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People often say that opposites attract, but for Chandler and David, their similarities are what drew them together. After meeting online and going on two dates within a mere six days, these two were inseparable. Their common beliefs and ability to see eye to eye fostered a love that quickly grew, and it carried them right through their premarital preparation and into their wedding day. When guest list challenges arose, Chandler and David focused on celebrating with those who loved them as a couple, and kept their focus centered on their relationship by viewing their wedding as “our day” instead of individually. The beautiful Lowndes Grove Plantation was the perfect place for everyone to enjoy their celebration–there was even a place for their tiny flower girl to squeeze in a quick nap!

Thank you kindly to our Blue Ribbon Vendor Virgil Bunao for sharing this sweet day!

I knew I wanted to do a girls trip for my bridal gown shopping, so arrangements were made for family and friends to join me in Charleston exactly one year prior to the wedding. I was joined by my mom, my sister, my sister-in-law, my maid of honor, and David’s mother. We went to two salons in the morning, and then after lunch, we moved on to Gown Boutique of Charleston. At GBC, I tried on about four dresses. I was getting a little frustrated and worried that I was going to be talked into a gown I didn’t love, before I finally put on the only dress I tried on in the store that I personally pulled off the rack. I knew as soon as I saw it that I loved it. I looked up and realized my mom was crying, so naturally, I started crying, and so did many of the other girls. We all knew this was the dress. Although not part of the original plan, I was glad I ended up wearing a veil. Initially, I was completely against the idea of wearing a veil, and committed to wearing a flower crown. At my fitting in March, my mom talked me into trying on a simple, cathedral-length veil, and I ended up loving it. Still committed to the flower crown, we ordered the veil and agreed that we would decide later about when each would be worn. After talking with David after the wedding, I was very happy that I was able to combine the flower crown I loved with the beautiful flowing veil that he had hoped for.

While rain on your wedding day is supposed to be good luck, after months of planning an outdoor ceremony, rain was anything but a welcome visitor on our big day. Therefore, when we learned about the Southern tradition of burying a bottle of bourbon to keep the rain away, we were all for it. We were so excited when we received a call from our planner saying we had the “okay” from our venue to bury the bourbon! We were blessed with beautiful sunny skies and temps in the 60s and 70s for our big day.

What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? I first heard “The Blessing of the Hands” in a wedding video I watched early in our planning process. We both loved the words of this poem, so we insisted on having David’s brother’s wife read it during our ceremony. My childhood minister, Dr. Hawkins, who guided us through premarital counseling, also officiated our wedding. Dr. Hawkins incorporated 1 John 4:16 and Colossians 3:12-17 into the service, and did a beautiful sermon on marriage. It was important to us that my maternal grandfather had a role in our wedding–he was a navy chaplain for many years, and officiated the wedding of my parents over 40 years ago, so it was special to us to have him read scripture during our ceremony. He read Ruth 1:16-17 and Mark 10:6-9, which David and I had chosen together.

Our favorite detail was definitely the venue– not only was it a gorgeous backdrop for our wedding ceremony and reception, but it made the events on the day of the wedding flow so easily. My bridal party and I spent the entire morning getting ready in the Lowndes Grove Plantation house prior to the ceremony. After the ceremony, the guests were able to wander around the venue and explore the house, property, and the dock that extends out into the Ashley River. The venue also allowed us to bring in a swing, which was hung from a tree by an attachment point designed by David so that it swiveled to face either the river or the house. We, and many of our guests, captured beautiful photos with loved ones on this swing. Since the swing is ours, it is memento that we can hang at our own home, so it will remind us of our wedding day for years to come. Later in the evening, the house was great for guests who wanted a quiet place to enjoy each other’s company. Our reception was on the back patio under a tent, and once the band started playing, this area got loud (in a good way!), but there was a ton of comfortable seating inside that many of our elderly guests were able to escape to as the night carried on. Our flower girl, who was 13 months old at the time, was even able to take a little nap during the reception on the second floor of the house, which I know her mother appreciated. David and I loved Lowndes Grove from the first time we saw it, but it was especially nice to see how well it accommodated our guests’ needs.

Although we would have loved to have our dog, Olsen, present at the wedding, we knew his playful, and sometimes rambunctious, personality would have never allowed it. At the wedding, David and I, on behalf of Olsen, had pink tennis balls and custom dog treats available for guests to take home to their four-legged friends. For weeks after the wedding, we received photos from friends and family of their dogs enjoying either the treats or their new pink tennis balls. We loved that these favors gave us the opportunity to incorporate our dog into the wedding, but it was also such a privilege to learn more about our guests’ beloved pets.

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? One of the best things you can do is hire a wedding planner who fits your design style and personality, and is able to delegate tasks to family and friends who are offering to help. Ali was organized, assertive, responsive, pleasant to be around, and willing to be as involved as we wanted her to be. Ali and her team saved us an ample amount of money in the long run, not to mention, her team ensured the wedding planning process was always fun and not stressful.

To say I like bows would be a huge understatement–I LOVE them! From the beginning stages of planning our wedding cake, we knew there would be a bow on it. We wanted our cake design to be classic and more traditional in style, so we chose to have a solid white cake. The final product was exactly what we wanted: a four-tiered round cake with a simple quatrefoil pattern on the first and third tiers. The largest tier had a beautiful white fondant bow on the front of it. We had two different flavor options for our guests to choose from: chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream and vanilla cake with passion fruit buttercream. Luckily for us, Patrick Properties sent us home with two slices of each flavor and an anniversary tier, so we were able to enjoy our tasty cake for many days following the wedding. We can’t wait for our first anniversary to enjoy it all over again!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. In July 2013, we had both recently relocated to the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina for jobs. Being single and knowing very few people in the area, we both decided to create online dating profiles on Match.com. I created my account on a Sunday afternoon, and shortly thereafter, David messaged me. After an email exchange, we agreed to meet in person for dinner in Durham at a small Italian restaurant called Piazza Italia. The connection was immediate. The conversation never stopped and we quickly realized that our personalities meshed perfectly. Before we knew it, the dinner was over, and not being ready to say goodbye, we headed across the street to James Joyce Irish Pub for drinks and trivia. Since we both had to work the next day, the night had to end earlier then we would have liked, so we planned a second date for that Friday. After two dates within a mere six days, we were inseparable and dating exclusively.
Tell us all about the proposal! Many of our friends and family members were speculating aloud that we were going to get engaged soon–even though we had only been dating for eight months. From these conversations, David had learned two important things: 1. I was confident my best friend Jillian wouldn’t know about the proposal ahead of time because she wouldn’t be able to keep a secret like that from me, and 2. I wanted an extended period of time together after the engagement to enjoy the moment (like a vacation or weekend). With that in mind, David knew that in order to surprise me, Jillian had to be involved and that the proposal needed to be on a weekday! On the morning of the proposal (April 24, 2014), Jillian, per the plan, called me and asked if we would like to join her and her boyfriend for a picnic dinner at Duke Gardens. Prior to this, David had told me he would be working late (in an attempt to throw me off) so I was hesitant at first because I didn’t want to be a “third wheel.” After hours of persuasion, Jillian convinced me to join her, at which point, David announced he no longer had to work late and would be available to come along. With the picnic basket (complete with the ring) in hand, Jillian was first to arrive at the bench where David was to propose. David and I found her waiting there, and after some quick “hellos,” Jillian announced she had to get her boyfriend from the parking lot. At this point, David suggested we enjoy some wine, pulled a bottle out of the picnic basket, and handed it to me. Etched on the glass wine bottle was “Will you marry me?”, my monogram, a sweet note. I was shocked and immediately began crying tears of joy. David was so excited he forgot everything he was going to say and ended up just reading the message on the back of the wine bottle instead of reciting his memorized speech, after which, he dropped to one knee and presented me with a beautiful engagement ring.
When did y’all get married? October 31, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 126
What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? I actually saw Lowndes Grove Plantation in a magazine years ago and thought it was so gorgeous. Since that moment, I have wanted to get married there. After we got engaged, David was on board with a Charleston wedding. Since we have family spread out all over the US and guests would be traveling from near and far, we wanted to pick a location that guests would enjoy spending a few extra days in, and Charleston definitely fit that criteria. David had planned a trip to Charleston for my birthday three weeks after we got engaged. During that time, we looked at four venues. We went to Lowndes Grove first and fell in love with it, but David was very excited about another venue in the Charleston area, so we wanted to check it out as well before we made any final decisions. All the venues we toured were beautiful in their own way, but just didn’t compare to Lowndes Grove Plantation.
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? Instead of writing our own vows, we decided to use traditional vows and write each other personal letters to be read prior to the ceremony in private.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We had many conversations that began prior to being engaged, during which we discussed many of the topics relevant to marriage. Having nearly identical viewpoints in so many key areas was a major contributing factor to us now being married. Our similarities and common beliefs only fostered the love between us. We also independently took the Prepare-Enrich premarital survey that measures a person’s perceptions on many critical aspects of life, such as finances, religion, family, children, etc. Our answers were used to highlight similarities and differences in our beliefs and was a part of our pre-marital counseling that was done by my childhood minister, Dr. Hawkins.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The biggest challenge to overcome with planning our wedding was putting together the guest list. At the end of the day, we ended up inviting those individuals who knew us and loved us AS A COUPLE. We viewed our wedding as OUR day rather than that of the bride or groom individually, so we wanted people there who had fostered and encouraged our relationship.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are thrilled to finally be married and to be able to move on to the next chapter in our lives, during which we will continue to build our relationship and learn how to conquer the challenges of life together. Memories we are looking forward to in the years to come are taking vacations together, starting our own family traditions, purchasing a house, growing our family with children and puppies, and fulfilling new roles as aunt and uncle. We are also looking forward to having friends and family over for dinner parties, special celebrations, and holidays.

Photographer: Virgil Bunao | Videographer: Siegel Films | Planner: A. Caldwell Events | Venue: Lowndes Grove Plantation | Florist: Tiger Lily Florist | Cake Baker: Jessica Grossman | Caterer: Fish | Rentals: Snyder Events, EventWorks, and 428 Main | Lighting: Innovative Event Services | Band: The Mighty Kicks | Ceremony and Cocktail Hour Musicians: Charleston Virtuosi | Save the Dates: Green Tie Studio | Invitation Calligraphy, Navy and White Wedding Signage, Welcome Sign, Hors d’oevures Cards, and Place Cards: Mason Dixon Designs | Artwork and Calligraphy for Table Numbers, Programs, Menus, Invitations, and Welcome Letters: Cass Deller Design | Paper Goods Formatting and Printing: Ply | Bride’s Gown: Eugenia Couture | Bridal Salon and Veil: Gown Boutique of Charleston | Bride’s Earrings: Bailey’s Fine Jewelry | Hair and Makeup: Paper Dolls Wedding Hair and Makeup | Bride’s Shoes: Elehandmade | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: LulaKate | Men’s Suits: The Black Tux | Men’s Shirts, Ties, and Tie Clips: J. Crew | Bridesmaid Robes: Talbots | Custom Dog Treats: Treat Dreams Dog Bakery | Koozies: SplendidSips | Welcome Bags: Welcome Bags Weddings | Cocktail Napkins: Memorable Wedding | Monogrammed Corn Hole Bags: The Lakeside Woodshop | Coral Quatrefoil Pillows: Pillows by Janet | Bride and Groom Chair Signs: Host and Toast Studio | Custom Corn Hole Board Decals: WG Cornhole | Monogrammed Chevron Swing Pillow: Peppermint Bee | Transportation: Lancaster Tours

Virgil Bunao is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
4 Comments
  1. avatar Molly reply

    Yay! Congrats Chandler + David! Working with you both was such a wonderful experience! Your globetrotting stationery :) will forever hold a special place in my heart! So happy for you both!

  2. avatar Ali reply

    AW! We LOVE YOU TWO!!! What a fun experience this was and we are so blessed to have worked with two amazing individuals with such a deep love for each other and God! Hands down one of my favorite weddings to-date! XO

  3. avatar Zookbinders Wedding Albums reply

    Such a lovely bride! Gorgeous wedding!

  4. avatar Blavou Photography reply

    Wow, lovely wedding and inspirational photography!

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“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.

lisa Written with love by Lisa
3 Comments
  1. avatar Dana reply

    I love the bright flowers that still fit into the fall wedding!

  2. avatar Lauren Carnes Photography reply

    Thank you so much for featuring Katie & Chris’ amazing day! It’s always an honor to share with you all – this one was certainly one for the books – and the sentiments and heritage-inspired details were so sweet!

  3. avatar Gosia reply

    Lovely pictures, thank you for shearing!

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