There’s nothing like coming home, don’t you agree? Though Sarah + Nick live in Indianapolis, Nick strongly encouraged Sarah to have the wedding in Chattanooga, her second home. According to the bride, “Getting married beneath Lookout Mountain, a place that was close to my heart even before Nick proposed to me there, was priceless. To me, “Southern” is a relaxed setting where you can enjoy the time with your loved ones in a beautiful setting — no need to decorate God’s creation! You know when everyone’s at Mom’s house, they gravitate to the kitchen, because that’s where the people are, where life happens, where the food is. That’s what the setting of the Barn at High Point Farms gave us. Our focus on heritage brought in reminders of generations past, well-loved and much missed.”
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. Judging from these images by Austin Warnock, we think it feels just right.
Julianna Chapman (my cousin and maid of honor) is an amazing floral designer. She works at a floral design studio in Chattanooga, TN, but did the wedding flowers herself with the help of my cousins and another bridesmaid. Since I was in Indiana and she was in Tennessee, we exchanged ideas via Pinterest and had some long Skype sessions. I had no doubt that Julianna would be able to capture my vision and take it to another level. I wanted lots of creams and texture, loosely bound, not overly structured. I wanted cream with some light blue accents in my bouquet to tie in with the color of Nick’s shirt. For the bridesmaids’ bouquets, I wanted creams with strong accents of yellow/marigold pops of color. The boutonnieres had simple, natural elements, and also brought in the yellow accent. As for the buffet area, full creative credit goes to Julianna and my sisters. They took over planning and decorating the buffet when my creative juices ran low during the last month of wedding planning. I was so blown away with the sweet details, draped lace tablecloths, family serving ware, and fresh flowers. Julianna incorporated mason jars of flowers around rusted old milk crates from my sister’s farmhouse, pictures of me and Nick, tree trunk rounds, and bird houses.
Doesn’t the photo below just pull at your heart strings? I love the moment when guests first see the bride walk down the aisle — all that anticipation!
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Between me and Nick, we have 8 nieces and nephews. We wanted all of them involved, letting kids be kids. So, we had a wedding parade! They all went down the aisle with bells, flags that Nick and I made, and flowers. The littlest ones were pulled in a wagon. I wanted the kids to be relaxed, and was perfectly fine if we had some last-minute mishaps or outright revolts – but they all had a great time!
I love that Sarah + Nick’s cake topper now sits on their windowsill at home! It’s such a great way to be reminded of their wedding. The cupcakes came in seven flavors: red velvet, cappuccino, Italian cream, cinnamon swirl, german chocolate, groovy, and grasshopper.
How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. We were set up by a mutual friend soon after I moved from Chattanooga to Indianapolis for a job. Whether by instinct or indigestion, my friend Derrick was convinced that I should meet his friend Nick. Knowing that I was not interested in being set up, Derrick pestered me and lied to me, saying he had no hidden intentions, until we got something on the calendar. Nick knew full well that it was a set-up all along, and over a take-out pizza, we met. Both of us were a little shy, a little curious, and thankful for Derrick’s boisterous steal-the-spotlight presence. We could have gone without the questioning each time the other left the room — “So?? What do you think?!?” A week later, Nick and I had our first date (without Derrick) at a local pub.
Describe the proposal. As the summer days grew longer, I was getting more and more curious about what Nick was scheming. He kept his lips tightly sealed, and thoroughly enjoyed tormenting me with the fact that I was NOT in control! In early August, my cousin Julianna called me to ask if I’d be able to come down to Chattanooga as soon as possible to meet her certain someone and that it would be fun if Nick could come too. Little did I know, Nick had arranged it all with Julianna. We drove down to Chattanooga and Saturday morning, got up early for a hike to Sunset Rock on Lookout Mountain. After a brief jaunt from our parking spot, we reached the overlook. I scrambled to the edge, thrilled with the morning view, as our companions set off in the other direction to look at some plants. I turned around once to make sure Nick was paying attention to the view, and turned around again to find him on one knee, holding my great-grandmother’s engagement ring. The world went quiet, and he asked a simple question. I answered with the words that had echoed in my heart for months: “A thousand times, yes!”
In what month did you get married? April 2012
How many guests attended your wedding? 150
Tell us about finding your wedding dress: I didn’t daydream about dresses or stash away bridal magazines before getting engaged, mostly because I was nervous about what style would work for me – I’m often hard to fit being under 5 feet tall! A week after getting engaged, I wanted to test the dress hunting waters and made an appointment at David’s Bridal with a soon-to-be-married friend. Setting aside any “princess poufiness,” we found a few options which I tried on again later that weekend for my mom and sister. I knew I’d found the one when I didn’t want to take it off. I loved my dress – it wasn’t “just another strapless”, it didn’t overwhelm my figure, and I could move around so easily at our outdoor wedding.
Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? I’m so glad that we did! With it being “our day,” we wanted to share more of it together and knew that it would help calm nerves. On the practical side, we knew it would make the day go smoother if we could get bridal party and family pictures done prior to the ceremony. Our reveal took place in a tree grove near the barn. The setting was beautiful and the moment remains one of Nick’s favorites of the day. However, I was a little distracted by the family members who appeared out of nowhere to sneak a peek – especially my Dad and brother on ladders in the trees nearby, stringing white lights!
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? For our vows, we combined several elements of traditional vows. My favorite part was for the exchange of rings when I said, “Nick, I give you this ring as a symbol of my vow, and with all that I am and all that I have, I honor you, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” It’s a whole-life commitment. Our vows reach into every part of our lives, for the rest of our lives.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding. I walked down the aisle to “Lion Song” by Jason Harrod and walked up the aisle to “But For Those Who Fear My Name” by The Welcome Wagon. Our first dance was to “Songbird” by Eva Cassidy. The father/daughter dance was to “Moonlight Serenade” by Glen Miller Orchestra and the mother/son dance was to “You’ve Got A Friend” by Carole King.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? It was a very DIY wedding, which helped us cut costs, but took a LOT of time and planning — from wedding planning and catering to set-up and decorating. I think the biggest challenge was knowing when to stop gathering new ideas, to shut the laptop and stop looking at Pinterest.
What range did your wedding budget fall into? $10,000-$25,000, close to $10,000
What is the one thing you are most happy you splurged on? Photography. We were advised early in the planning process to set aside as much as we could afford for photography – pay for the quality, and figure out where to cut the budget elsewhere. I’m so glad we did. Austin Warnock Photography was amazing to work with, and we’re thrilled with the results.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Sneaking away for a quick minute during our evening reception to take a look at the starscape, seeing the barn lit up behind us, filled with our loved ones, happy blurs of music and light.