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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
4 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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When planning a wedding, there are a million things that can distract from what really matters, which is why I admire Wendy and Travis so much for the two things they committed to focusing on. Number one, they kept in mind that their wedding was first and foremost about them becoming husband and wife. Number two, they wanted to take the opportunity to celebrate the people who had helped shape them into who they are today. From the details inspired by Athens, Georgia, where their love story started, to the creative way Wendy saved money on her gown in order to put that budget toward caring for their guests, they did a beautiful job bringing both of their priorities to life, with the help of Candice Beaty at Chancey Charm Weddings!

Thank you so much to Lauren Carnes for sharing this sweet celebration with us!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t dreamed about finding THE dress in a bridal store, but when it came down to our budget, buying a designer dress wasn’t very high on my list of priorities. Instead, I looked into alternative wedding dress sites that would help keep costs down (OnceWed, Preowned Wedding Dresses, etc.), and ultimately decided on a dress that I found on Etsy. I ordered it in plenty of time to buy a gown from a traditional retailer if it didn’t work out, but I’m happy to report that it fit perfectly! My dress was delivered about a month after I ordered it, and although I made some minor alterations, I was very happy with it. For the ceremony and portraits, I added a Watters lace overlay that I bought on Tradesy. As someone who is not the slightest bit creative, I can confidently say that, with a little bit of work, it is possible to have your dream dress and not break the bank!

We decided to do a first look, and I would totally recommend it to any other couples who are even considering it. Our first look was a time for us to steal away for just a few moments. We exchanged letters we had written to one another and just took everything in. Seeing Travis prior to the ceremony helped settle my nerves so much, too! Our first look was probably my favorite moment of the day. Aside from that, it was important to both of us that our wedding party was able to enjoy the reception (and join up with their significant others) as soon after the ceremony as possible. Since we chose to do a first look, we were able to take group photos before the ceremony, which helped streamline the group photo process so much.

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. “In Christ Alone” was played during the seating of the mothers and grandparents, and I walked myself down the aisle to “How Deep The Father’s Love For Us.” My dad passed away three years ago, so not only was this song special because of its message, but it was also a way to remember him while I walked down the aisle. Travis and I walked out to “Something Beautiful” by Needtobreathe, a song and band that we both love.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Aside from the hummingbird cakes, we incorporated some Athens and Georgia-inspired touches into our reception. We served Terrapin beer, a beer brewed right in Athens, along with artwork by our dear friend and Atlanta artist, Britt Bass Turner, on the cookies. My sorority sisters sang our traditional wedding song to Travis and I, while his fraternity brothers performed what can affectionately be called their “fraternity chant.” Finally, the setting alone was very Southern! The magnolia trees, the blooming hydrangeas, and the rustic scenery all contributed to the Southern vibe of our wedding.

I asked Mary, my florist, to do something soft and feminine with an organic look, and she totally delivered! I know very little about floral design, so I showed Mary some bouquets that I liked and let her run with it. She knew exactly what I was looking for, from the ribbons on the bridesmaid bouquets to the greenery on the farm tables!

Instead of one large wedding cake, we chose to do a bunch of smaller ones that would allow people to taste a little bit of each flavor. We had traditional vanilla and chocolate cakes, as well as two hummingbird cakes. My grandmother always made each grandchild a hummingbird cake for our birthdays when we were younger, and she would decorate them with little animal figurines that made them feel so magical. The hummingbird cakes were a little way to remember her, since she was such an important part of our family. We also had cookies from Kellie’s Baking Co., complete with our friend Britt Bass Turner’s designs on them. The cookies were almost too cute to eat!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Travis and I were introduced by a mutual friend at Travis’ fraternity house during our freshman year at the University of Georgia. We didn’t talk long since Travis was tending to a dizzy-bat-gone-wrong scenario at the house. I walked away thinking, “Hm, he was cute.” We stayed in touch throughout freshman and sophomore years, mostly because our friend groups overlapped. Travis was busy cultivating a budding social life and staying involved in the fraternity, and I was busy spending countless hours tied to my chemistry notes. Needless to say, we weren’t seeing too much of one another. Fast forward to our junior year when Travis asked me on his fraternity formal in Nashville. He was the fraternity president at the time, so I obviously had to say yes. I am so glad I did! We had a great time in Nashville, and shortly after we got back, Travis manned up and asked me on a real date. The rest, as they say, is history!
Tell us all about the proposal! This past fall, my birthday fell on a big football weekend (UGA v. Clemson), which was wonderful, because all of our friends were in town and it felt like a big party! Travis had slyly asked me earlier if I would rather celebrate my birthday with all of our friends in Athens, or have a date, just the two of us, the following week. Not one to deny the chance to stretch out a birthday celebration, I asked if we could go to dinner the week after somewhere in Atlanta. Travis and I made our way to downtown Atlanta for dinner that Friday evening, and–miracle of all miracles–didn’t hit any traffic at all on the I-75/85 connector. If you live in Atlanta, you understand how rare and precious this is! Travis told me we were a bit too early for our dinner reservation, so we decided to grab a drink to buy some time. Afterwards, while we were walking to dinner, we passed a park that had lights glowing at the top of a hill. I was curious, so I told him I was going to quickly go see what was going on. When we got closer, I could see that the lights were actually lit candles surrounding a blanket and a bottle of champagne. It wasn’t until Travis was on one knee that I knew it was real. We were engaged!! We got to celebrate with our families at breakfast the next morning and started the planning right away. It was the perfect amount of time alone and celebrating with friends and family. I wish I could relive that night over and over!
When did y’all get married? May 9, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 250
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Travis and I were part of a premarital counseling program through our church. They paired us with a mentor couple who walked beside us over several months as we prepared for marriage. We met regularly with this couple and discussed everything from finances to expectations within the home to perceptions of marriage. In addition, we met with our officiant (who also happens to be our couples’ small group leader) and his wife a few times. We dove into “The Five Love Languages” and “Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts” with them. All of these efforts have been so valuable, and we’re already incorporating the things we took away from these sessions into our marriage.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? More than anything, we wanted our wedding to be a time to celebrate all the people who had helped shape us, both together and individually. When considering where we were going to save money, we chose to cut corners in places that we felt wouldn’t affect our guests: my dress and his tux, the save the dates and invitations, and supplying our own alcohol were probably the biggest places we saved. We also scaled back on any upgrades to chairs for wedding seating, chose to do a buffet-style dinner, and used a DJ rather than a band for the reception. All of these things helped save so much money and didn’t detract from the day in the slightest bit!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? When we first got engaged, my sister told me “everyone will have an opinion.” And it’s so true! As someone who’s really sensitive to this sort of input, I sometimes had to step back and realize that I wasn’t going to make everyone happy, but that’s not what the day was about! I guess my advice would be this: everyone will have an opinion, but it’s so important to do whatever suits you and your future husband best. I tried to include Travis in any decision that I was making. It made our wedding day so fun knowing that we had created this thing from the ground up, and it was a small taste of what it would be like to make joint decisions as husband and wife.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Now that we’ve both finished grad school (one week before our wedding, no less), we’re so excited to enjoy our time together in the same city! We hope to explore more neighborhoods in Atlanta, find little spots that we can call our own, and grow some roots in our community. We also hope to travel a good bit in the next couple of years!

Photographer: Lauren Carnes Photography / Planner: Candice Beaty of Chancey Charm Weddings / Venue: The Hill at Epting Events / Florist: Mary Eddy at Vine and Branch Floral / Cake Baker: Cakes by Anna Johnson / Cookie Baker: Kellie’s Baking Co. and Britt Bass Turner / Caterer: Epting Events / Cocktail Hour Music: Clayton Lee / DJ: Hollon Yarborough at Amp’d Entertainment / Calligraphy: Betsy Paolella / Bride’s Gown: MisDress / Bride’s Lace Overlay: Wtoo / Hair and Makeup: Jen Lewis at Pastel Makeup and Hair / Bride’s Shoes: “Glittering Gold Heels” by Seychelles / Groom’s Jacket: Jos. A. Bank

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

    I love their engagement story! Birthday week and a proposal!

  2. avatar Lindy reply

    LOVE this wedding! So gorgeous!! And those cookies… I’ve loved Britt Bass Turner’s artwork since I stumbled upon it about a year ago… and seeing her work on cookies is just amazing! What a creative way to add a bit of whimsy to your wedding (and so sweet since she’s a personal friend… love little details like that!)

  3. avatar Lauren Carnes reply

    Thank you so much for sharing this gorgeous and heartfelt wedding and story! Wendy & Travis are such wonderful people and it was an honor to capture their day!

  4. avatar Alexandra reply

    What a wonderful wedding full of the stuff that really matters. I love how they prepared for marriage so thoroughly!

  5. avatar Candice Beaty reply

    Ladies! I am so honored! Seriously so squealing and squeaking honored to be featured! Wendy is such an incredible girl and friend and her wedding exploded with her joyful and amazing heart! Thank you for loving it as much as we do!

  6. avatar Naomi Jane reply

    Thanks for sharing this heart touching love story. It reminded me of my wedding story. Everything from proposal to wedding looks a fairytale. Congrats Wendy and Travis. May you have love and happiness around forever.

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