Katie and Mark’s story has my “hopeful romantic” (as Lara calls it) heart skipping a beat! After being set up by Katie’s friend, who Mark met at a party he almost skipped, they had a wonderfully successful first date, and four years later, Mark proposed while on a trip to Paris. With a story like that, it was only fitting that their wedding exemplified the sweet romance of their love story, combined with the down-home Southern feel Katie grew up with. Simply Bloom Photography did a beautiful job capturing the start of their next chapter!
P.S. Recognize Katie’s stunning dress? We used it in our Berry Bliss shoot! We also loved working with the florist behind these beautiful blooms, Lindsay Coletta, on Fine Feathered Fete. As much as we love our gorgeous editorials, it is even more fun to see some of the elements really come to life in real weddings!
Mark proposed on a trip to Paris in October 2012. We were in the Notre Dame Cathedral and it was absolutely beautiful. We both sat in front of the Pieta and said a prayer, and then he pulled out the ring and said, “Mary Kath, I wanted to ask you, in front of God, if you would spend the rest of your life with me?” I was so amazed by the beautiful ring and the feeling of the moment, I forgot to answer! It was only after he asked if I needed time that I said “Yes please! Yes please! I want to marry you!” It was one of the most beautiful, perfect moments of my life.
Describe your wedding flowers. I wanted my wedding colors to be neutral with pops of color. Since we were outdoors, I didn’t want to compete with the setting and nature. Lindsey Coletta was brilliant. The beautiful draping effect of the bouquets were my favorite detail. I had no idea what the flowers would look like and I was beyond thrilled with the results. They added so much to the environment and brought in a soft, ethereal, vintage feel that was so romantic!
After trying on dresses everywhere from Los Angeles to Orange County, I finally found a beautiful dress right down the street from the hotel I work at in Beverly Hills. When I went in to show my maid of honor a dress, I saw that they had a few new dresses for a Hayley Paige trunk show they were having over the weekend. My bridesmaid and I were on either side of the dress rack and pulled my dress out at the exact same time. As soon as I tried it on, I knew it was “my” dress! It was the most stunning gown I had ever put on and it made me feel beautiful!
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We decided to not write our own vows. I really wanted to stay present with Mark in that moment, rather than in my head, hoping I was getting the words right. I loved the words of our hand fasting ceremony. My husband is Irish, so we wanted to honor his heritage by having our hands tied together with a Celtic woven rope from Kerry County, Ireland. The prayer talks about how our hands will be the same hands we hold our children with, build a life together with, and hold one another with, and in many years, though withered and aged, will still be reaching out for one another. It was so beautiful and meaningful for us.
Living in L.A. has made me pretty homesick for my roots. We knew almost immediately that we wanted a down-home Southern wedding. After five days of driving around Georgia with my wedding planner and seeing different sites, I was almost in a panic. Mark came down for the weekend and we went to go check out a farm in Madison called the Farm House Inn at Hundred Acre Farm. As soon as we drove up, a collie came to greet us, and we immediately knew we had found the place!
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We did quite a bit of DIY. I did a lot of the signage, as well as collected some of the vintage decor. We were not extravagant on the linens; for us, it was just about enhancing what was already there. Nature speaks for itself, and boy, our venue was phenomenal!
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. My cake was pretty simple, but delicious! A small bakery near my home made a three-tiered buttercream cake that was decorated by my floral designer. It was all gone by the end of the wedding, so I think it was a hit!
Our first dance song was to “Passenger Seat” by Death Cab for Cutie. We heard it at the first concert we went to together and it was so moving and beautiful. It has been our favorite song throughout our relationship and just reminds me of us. We had a variety of music played throughout the reception, and our band was amazing! They came from North Carolina and played a ton of Southern rock and country–best dancing ever!
How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Mark decided last minute to go to a Christmas party that my best friend and her husband were attending. Her husband had been friends with Mark for years, but when my friend met him, she insisted on setting him up with me. He emailed me and we met for coffee. When he walked me to the car, he hugged me and said, “Well… I love you.” I laughed so hard, and said “Okay!” and the rest is history. For our fourth anniversary, he framed our first email, so now I see it every day. Mark gave a speech at our wedding saying he hadn’t planned on going to that party, but decided “Why not?” Every important moment happens in seconds and inches!
When did y’all get married? October 5, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 80
Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We did not do a first look. I wanted Mark to see me for the first time as I walked down the aisle and I’m glad that’s what we did–it felt more traditional that way.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: One of my favorite details was an old ladder that had vintage pictures attached to it. All of the pictures were of members of Mark’s family and my own who had passed on. I even have a picture from the early 1900s! Having all of that history on display to honor those who came before us was very meaningful. I am making an album that we will pass along to our children someday.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Everything about my wedding was Southern–just the way I wanted it. Getting married under an oak tree with a tire swing was so romantic, and it was my ultimate dream to have a Southern reception under the stars, complete with string lights and good Southern music! The menu was also extremely Southern–braised short ribs, parmesan fried chicken, fried green tomatoes, collard greens, and sweet tea, of course! The beer was all local Georgia beer from Sweetwater Brewery in Atlanta and Terrapin in Athens, which was about 20 minutes away.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Many details and vendors changed at the last minute. We had to get a new officiant a week before the wedding because the one we had originally booked was no where to be found. The videographer cancelled a couple of weeks before as well, but in the end, everything worked out just perfectly. Truly better than I had expected!
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? I fell in love with Simply Bloom Photography before I even knew where I was getting married. Being able to have them shoot my wedding was a dream come true. Also, A Divine Event Catering was phenomenal–people could not stop talking about the delicious food!
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? The laughter during the ceremony! My husband and I always laugh together, and it is one of the best things about our relationship. A fly kept landing on Mark’s face while our hands were bound, and it wouldn’t go away! I kept blowing at his face to make it fly away, but it kept coming back. We couldn’t stop laughing! I hope we laugh like that forever.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Take a deep breath and realize that it will be beautiful and wonderful, no matter what. If all of the details aren’t exactly the way you want them, it’s okay. Also, things are most likely going to change at some point during the planning process. People will get sick, vendors may cancel, and it’s best to just ride the wave. One of my bridesmaids told me right before the wedding to take in every moment. It is going to go by fast, so stay present and enjoy it!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We have quite a bit going on, so our focus for this year is spending quality time together. It can be difficult with our opposite schedules, but it is important. Time can go by so quickly if you let it. We are enjoying our first year of marriage, our three dogs, and our little house.
Photographer: Simply Bloom Photography / Planner: Marisa Negri for Chancey Charm / Venue: The Farmhouse Inn At Hundred Acre Farm / Florist: Lindsay Coletta / Cake Baker: Rhodes Bakery / Caterer: A Divine Event / Rentals: CRUSH Event Rentals / Band: The Several Devils Band / Bride’s Gown: “Guindon” by Hayley Paige / Bride’s Jewelry: XIV Karats Ltd. / Hair Stylist: Lorenzo Andarza / Bride’s Shoes: Boot Star / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Joanna August / Men’s Attire: The Modern Gent