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When you combine a dreamy blush Monique Lhuillier gown, an abundance of pastel blooms, a garden that serendipitously shares the groom’s last name, and a couple who is clearly smitten with each other, you know a wedding is going to be incredible! With the help of Sage Nines Event Production, Ellen and Brad loved planning their spring nuptials in the Wills Perennial Garden at Cheekwood Botanical Gardens, a place they visited often during their dating years. Besides the lovely, spring-inspired details, the highlight of their wedding was without a doubt the love of their community that surrounded them–their most memorable moment is sweet as can be!

Hugs to Mary Rosenbaum for sending Ellen and Brad’s lovely day our way!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. The weekend of dress shopping was so much fun. My sister flew in from LA and several of my bridesmaids were able to come as well. We scheduled the weekend around a Monique Lhuillier trunk show at The Bride Room. Mine was the third dress I tried on, and as soon as I had it on, we all knew it was the one. I called my dad over for the final opinion, and he loved it. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room!

My bridal bouquet was a hand-tied bouquet of fresh lavender and lilac, pale pink garden roses, blush astilbe, white lisianthus, light blue delphinium, dusty miller, and light pink ranunculus. The bouquet was very loose and wildflower-inspired. Our centerpieces were in gold mercury glass bottles and goblets and consisted of lavender, stock, light pink spray roses, light pink sweet peas, ivory garden roses, light pink astilbe, light blue delphinium, and light blue hydrangea. They were so elegant and lovely!

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We had a string quartet playing songs by The Beatles for the ceremony. I walked down the aisle to “Here Comes the Sun,” which was perfect, as we could not have asked for a better day. Brad and the groomsmen came down the aisle to “With a Little Help from My Friends,” a song we thought was fitting for them. Walking back up the aisle, the string quartet played “All You Need is Love.”

Cheekwood Botanical Garden is very near our house, and we would often wind up there when Brad would come to visit our family in Nashville. Cheekwood has such beautiful gardens, and I really wanted a garden wedding and reception. We chose the Wills Perennial Garden (of course, since I was becoming a Wills!) and then tented the back of the mansion for the reception.

What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? That is such a hard question, as our day turned out practically perfect. But the food was especially unbelievable–Kristen Winston went above and beyond! We still hear about how good the food was at our wedding!

Our cake was a simple, textured buttercream cake, accented with lavender. One layer was chocolate chip cake with chocolate buttercream and ganache, one layer was European butter with vanilla buttercream, fresh strawberries, and lemon curd, and one layer of cinnamon red velvet with three layers of vanilla buttercream. AMAZING! The groom’s cake was made by a family friend, Chelle Baldwin of SweetAbility Bakery, who incorporated several of Brad’s hobbies and interests into an unbelievable cake!

Since Brad is from Georgia, he and his mom danced to “Georgia on My Mind.” My father and I danced to “Unforgettable.” The first dance was to an Ingrid Michaelson song, “The Way I Am.” The song is about how some of our flaws end up bringing us closer together!

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? The most memorable moment was when the band played “Home” as the last song. Brad and I stood at the front of the dance floor and basically sang the song to the crowd. Fortunately, they didn’t actually give us the mic! It felt like everyone there was on the dance floor, jumping up and down in unison, and having an amazing time. It was very surreal and symbolic, and we will never forget it.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Brad and I met very early in college, when we were in the same small group class. There was also a brief period when we were biology lab partners. We went through most of college seeing each other here and there, but did not really start talking again until senior year. At first I rejected Brad’s dates, but his persistence paid off, and here we are!
Tell us all about the proposal! Since we met at Sewanee, it was the perfect place to get engaged. We planned a weekend trip there to celebrate his birthday, including a hike out to KA Point, a beautiful overlook we’d been to many times before. When we arrived, he pulled roses and a book out from his backpack. He had asked several of our friends to write “proposals” to me and created a book of all of them. On the last page was a picture of Brad on one knee, and when I looked up, there he was on one knee in real life. Both sets of parents met us at the cabin afterwards for a celebratory lunch. The only thing he hadn’t planned for was the three inches of snow!
When did y’all get married? May 3, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 225
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? No first look for us! At the wedding, I would be coming down a flight of stone steps into the garden, and I think we all wanted that moment to be extra special.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? My Aunt Salley read Song of Solomon 2, which Brad picked out especially for us.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We met with our minister several times while planning the wedding to discuss our expectations of marriage and address potential problems. We found it extremely helpful and would encourage everyone to do it!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Try and stay calm and remember that the most important thing is that you are getting married to the person you love!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? After an amazing honeymoon in Switzerland, we moved to Birmingham, where we are doing a medical residency. I am a resident in internal medicine and Brad is in orthopedic surgery. We were in a long distance relationship prior to this residency, as we were at different medical schools, so we are most looking forward to living together and being able to see each other every day!

Photographer: Mary Rosenbaum / Videographer: Full Frame Digital Cinema / Planner: Sage Nines Event Productions / Venue: Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art / Florist: Enchanted Florist / Cake Baker: Dulce Desserts / Caterer: Kristen Winston Catering / Rentals: Liberty Party Rental and Music City Tents and Events / Lighting: Bright Event Productions / Band: The Downtown Band / Paper Products: Deirdre Zimon of Lennah Press / Bride’s Gown: “Candy” in Blush Tulle by Monique Lhuillier / Hair Stylist: Ashlea Mullins / Makeup Artist: Shannon Wright / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Donna Morgan / Menswear: “Classic Black Tuxedo” by Calvin Klein

lisa Written with love by Lisa
  1. avatar Dana reply

    her dress and flowers and stunning!!!

  2. avatar Occasions In Print reply

    Beautiful wedding! I love her dress!

  3. avatar Abbey Angelle reply

    What is the round gold monogrammed item in the first picture?

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Y’all already learned in a previous Southern Delicacy column that I am a big fan of the big hair bow, but did you know that growing up I did competitive gymnastics, too? We traveled a lot around the Southeast for meets, and my mom always tried to build in fun stops along the way. One of the stops we made when in Atlanta was a very famous landmark restaurant: The Varsity!

For those of you not familiar with The Varsity, its downtown location is the world’s largest drive-in (or World’s Largest Drive-In, I suppose, since it does hold the official title!). Opened in 1928, it sits on more than two acres and can accommodate 600 cars and over eight hundred people inside. On Georgia Tech football gamedays, up to 30,000 people visit The Varsity. Holy cow!!

My favorite part of visiting was the vintage decor and nostalgic “What’ll ya have” greeting from servers. A visit to The Varsity will definitely send you back in time!

Vue Photography

Ready for a few numbers? Every day, The Varsity goes through two miles of hot dogs, a ton of onions, 2500 pounds of potatoes, 5000 fried pies (peach and apple), and 300 gallons of made-from-scratch chili. The original owner, Frank Gordy, insisted on fresh ingredients, and three to six deliveries per day is still routine. According to The Varsity’s website, when asked what he did with leftovers, he responded: “We don’t have any.” Love that!

Something else fun involving numbers: The Varsity has always managed its extensive drive-in business by numbering cars and employing “car hops,” or “curb men.” These fellows sang and danced while reciting the menu (awesome!), and some even used their time at The Varsity to launch a career in Hollywood!

Finally, my favorite fact about The Varsity has to be that it has its own lingo. A few of my personal favorites: the Naked Dog (a plain hot dog in a bun), Walk a Dog (a hot dog to go) and the Mary Brown Steak (a plain hamburger without a bun). Take that, In-N-Out!

Tell me: Have you ever been to The Varsity? Ever considered serving their goodies at your wedding like our cute couple above? They do cater!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
  1. avatar Lauren Stone reply

    OMG! This is me and my now husband, Ryals. I would like to go on record and say that he was the one who initially suggested having a late night Varsity snack at our wedding and it was a huge hit! Check out Vue’s photo album on their website!

  2. avatar Emily reply

    Hi Lauren! That is SO awesome! Y’all looked fabulous at your wedding! :)

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As a Charlotte native, Izzy + Lane’s wedding is extra special to me. Their museum reception took place at one of the most notable landmarks in the city and although I may be biased, I think these images from The Schultzes accurately depict how the couple transformed the Mint Museum from a beautiful building into a space brimming with Southern hospitality and family heirlooms. After all, only the most thoughtful of hosts will provide nourishing donuts and milk to late-night partiers.

My three sisters, sister in law, mom and I all went to NY Bride in Groom in Charlotte to look for dresses. We each pulled a few dresses that we thought I should try. The dress my mom picked out was the first one I tried on. It was “Adela” by Pronovias. I went to a few other shops to try on more dresses but I couldn’t help thinking back on Adela. It was really special that I fell in love with the dress that my mom chose. It had cap sleeves and lots of lace. I couldn’t wait to wear it!

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We did! This was something we had experienced as guests at other weddings and we knew we wanted to do it so that we could get our photos taken before the ceremony. We are so happy we made this decision. The photos are some of our favorite from the entire day. It was such a special time for us to be only with each other and to exchange gifts. Even though he saw me before the ceremony, it was still great seeing him while I walked down the aisle too — so emotional!

Choosing the music was one of our favorite parts! For the processional, all 15 bridesmaids and 11 groomsmen walked down to “Cannot Hide my Love” by Enter the Worship Circle. At the climax of the song, the doors opened and I walked down, too. It was sung by some really special friends from college. The recessional was amazing. My twin sister and a gospel ensemble from University of South Carolina sang “Many the Miles” by Sara Bareilles as the entire bridal party exited. We stood in the back of the church dancing and singing until they were finished. It made everything feel so joyful.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We didn’t write our own vows, but our pastor was great about integrating our thoughts into the ceremony. We wanted her to make it clear to all of our guests that we are who we are because of them. Without us becoming who we are today, we would not have never fallen in love with each other and been able to start this journey in life together. We are so grateful for our family and friends.

I + L took a new spin on honoring their parents marriages. We are blown away by the display of their mothers’ wedding gown in their reception foyer. It was the newlyweds’ favorite detail and one that we’ll always remember, too.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? All of the food at the reception had a Southern flair. We had pimento cheese, BBQ sliders, shrimp and grits and a grilled cheese bar. When the bridal party entered the reception, we changed into cowboy boots so we could bust a move on the dance floor. We also gave out Krispy Kreme Donuts and cartons of milk as guests were leaving the reception.

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. Lane and I met at Furman University where we went to college in South Carolina. He was on my “brother hall” and I was one of his freshman advisors. We were friends for three years in college but it didn’t spark into a romance until my first year in graduate school. We spent the next three years driving hours to be together!
Describe the proposal. Lane had recently moved to Mississippi and came back to visit Charlotte, where I was living, for the weekend. We decided to go to his family’s lake house, which has been a really special place throughout our relationship. Sitting out on his back porch overlooking the lake, he got on one knee and popped the question! We then went to my family’s house in Charlotte to celebrate with our family and friends.
In what month did you get married? March
How many guests attended your wedding? 300
Describe your wedding flowers: I realize I’m biased, but Lynette from the Bloom Room went so above and beyond anything we could have ever imagined. My bouquet was filled with garden roses, hellebores, ranunculus, dusty miller and astibe. It completely matched the colors and feel we wanted for the wedding. The reception had several long tables and Lynette did a perfect job filling the tables with beautiful flowers including herbs and succulents. They were displayed in great pieces of pottery and glass. The flowers made the wedding.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert: Having worked at Edible Art of Charlotte during high school, we knew we were going to want a cake from them. We got almond and coconut flavors and the cake was rough iced with buttercream. Our florist added some fresh flowers to the outside. It was perfectly simple and delicious!
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? During the entire wedding planning process, Lane and I were living in Mississippi while my family was in Charlotte, where our wedding would be, busy working on the details. Without my twin sister as our wedding planner, we may not have had a wedding! It was definitely difficult not being there to help stuff envelopes, make runners, and meet with vendors, but we were constantly in communication. Thank goodness for picture messaging and unlimited minutes on the cell phone!
What range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What is the one thing you are most happy you splurged on? Having put so much time, money and energy into the wedding, we are so glad we splurged on our photographers and videographers. Both the Schultzes and Caravan did an amazing job capturing our day. The wedding only lasted a day but now we will have these memories forever!
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? The first look!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? Lane and I are currently living in Cleveland, Mississippi working in jobs that we love. We are looking forward to enjoying our first year of marriage with the newest member of our family, a rescue dog named Rye.

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
  1. avatar Lissa reply

    One of the most charming weddings we’ve seen in a while! And when we read the bride’s account of the music and saw the sweet and gorgeous florals, we were definitely in love!

  2. avatar Lisa reply

    LOVE the Schultz’s~!! They do a wonderful job at capturing the moments through out the wedding day! I can’t wait until our wedding!

  3. avatar Tara W reply

    Adore the idea of having their mothers wedding dresses in the foyer!!

  4. avatar AshleyHH reply

    Beautiful, beautiful wedding. That church is gorgeous! A question for the bride… who are your boots by?! I love them and I am definitely wearing boots as my wedding shoes so I am already on the look out for the perfect pair. =)

  5. avatar Katie O’Keefe reply

    I love their church – beautiful. And how unique that they displayed their moms’ wedding dresses. I love that!

  6. avatar Melissa Vause reply

    I also got my dress from NY Bride and Groom in Charlotte! (and momma picked out my dress too!) The ladies at NY bride and groom are so sweet and the store looks AMAZING!
    Beautiful wedding :-)

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Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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