When planning a wedding, there are a million things that can distract from what really matters, which is why I admire Wendy and Travis so much for the two things they committed to focusing on. Number one, they kept in mind that their wedding was first and foremost about them becoming husband and wife. Number two, they wanted to take the opportunity to celebrate the people who had helped shape them into who they are today. From the details inspired by Athens, Georgia, where their love story started, to the creative way Wendy saved money on her gown in order to put that budget toward caring for their guests, they did a beautiful job bringing both of their priorities to life, with the help of Candice Beaty at Chancey Charm Weddings!
Thank you so much to Lauren Carnes for sharing this sweet celebration with us!
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t dreamed about finding THE dress in a bridal store, but when it came down to our budget, buying a designer dress wasn’t very high on my list of priorities. Instead, I looked into alternative wedding dress sites that would help keep costs down (OnceWed, Preowned Wedding Dresses, etc.), and ultimately decided on a dress that I found on Etsy. I ordered it in plenty of time to buy a gown from a traditional retailer if it didn’t work out, but I’m happy to report that it fit perfectly! My dress was delivered about a month after I ordered it, and although I made some minor alterations, I was very happy with it. For the ceremony and portraits, I added a Watters lace overlay that I bought on Tradesy. As someone who is not the slightest bit creative, I can confidently say that, with a little bit of work, it is possible to have your dream dress and not break the bank!
We decided to do a first look, and I would totally recommend it to any other couples who are even considering it. Our first look was a time for us to steal away for just a few moments. We exchanged letters we had written to one another and just took everything in. Seeing Travis prior to the ceremony helped settle my nerves so much, too! Our first look was probably my favorite moment of the day. Aside from that, it was important to both of us that our wedding party was able to enjoy the reception (and join up with their significant others) as soon after the ceremony as possible. Since we chose to do a first look, we were able to take group photos before the ceremony, which helped streamline the group photo process so much.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. “In Christ Alone” was played during the seating of the mothers and grandparents, and I walked myself down the aisle to “How Deep The Father’s Love For Us.” My dad passed away three years ago, so not only was this song special because of its message, but it was also a way to remember him while I walked down the aisle. Travis and I walked out to “Something Beautiful” by Needtobreathe, a song and band that we both love.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Aside from the hummingbird cakes, we incorporated some Athens and Georgia-inspired touches into our reception. We served Terrapin beer, a beer brewed right in Athens, along with artwork by our dear friend and Atlanta artist, Britt Bass Turner, on the cookies. My sorority sisters sang our traditional wedding song to Travis and I, while his fraternity brothers performed what can affectionately be called their “fraternity chant.” Finally, the setting alone was very Southern! The magnolia trees, the blooming hydrangeas, and the rustic scenery all contributed to the Southern vibe of our wedding.
I asked Mary, my florist, to do something soft and feminine with an organic look, and she totally delivered! I know very little about floral design, so I showed Mary some bouquets that I liked and let her run with it. She knew exactly what I was looking for, from the ribbons on the bridesmaid bouquets to the greenery on the farm tables!
Instead of one large wedding cake, we chose to do a bunch of smaller ones that would allow people to taste a little bit of each flavor. We had traditional vanilla and chocolate cakes, as well as two hummingbird cakes. My grandmother always made each grandchild a hummingbird cake for our birthdays when we were younger, and she would decorate them with little animal figurines that made them feel so magical. The hummingbird cakes were a little way to remember her, since she was such an important part of our family. We also had cookies from Kellie’s Baking Co., complete with our friend Britt Bass Turner’s designs on them. The cookies were almost too cute to eat!
How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Travis and I were introduced by a mutual friend at Travis’ fraternity house during our freshman year at the University of Georgia. We didn’t talk long since Travis was tending to a dizzy-bat-gone-wrong scenario at the house. I walked away thinking, “Hm, he was cute.” We stayed in touch throughout freshman and sophomore years, mostly because our friend groups overlapped. Travis was busy cultivating a budding social life and staying involved in the fraternity, and I was busy spending countless hours tied to my chemistry notes. Needless to say, we weren’t seeing too much of one another. Fast forward to our junior year when Travis asked me on his fraternity formal in Nashville. He was the fraternity president at the time, so I obviously had to say yes. I am so glad I did! We had a great time in Nashville, and shortly after we got back, Travis manned up and asked me on a real date. The rest, as they say, is history!
Tell us all about the proposal! This past fall, my birthday fell on a big football weekend (UGA v. Clemson), which was wonderful, because all of our friends were in town and it felt like a big party! Travis had slyly asked me earlier if I would rather celebrate my birthday with all of our friends in Athens, or have a date, just the two of us, the following week. Not one to deny the chance to stretch out a birthday celebration, I asked if we could go to dinner the week after somewhere in Atlanta. Travis and I made our way to downtown Atlanta for dinner that Friday evening, and–miracle of all miracles–didn’t hit any traffic at all on the I-75/85 connector. If you live in Atlanta, you understand how rare and precious this is! Travis told me we were a bit too early for our dinner reservation, so we decided to grab a drink to buy some time. Afterwards, while we were walking to dinner, we passed a park that had lights glowing at the top of a hill. I was curious, so I told him I was going to quickly go see what was going on. When we got closer, I could see that the lights were actually lit candles surrounding a blanket and a bottle of champagne. It wasn’t until Travis was on one knee that I knew it was real. We were engaged!! We got to celebrate with our families at breakfast the next morning and started the planning right away. It was the perfect amount of time alone and celebrating with friends and family. I wish I could relive that night over and over!
When did y’all get married? May 9, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 250
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Travis and I were part of a premarital counseling program through our church. They paired us with a mentor couple who walked beside us over several months as we prepared for marriage. We met regularly with this couple and discussed everything from finances to expectations within the home to perceptions of marriage. In addition, we met with our officiant (who also happens to be our couples’ small group leader) and his wife a few times. We dove into “The Five Love Languages” and “Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts” with them. All of these efforts have been so valuable, and we’re already incorporating the things we took away from these sessions into our marriage.
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? More than anything, we wanted our wedding to be a time to celebrate all the people who had helped shape us, both together and individually. When considering where we were going to save money, we chose to cut corners in places that we felt wouldn’t affect our guests: my dress and his tux, the save the dates and invitations, and supplying our own alcohol were probably the biggest places we saved. We also scaled back on any upgrades to chairs for wedding seating, chose to do a buffet-style dinner, and used a DJ rather than a band for the reception. All of these things helped save so much money and didn’t detract from the day in the slightest bit!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? When we first got engaged, my sister told me “everyone will have an opinion.” And it’s so true! As someone who’s really sensitive to this sort of input, I sometimes had to step back and realize that I wasn’t going to make everyone happy, but that’s not what the day was about! I guess my advice would be this: everyone will have an opinion, but it’s so important to do whatever suits you and your future husband best. I tried to include Travis in any decision that I was making. It made our wedding day so fun knowing that we had created this thing from the ground up, and it was a small taste of what it would be like to make joint decisions as husband and wife.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Now that we’ve both finished grad school (one week before our wedding, no less), we’re so excited to enjoy our time together in the same city! We hope to explore more neighborhoods in Atlanta, find little spots that we can call our own, and grow some roots in our community. We also hope to travel a good bit in the next couple of years!
Photographer: Lauren Carnes Photography / Planner: Candice Beaty of Chancey Charm Weddings / Venue: The Hill at Epting Events / Florist: Mary Eddy at Vine and Branch Floral / Cake Baker: Cakes by Anna Johnson / Cookie Baker: Kellie’s Baking Co. and Britt Bass Turner / Caterer: Epting Events / Cocktail Hour Music: Clayton Lee / DJ: Hollon Yarborough at Amp’d Entertainment / Calligraphy: Betsy Paolella / Bride’s Gown: MisDress / Bride’s Lace Overlay: Wtoo / Hair and Makeup: Jen Lewis at Pastel Makeup and Hair / Bride’s Shoes: “Glittering Gold Heels” by Seychelles / Groom’s Jacket: Jos. A. Bank