“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.