loved ones on their wedding days. I had also found the perfect swans to include in the mix, along with a gorgeous calligraphy piece from the Southern Weddings Shop that I had custom framed. When it came time to design the actual cake, I knew I wanted something simple and chic. Tier Luxury Cakes really came through with that understated elegant look I was going for.
How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Do you have all day? No, but in all seriousness, our love story has been a beautiful mess. It’s definitely not the easiest thing meeting your future husband at the age of 18, yet somehow, we managed to stay together through growing up and finding ourselves. Our story began in the summer of 2004, when we were in our first year at different colleges, after we both graduated from the same high school the year before. Over the next ten years, through butterflies, heartbreaks, deaths, moves, and new adventures, we learned that God definitely used us to shape who the other is today. Moral of the story, trust the man above…especially when he sends a cute boy your way.
Tell us all about the proposal! In the years leading up to the proposal, I had always asked that if he did propose, do it at anytime EXCEPT right before the bar exam. Well, we’re all Southern ladies here, so you can probably predict what happened next…I was finishing up my final semester in law school, gearing up for the bar exam, when Tyler decided it was the perfect time to pop the question. Because my birthday always fell during exams, our tradition was to spend it in the library, cupcakes in hand. For this particular birthday, Tyler kept begging me to spend the night away from my books, and instead, go with him to a special dinner. Little did I know that he had arranged for a private room at Capital Grill with special service, flowers, wine–the whole nine yards. He had even put together a special video filled with our closest friends and family wishing me a happy birthday, which would then lead to the proposal. However, due to my very stubborn and overachieving ways, I refused to celebrate my birthday and insisted that I spend that time studying. To this day, after all of his preparation, I will never understand how Tyler refrained from dragging me to dinner with him. But, he didn’t force me, and things always have a funny way of working out, because although his plan seemed perfect, it may have been too perfect for us. We enjoy the simple things in life–we love our beach bungalow, our chocolate lab, and pedaling the day away on our beach cruisers. He proposed on the beach, early the next morning during sunrise, with Marley, our beloved lab, right by his side. It couldn’t have been more “us.” I then started the grueling process of bar prep with one very large distraction sitting on my left hand, while having learned my first lesson as a newly engaged woman: boys never listen.
When did y’all get married? November 16, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 60
Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? You couldn’t have paid us to do a first look. We consider ourselves very traditional when it comes to family and lifetime moments, and after waiting ten years for this occasion, there would be no spoiling it.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Oh goodness, probably when I found out that the church had double booked us, which led to us switching reception venues. Or when my bridal suite, a week before the wedding, said that they had scheduled us for the wrong weekend and we no longer had a reservation. Moral of the story, expect at least three meltdowns. Maybe four.
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? We definitely saved money by having an intimate wedding. It was important to us to only have our closest friends and family members in attendance and we wouldn’t have changed that for the world.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? I could rave about all of our vendors because they were ALL amazing. However, I had spent months and months searching for the perfect photographer and it really paid off. I remember the night that I discovered Ariel’s work. It took me three hours just to draft our initial email to see if she’d be interested in shooting our wedding… I was convinced that she’d never choose us. To my surprise, she called me the next day and was by far one of the coolest people I had ever met. Thanks to Ariel, we now have gorgeous shots from our engagement shoot, rehearsal dinner, and of course, our entire wedding day. I’ll treasure them forever and I’m counting down the days until I get to show them to our children. It’s going to be awesome.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? From Tyler: My most memorable moment from the wedding was standing next to my best friends, seeing my family and friends in the crowd, and hearing Canon in D start playing and the doors opening to my beautiful bride! I’m not an emotional guy at all, but it was so hard to fight back the tears in that moment. It was the happiest I’ve ever been in my life. I have played guitar for 16 years and always loved that song, but now, every time I hear and play it, I think of that moment and how excited I felt to marry my best friend. She looked absolutely gorgeous and when those doors opened and I saw her for the first time, she could not have looked any more perfect.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? This day is all about you and your future spouse. But, it’s also about your future children, their children, and so on. Therefore, plan your day with the intentions of capturing that special feeling that even your grandchildren will be able to experience through photos alone.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? Lots of children and lots of laughter.
Is there anything else you’d like to share about your wedding? It was awesome. You should have been there.
Photographer: Ariel Renae Photography / Planner: Weddings From This Day Forward / Ceremony Venue: Whitefield Chapel / Reception Venue: Garibaldi’s Cafe / Florist: A to Zinnias / Wedding Cake: Tier Luxury Cakes / Rentals: Savannah Special Events / DJ: DJ Nick Fresh / Bride’s Gown: Vera Wang / Paper Products & Calligraphy: Lowcountry Paper Co / Hair Stylist: Salon Aqua / Makeup Artist: Lauren Rossi Makeup / Bride’s Shoes: BCBG / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Badgley Mischka via Rent the Runway / Groom’s Attire: Calvin Klein / Groomsmen Attire: Mens Wearhouse / Vintage Stamps: Verde Studio / Welcome Bags: Pressed Cotton / Ampersand Coasters: Redbirdink / Gold Glitter Drink Stirrers: dillpicklepicnic / Flower Petal Bags: Howjoyfulshop