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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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Upon first glance, Savannah and Zachary’s wedding is full of lovely details, pretty blooms, and an amazing lace gown from Watters. Now, while all those pieces make up one big, beautiful day, after reading through their interview, you’ll find that there is also so much more! Like we vow in our Sweet Tea Society manifesto, “we believe that planning for a wedding means planning for more than one day.” Savannah and Zachary truly brought that phrase to life with their gorgeous farm tables! Savannah’s stepfather built them especially for the wedding, and now, her mother has started a rental company to share them and other special pieces they collected with other brides. Isn’t that what the South is all about?

Big hugs to Natalie Watson Photography for sharing this wedding with us!

Like most girls, I have dreamed of my wedding dress since I was little. I knew that I wanted lace, and lots of it, and I knew that I did not want a ball gown. I found my dress while browsing the Watters website and immediately fell in love. I searched for the nearest place that carried the line in Tennessee and called to schedule a consultation. I specifically asked about the Kerry gown, and as it turns out, they had just received the dress the day before…in my size! I took all of my bridesmaids and my mom to the appointment. Although they picked out several other dresses for me to try on, I knew that I was set on the Kerry gown. I was just as happy with my choice on the day of my wedding and afterwards seeing it in the photos as I was the day that I chose it.

Describe your wedding flowers. Flowers were actually something that we struggled with for a bit. Originally, I wanted peonies, but they aren’t in season in August. Neither are tulips, which were my second choice. Thankfully, our florist was able to use her knowledge of flowers to suggest alternatives that achieved the overall look that I was hoping for. It was important for me that we had more of a wildflower look than perfectly symmetrical bouquets, and I wanted to play with different textures and incorporate thistle. Our florist was able to create a look that perfectly accented our Southern vintage theme and color palette.

We chose our venue because it was located in the quaint little town of Jonesborough, Tennessee, which happens to be the oldest town in the state. Our venue is actually a storytelling center used for festivals, but the gorgeous second floor wraparound porch had me smitten from the beginning. Luckily, they also rent the venue for weddings, so we were able to make it happen. We also liked that it allowed us to have both the ceremony and reception at one location.

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We decided not to do a first look. Even as a guest at a wedding, I always love watching the groom’s reaction to seeing the bride for the first time. Although I know first looks can be special in their own way, I wanted to keep things traditional and see Zach and his reaction to me as I walked down the aisle.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Our entire wedding day oozed Southern style. If I had to name one Southern thing in particular though, it would be our reception menu. We chose Southern comfort foods: fried green tomatoes, followed by fried chicken, mixed greens, sweet potato casserole, and macaroni and cheese. All of this was accompanied by butter and biscuits and followed up with individual mini pies.

Our favorite details were the gorgeous farm tables that my stepfather built especially for our wedding. It was definitely a labor of love that had us painting and staining up to the week of the wedding. My stepfather knew how much I wanted them, and lovingly, he made it happen. It actually worked out well, and now, my mother has started a rental company with the many things that we accumulated so that other East Tennessee brides have more options!

We ended up with SO many desserts at our wedding. Initially, we thought that we would skip a cake and just have individual cherry, apple, coconut, pecan, and chocolate pies. However, my mother thinks that it is a downright SIN to not have a wedding cake, so we ended up with one of those too (which I am so thankful for, since our cake was gorgeous!). Zach dislikes cake, so for his “groom’s cake,” he opted for his favorite sugar cookies from a local bakery instead.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Zachary and I met in high school. We sat right beside each other in French class, and even though we always had huge crushes on each other, it wasn’t until a few years after high school that our relationship grew into something more.
Tell us all about the proposal! Our proposal was an absolute dream! I have a small obsession with New York City, and Zachary had never been, so we planned a little weekend visit there the week before we relocated to Knoxville, Tennessee. I may have dropped a few hints that I would love to get engaged in New York, but I honestly had no idea that it would happen on that weekend trip. Zachary, knowing nothing about NYC, reached out to a high school friend of ours who was living there for help finding an unexpected proposal location. I had our weekend all planned out without a minute to spare, but on our second day there, Zach announced that we had plans for the evening and needed to return to the hotel by 4 to get ready. This announcement, coupled with his giddy and nervous demeanor, is when I started to suspect that something might happen. That evening, we got in a cab, and Zach rattled off an address. We were dropped off on the corner of a cobblestone street in the West Village, and Zach led me to an unmarked door. We stepped inside, and I recognized the restaurant–One if by Lane, Two if by Sea. As I freaked out because Ashley Tisdale was dining in the restaurant, Zach nervously waited to pop the question. One of the waiters took the ring from Zach when I was in the ladies’ room, and the owner of the restaurant brought it out on the stem of a rose, lying on a bed of rose petals on a silver platter as a “special dessert.” Zach nervously asked me to be his wife in a speech that neither of us really remembers, and I happily said yes! We spent the remainder of the weekend giddy and in love as we enjoyed my favorite city.
When did y’all get married? August 2, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 200
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We were a little too nervous to write our own vows, so we spent forever online searching for the perfect ones. We ended up piecing lines together from a few different sources.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? There was a moment right before we had our sparkler exit when Zachary and I finally had a second alone to take in the entire day. I remember standing at the top of the staircase, feeling so thankful to have married such a precious man, and so thankful for how perfect our day had played out.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Although it sounds cliché, take the time to breathe, step back, and enjoy the process. The year that we were engaged literally felt like a blink. I would also say to stick to your personal style, and don’t try to throw a wedding with a theme that is not representative of your personality. This can be difficult in a world where Pinterest and blogs constantly provide new ideas.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are looking forward to all of the little experiences and journeys that married life will take us on. I finished my Master’s degree prior to our wedding and started working full-time in September. Zach is currently interviewing for graduate school, where he will study to be a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner. He has applied to several places, many of which are not in Tennessee, so a move might be in our near future.

Photographer: Natalie Watson Photography / Venue: International Storytelling Center / Florist: Connie Timmons / Cake Baker: Misty Barber / Caterer: Main Street Cafe & Catering / Rentals: Southern Knot Wedding Rentals / China Rentals: China Dolls / DJ: Ogle Entertainment / Table Numbers and Chair Covers: BHLDN / Invitations: Teal Typewriter Studios / Programs, Seating Chart, and “I Spy” Games: How Lovely Paper / Bride’s Gown: “Kerry” by Watters / Bride’s Veil: Erica Koesler / Bride’s Earrings: Tajani / Makeup Artist: Faces by Ren / Bride’s Shoes: Kate Spade / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Various styles in Misty Rose Silk Chiffon by J. Crew / Menswear: JC Penney / Ties: The Tie Bar

marissa Written with love by Marissa
3 Comments
  1. avatar Rachel Akin reply

    I really enjoyed this post on Zachary and Savannah’s wedding. I saw many aspects in the photos that reminded me of my own “Dream Wedding” Pinterest board. I especially enjoyed the custom made farm tables. It’s nice to have certain aspects of your wedding that can’t be recreated. Congratulations to you both!

  2. avatar Erin | Elizabeth Anne Designs reply

    LOVE! There are too many pretty details to count! xo

  3. avatar Kirsti reply

    This darling wedding has so many of the details I have always dreamed of, put into action and they are just as beautiful as I imagined! My favorite part is the southern reception menu (one of my favorites-fried green tomatoes)!!

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