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While they have so many great moments to remember from their wedding day at the beautiful Castleton Farms, for Mary and Dom, the moment when their eyes met as she walked down the aisle takes the cake! It was filled with so much joy and happiness that they know they’ll never forget. Planning a wedding and honeymoon around Dom’s hockey schedule was no easy task, but together, they focused on what was most important to them as a couple and showed their guests the sweet Southern hospitality of Mary’s home state of Tennessee. As for Mary’s sage advice for those planning a wedding? “Don’t let the illusion of perfection distract you from the beauty of the life that is right in front of you.” Yes, ma’am!!

Big hugs to Jennie Andrews for sharing this dreamy day with us!

I loved my dress! A few days after the proposal, I went out with my mom, sister, and sister-in-law to do some dress shopping (they were staying with me for a few days after the big surprise engagement dinner). They were only in New York for a short time, so we made tons of appointments and were ready to hit up every store in NYC. Of course, the first shop we went to, a cute little boutique called L’Fay Bridal, had some of the most beautiful dresses I had ever seen! THE dress was about the fifth one I tried on, and once I put it on, I could not stop smiling. We all knew it was the one, but did not want to pick a dress quite that quickly. After leaving the shop, I called Dom and told him I thought I had found the dress. He was happy to hear it and told me to go for it! The next day, I went in and bought it.

What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We tried to save some money in every category along the way, skipping letterpress on the invites, buying bridesmaid dresses during major sales at J. Crew, and things of that nature. Most significantly, we worked with our florist to reuse as many of the arrangements as we could. Flowers from the rehearsal dinner were used at the cocktail hour the next day, and flowers from the ceremony were brought up onto the deck of the barn to decorate the bar. Also, we did our rehearsal dinner at Castleton Farms, since we were able to pay for a weekend package. Not paying for a new venue for that dinner was a big cost saver.

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We had a string trio play classics like Pachelbel’s “Canon in D” and “Trumpet Voluntary” for the ceremony. We wanted those sweet and traditional melodies to set the tone for the day.
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We had a traditional Christian wedding and said the traditional vows.

There are so many great moments that we remember so vividly about the whole day, but by far, the most memorable moment for us was when I was walking down the aisle. Dom didn’t want to see me too early when I was far away, so he was facing Pastor Wood until I entered the doors and was ready to come down the aisle. When he turned, our eyes met, and we both just exploded with joy and happiness!

We chose Castleton Farms for our ceremony and reception for a few different reasons. First, I am from Tennessee and wanted to have the wedding in my home state! Second, Castleton Farms was stunning. It was every dream wedding Pinterest board come true, and after one quick visit (in the winter, even!), we were beyond interested. We met with the venue coordinator, Darla Walker, and were so impressed by her that we booked that very day! I think I called her around 9 P.M. to book it because I was so set on having that venue and was worried that someone else might take our date! Fitting in a wedding and honeymoon around a hockey player’s schedule is quite a feat!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We had the wedding reception in a barn. The night before the wedding, all the girls and I slept over at the venue in the big, Southern mansion they have on property. It was amazing! We had a lemonade tent with all kinds of lemonade for the guests during the cocktail hour. The cocktail hour was more of a game hour, complete with lawn games like croquet, blongo ball, and corn hole–all good, Southern games! We knew it would be hot and people would need to fan themselves a bit to keep from overheating, so we made our ceremony programs fans. We also had barbecue as an entree option at the dinner.

We had a three-layer white wedding cake with fresh flowers on it. We also had some delicious cupcakes (about four different flavors and colors) and little jars of heart-shaped apple pies. The apple pie was supposed to go with the moonshine bar, but they were out on display and got eaten pretty quickly–long before the moonshine came out!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. One of my friends from college played tennis with Dom during the summers. Once we had been introduced, Dom invited me to come and see a game some time (he plays for the New York Rangers). After the first game I went to, I was waiting for him to come out after the game to head to dinner with me and a few friends. When he walked around the corner, my heart jumped. I quickly began to see that I was not the only one with a little crush, since I seemed to be getting a bit more attention than his other guests at the games–and kept getting the invite back. Also, he was playing incredibly well any time I was at a game! It didn’t take long for us to begin dating. We were out to dinner after one of his games when we made it official. We love going back to that restaurant and thinking about that special time.
Tell us all about the proposal! Dom proposed in Central Park! Central Park is a special place for us. We spent a number of different occasions there while we were dating–having picnics, taking walks, going ice skating, and riding bikes. Last December, we were trying to decide if we should stay in New York for Christmas or go home to be with our families. We finally decided to stay in the city, even though we would really miss our families. On Christmas Eve, we spent the day doing all things Christmas-y and just enjoying the day together. Later in the day, Dom suggested we go ice skating. As you may guess, skating with a hockey player is quite a fun experience!! After skating, he suggested we go out to dinner so that I would not have to worry about cooking anything. He called The Boathouse restaurant to see if we could get reservations, and lo and behold, they had some availability. We got dressed up and started walking to dinner. The Boathouse is in the middle of Central Park, so you have to walk through the park to get there. The only things around were the horse-drawn carriages going by every now and then. Somewhere along the walk, words of love were exchanged and a ring was given. We like to keep the details of it between the two of us! :) After getting engaged, we continued our walk to the restaurant, stopping to hug and kiss and laugh every few steps. To my surprise, when we arrived at the restaurant, out popped my parents, Dom’s parents, and my brother and sister-in-law!!! Dom had flown everyone up for a surprise engagement dinner! It turned out that it would be a family-filled Christmas after all, with even more reasons to celebrate.
When did y’all get married? July 11, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? There were about 140 people at the wedding. We felt so loved that so many friends made the trip to Tennessee to be there.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! To be honest, I did not think that through! I did, however, have something borrowed and blue. When Dom and I were first dating, I started wearing one of his blue flannel shirts because I needed a light jacket and didn’t have one, so he let me borrow it. He told me I looked better in it than he did, so I wore it a bunch and loved it! I wore that button-down all day while I was getting ready for the wedding. It was a little reminder of the start of all the love–not to mention, it was perfect for the job and cute!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Don’t forget the whole reason you are planning this event: to unite yourself with the love of your life! Trust me, you won’t even get to see most of the things you spent months planning. You will be so busy gazing at your husband and taking in all the smiles and hugs from your friends and family, that all those details that seemed so crucial will go largely unnoticed by you and your fiancé. Planning a wedding is like most things in life: you should try your hardest to make it the best that you can, but don’t let the illusion of perfection distract you from the beauty of the life that is right in front of you.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are back to work now and are also having fun redecorating Dom’s old place. We both want to have a family and are excited to get started on that in the near future! Also, we love working out together, so Dom spent the summer teaching me to play tennis! We are looking forward to playing together throughout life.

Photographer: Jennie Andrews / Videographer: Alex Widmer / Venue and Coordination: Castleton Farms / Florist: Samuel Franklin / Cake Baker: Cheryl McMillan / Caterer: All Occasion Catering / Rentals: All Occasions Party Rental / Band: Emerald Empire Band / Paper Products: The Happy Envelope / Bride’s Gown: Berta Bridal / Bridal Salon and Veil: L’Fay Bridal / Hair and Makeup: Bangs and Blush / Bride’s Shoes: Betsey Johnson / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Various styles in Misty Rose by J. Crew / Menswear: J. Crew / Transportation: Chariots of Hire / Cupcakes: Scrumps Cupcakes / Invitation Calligraphy: Alice Sword

marissa Written with love by Marissa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Dimity reply

    Oh, what a beautiful piece of advice from Mary! “Planning a wedding is like most things in life: you should try your hardest to make it the best that you can, but don’t let the illusion of perfection distract you from the beauty of the life that is right in front of you.” I will carry this with me as I plan our special day. Thank you for sharing xo

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We’ve talked about what the girls will wear at my wedding, and now, let’s talk about the gents! The nuances of menswear baffle me, but thankfully, Dave has sharp style and super high standards, so I’ve been more than happy to leave this wedding planning ball primarily in his GQ-educated court.

When Dave and I started discussing what he and his groomsmen (consisting of my brother, his two brothers, two college friends, two high school friends, and one childhood friend–quite a group!) will wear, we quickly agreed on about what color they’d be in: navy. I’ve been secretive about our color palette so far, but navy is indeed playing a big role, and the gents’ attire is the perfect place to bring that shade into our wedding day fashion! Here are a few of the inspiration images we rounded up:

Clockwise from top: Ashley Seawell via Southern Weddings, Rylee Hitchner via Once Wed, Michael Radford via Grey Likes Weddings, Brea McDonald via Grey Likes Weddings, Eric Boneske via Southern Weddings, Jose Villa via Once Wed

We briefly considered going the custom route to ensure perfect fits (I love Knot Standard for affordable custom suiting), but even with some reasonable prices that we found, it still felt like too much to ask of people who need to travel to our wedding. Dave also really wanted to stay away from rentals so that everyone could invest in pieces they’ll love and wear for years. On a spontaneous trip to J. Crew a few weeks ago, we fell in love with the Ludlow suit in deep navy–it fit Dave perfectly! In an effort to keep the costs down for each of the groomsmen, we decided that Dave and both of our dads will be the only ones in full suits. I love the two images below, and hope our gents end up looking something like them!

Top: Ryan Ray, bottom: Kaytee Lauren via Southern Weddings

To finish off the look, the gents will be in white shirts, brown leather belts, brown shoes, and ties–I know, a little surprising that we aren’t going with bow ties! Rest assured, there will plenty of other “Southern thangs” present :) As easy as choosing the rest of the menswear has been, Dave and I are stuck on ties…so we’d love your thoughts! Here are our options:

Weigh in on your favorite in the comments–we’d love your help making this decision!

In case you missed a post…
I’m Engaged! / The Main Characters / Our Venues / Our Photographer / Our Videographer / Planning Our Engagement Pictures / Our Flowers / Bridesmaid Style / Our Save the Dates

lisa Written with love by Lisa
9 Comments
  1. avatar lena reply

    Love the look, and the gingham ties!

  2. avatar Ashley Relvas reply

    Love tie bar and this look! Always a big fan of gingham ties :)

  3. avatar Kristin reply

    Gah! They are all gorgeous. I think I vote for those sharp looking gingham ties but I don’t think you can go wrong!! xo.

  4. avatar Dana reply

    seersucker <3 they are going to look so fresh!

  5. avatar Morgan reply

    The gray seersucker is my top choice! You can’t go wrong with these options!

  6. avatar Stephanie reply

    I absolutely love the overall look and feel you’re going for! My favorite is the blue gingham, but you can’t go wrong with any of these.

  7. avatar Jessica Leighanne reply

    I’m really loving tie #1! I love that it has so much texture, while still being a solid. And I think the color would look wonderful with the navy.

  8. avatar Robyn Van Dyke reply

    I love the navy gingham, #3!! :)

  9. avatar Laura reply

    I’m partial to the gingham and I think that will fit in perfectly at your venue.

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The Atlanta skyline is an amazing one, so I was not surprised at all to hear that when Abby and Matt first saw Ventanas, they knew they had found the venue for their future wedding, even before they were engaged! With the help of Park Avenue Events, they planned a chic rooftop ceremony and reception, being sure to incorporate nods to both of their hometowns and their families. They weren’t afraid to break from tradition when it came to things like song choices and cake flavors, and as a result, every detail of their wedding rang true to their personalities and style!

Thanks to Our Labor of Love for sharing Abby and Matt’s wedding with us, and getting our week started on such a lovely note!

My bouquet was a mix of blush and black anemones, roses, and gardenias. I wanted to keep it simple and elegant, with a little touch of my Southern roots. My grandma and godmother also started collecting new and antique brooches (which they presented to me at different showers over the year we were engaged) to add to the bouquet later. It was gorgeous! I loved my bouquet, and most of all, I loved carrying a part of my family tradition down the aisle with me.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Our venue had a helicopter pad overlooking the entire city, and it was the most amazingly clear spring day. We chose to do our first look and bridal party photos up there (brave party). Walking what seemed like into the sky to see my soon-to-be husband was something I’ll never forget!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? To be honest, it was the first and only place we visited. I have had a few girlfriends get married before me, so I found Ventanas a year before Matt proposed, while I was “researching” for a girlfriend. I showed it to Matt and we both knew that it was our venue, even before we were engaged. I am an interior designer, so the blank space and views were all I needed to see. It was just as perfect as we could have imagined!

My best friend’s dad, who has been married for over 30 years, got ordained just for us, which was an honor. We are hoping some of that marriage luck might rub off on us! We had him read our favorite Bible verse about love from Corinthians 13:4-13.

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? To be honest, the guest list! We decided on our venue so quickly, we didn’t realize that the capacity restraints for the ceremony were much smaller than what we had in mind. In the end, we were able to accommodate all our family and most of our friends to make the day perfect! Our design team really found a way to comfortably pack in as many people as we could. We also made the executive decision to invite some guests to just the reception, which accommodated much more. Weddings are definitely give and take, and we were happy with our decision.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: My husband would definitely say the candy bar (I am pretty sure he is still eating it). I would say our guest book. I bought a Vogue Weddings coffee table book and had people sign that. I loved being able to see where people decided to sign, and the clever comments they made next to some of the greatest wedding dresses in history. The best part is that it actually sits on our coffee table, so we really use it and are constantly reminded of our favorite day and all the people who love us!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? I would say the most obvious was our split menu. We had gourmet chicken and waffles, mac and cheese, collard greens, and fried green tomatoes, as only A Legendary Event can do. The other half of the menu represented my Italian New Yorker husband, with hanger steak, fingerling potatoes, caprese salad, and a pasta bar. People are still talking about the food!

I found our wedding cake pretty much immediately. I knew exactly what I wanted: a simple white with a big cascading flower. I let Matt pick his favorite flavors (as crazy as they were). We had an apple cake with caramel filling, and I made sure one layer was red velvet with cream cheese icing, my Southern staple. My event designer, Christine, took the look to the next level with the acrylic stand filled with rose petals!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. It was Thanksgiving weekend, 10 years ago, at Dos Copas in my hometown of Alpharetta, Georgia. I was a girl in art school, and he was a boy in a band, playing in Canada. Many phone calls and a seven-year courtship later, we finally went on our first date. Fireworks went off between us, and three “short” years later, Matt made the best decision of his life…he proposed, and it was a done deal.
Tell us all about the proposal! After the most perfect out-of-town wedding weekend for our best friends, all I wanted was some Taco Bell (classy, I know). Little did I know that Matt had a big surprise up his sleeve. Since I am known to be just a little OCD, Matt had hidden a sparkly surprise in my weekender bag. Despite desperately wanting to eat my lunch and take a nap, I just couldn’t fight the urge to unpack as soon as we got home. With one falsie eyelash was still hanging on and I was rocking my favorite sweat pants, I unpacked my bag, found something that delayed my meal, made me cry, and changed our lives forever. Matt just loves when a good plan comes together!
When did y’all get married? April 12, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 160
Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We did do a first look! We decided to do it after much debate (we are pretty superstitious), but when it came down to it, we decided it was more important for us to have a less stressful wedding after the ceremony and a longer reception. We are now so happy we did it! It was probably the only part of the day that was just for us. I loved seeing his reaction before anyone else, and it all became so real. I totally recommend it!
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Our last seating song was “Moon River” by Audrey Hepburn. It’s my all time favorite, and it set the mood for the entire wedding. For walking down the aisle, my husband chose “Crazy Love” by Michael Bublé. We walked back up the aisle to “I’m The Man” by Aloe Blacc, which was also my husband’s choice–funny, and it got the point across. Our first dance was to “Feels Like Home” by Chantal Kreviazuk, an oldie but such a goodie from Dawson’s Creek. My husband is a DJ, and I sometimes think I should have been, so songs were probably the toughest decisions we had to make. We tried to go with music that reflected each of us, told our story, and wasn’t something you’ve heard 100 times at a wedding.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! Of course! My something borrowed was my bracelet…well, part of it. I had a feathered cuff from BHLDN that I ordered and loved, but the clasp broke on the day of the wedding. My aunt/godmother used one of her antique brooches to clasp it–it was a diamond bow and actually looked better then the original! My something blue was for my mom. It was a handkerchief monogrammed with our wedding date and initials, for those happy cries. My something new was my day-of gift from my husband: a surprise second wedding band! One for our day and one for what was to come.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $75,000-$100,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? The menu. In my experience, towards the end of planning is when you realize you may have gone a bit more above your budget than you thought. The easiest way for us to solve this problem was to cut down our menu. We realized we had overestimated numbers and had one too many options. Even with the cut, my husband and I had a more-than-generous late-night snack!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Try to enjoy it! Don’t let the little things take over your mind. Honestly, nobody will ever notice. Enjoy planning with your partner! Guys have ideas, and it’s a big day for him too. Plus, it’s much more fun to share the responsibility!

Photographer: Our Labor of Love / Planner: Park Avenue Events / Venue: Ventanas / Florist: Perfect Petals / Cake Baker: Perfect Wedding Cake / Catering: A Legendary Event / Lighting: Active / DJ: Marquee Events / Paper Products: Sandi Spells Designs / Bride’s Gown: Manuel Mota / Bride’s Hair Accessories: Cécile Boccara / Hair Stylist: Christine Lopez / Makeup Artist: Amanda Ford / Bride’s Shoes: BHLDN / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Splended Angel Dress” by Xenia / Men’s Attire: Savvi Formal Wear

lisa Written with love by Lisa
6 Comments
  1. avatar Loverly reply

    What gorgeous pastels! A truly beautiful wedding.

  2. avatar Heidi Geldhauser reply

    thank you for sharing this fun wedding – I especially love how this venue shows off Atlanta!

  3. avatar Emily reply

    Their Atlanta city skyline first look is perfection! :)

  4. avatar Alison Ulshoffer Events reply

    Gorgeous as always Heidi!

  5. avatar All You Need To Know About Grooms' Cakes reply

    […] Cake, Perfect Wedding Cake, Photo by Our Labor of Love via Southern Weddings […]

  6. avatar Abbey reply

    Is there any way of finding out where the monogrammed bridesmaid bags came from? I absolutely love them!

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