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I’d list all the things I like about this wedding from Ali Harper Photography, but you can just take a look at the photos and see! From the red and blue handkerchief to the groom’s monogrammed cuffs, the details are sweet, sometimes subtle, and perfectly orchestrated. Mary + Austin’s festive invitation suite will catch your eye for a few minutes — the bride designed them herself and letterpressed them with her mom and sister! The blind impression of their horseshoe-shaped initials and the twine are a terrific finishing touch and theme that is carefully carried through the wedding.

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. The short answer is we met in the sandbox. We grew up 1.5 miles from each other and went to every school preschool through college together. Over the years, we would often say with some pride that the only people who we’d known longer than each other were our parents. Still we were just friends. But by our senior year in college, Austin had decided this needed to change! He told me that he had feelings for me, and a few weeks later, we began our romantic relationship. It was like coming over the top of a hill on a rollercoaster, there was no going back! With a lifetime of friendship under our belts, we were instantly committed.
Describe the proposal. In June of 2010, Austin’s cousin got married in Austria and we were thrilled to attend. Little did I know, but Austin had even bigger plans for the trip! One afternoon we hiked up Trisselwand in Bad Aussee. After 3 hours, we finally reached the summit. Then came a very quick picnic lunch, after which Austin put the final step of his plan into motion. He set up our Flip camera and positioned me in the frame. Faster than you can say “Wait! I look like a hobo in this hiking-pant-hoodie ensemble!” he had reached into his pack, pulled out a small blue box, and was down on one knee. He asked me to be his wife, and as I tearfully accepted, a group of fellow hikers erupted into applause and congratulations.
Three adjectives that describe the day are: Colorful, musical, and a group effort!
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The un-cookie-cutter bridal party. The effect was eclectic and cheerful, just like the wedding.
Tell us about finding your wedding dress: I tried on dress after dress, but no spark. Then one day I went to Village Bridals, discouraged but armed with an inspiration collage and three generations of family! When I put on “the one” and stepped in front of the mirror, tears filled my eyes! The troops teared up with me, and we all knew it was perfect. I placed my order and stood there deliriously happy as the manager took my measurements. Right as we were leaving I discovered that the dress had pockets and almost fainted with joy!
Describe your wedding flowers: I wanted the flowers to be cheerful, un-fussy, and fluffy! So we ordered lots of white hydrangea & ranunculus, and then craspedia & hypericum berries for pop. Boxwood from a friend’s yard provided the finishing touch. My family made the arrangements and they were perfect! The bridesmaids made their own bouquets: a simple pairing of white hydrangea and craspedia. My bouquet from Flowercraft was a beautiful puff of white peonies surrounded by green viburnum, and dotted with yellow craspedia, yellow freesia and red hypericum berries. The lucky horseshoe brooch was a last minute, very touching gift from a dear family friend.
Describe your wedding invitations: I designed them and they were a labor of love and late nights at the office! My mom, my sister and I hand-letterpressed them at Praxium Press. Praxium is a top-notch, family-run printer, and their expertise & patience is what made it all come together!

Photographer: Ali Harper Photography // Catering & Cake: Annette Marcus // Flowers: Flowercraft and Fuji Floral Design // Paper products: Bride // Hair & Makeup: Louie Lieberman // Reception: private residence // Cake topper: Alexandra Fenzl // Bride’s dress: Lazaro // Veil: Village Bridal & Boutique // Shoes: Michael Shannon // Necklace: Groom’s family heirloom // Groom’s attire: suit by Isaia, shirt and cuff embroidery by Holland & Sherry, cufflinks by Gogo, shoes by To Boot New York // Bridesmaids’ horseshoe necklaces: Beau & Stella // Groomsmen’s ties: Supperclub // Groomsmens’ pocket squares: Jack Spade

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
  1. avatar rebekah reply

    i am totally adoring the custom cuff embroidery on the grooms shirt, and the gorgeous way the fabric wraps around on all the girls dresses. in a word, this wedding is so smooth!

    • avatar Emily reply

      Rebekah: I KNOW! I am a little bit obsessed with the cuff embroidery :)

  2. avatar Sarah Dutton reply

    I love the girls dresses… I want to let me girls pick out whatever they want but I’m worried about how it will look with only 3 girls….
    I want to custom embroidery as a suprise.

  3. avatar Thursday Love List | Something Pretty reply

    […] {These bridesmaids are so perfectly mismatched. They all look different and unique, but the look is completely cohesive. Beautiful! From Southern Weddings} […]

  4. avatar Charlotte O’Keefe, Mary’s mom reply

    Thank you for your lovely article! You (and of course Ali’s wonderful photography) captured Mary and Austin’s wedding perfectly. I’d like to add that we had the wedding at the church where Mary was baptized and grew up, and it just happens to be the location of the preschool where she and Austin met at age 4. The reception was held at the home of family friends, who just blew us away with their graciousness. Again, thanks for showing our family event so beautifully.

    • avatar Nicole reply

      I LOVE that Mary and Austin were married in the same church where they met! It was a beautiful wedding!

  5. avatar Ashley reply

    What a gorgeous wedding! There’s so much that I love about it! Any idea where they purchased the flower brooch heart? Or did they make it? Any info on that special detail would be fabulous — I have some family brooches I would love to incorporate into something like that! THANK YOU!

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As much as I adore a traditional white gown, I absolutely love when brides go their own route. Claire knew she wanted something nontraditional, and worked with the ladies at White Orchid Bridal to create a custom gown. The result was a silvery dress with the most beautiful lacy detailing at the bottom. I’m impressed with Claire, who trusted each of her vendors and left them to work their creative magic. It shows, especially in these photos from Julie Roberts. She was spot-on in capturing the sweet and personal ceremony, where friends encircled the couple as they exchanged vows under an oak tree bearing their initials in moss (could the Knoxville Botanical Garden have provided a more perfect setting?!). I’m still in love with the photo of Claire + Brian right after the first look, it’s just so sweet. Come back for part II; this intimate garden wedding will not disappoint you.

Three adjectives that describe the day are: Magical, rustic, comfortable
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: We’re definitely in love with food and wine, so those played a huge part in the wedding. We chose to do a really beautiful table of cheeses and charcuterie for appetizers during the cocktail hour following the ceremony. There were two tables filled with an assortment of wines that flowed all night. We didn’t pick just one or two bottles because we wanted it to feel like a dinner party at our home, so there were many different bottles open at any given moment at the wedding. The dinner was really beautiful, but I loved the cocktail hour where everyone was drinking wine and enjoying all these amazing cheeses. It was just so perfect.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? The ceremony was under a big oak tree in the garden surrounded by beautiful stone walls. I love that all of our guests stood gathered around us, sipping on sparkling rose, while we said our vows. It felt less formal, and more like every guest there was really a part of our ceremony, which they were.
Tell us about finding your wedding dress: I wanted the dress to be special, but not necessarily traditionally bridal. Colleen from White Orchid Bridal completely understood my concept for the wedding and created this amazingly detailed dress that was a soft silvery grey color, layering multiple fabrics together to create something unique and vintage looking.
Describe your wedding flowers: I gave Brian at Cachepot free reign to create whatever he felt would be perfect for that day. He did an amazing job! It was really important for me to find people whose work I love and who I really trusted, and allow them to do their jobs. That was what allowed for so much of the uniqueness. I gave them my vision for the feel of the wedding, and basically allowed them to create from there.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? The ceremony. I walked down the aisle, which was just the center of the garden, to the most beautiful strings playing “Falling Slowly.” We stood under a huge old oak tree that Brian, the florist had mounted our initials on in moss. It looked like it was just growing on the tree. The ceremony was so personal, and there was so much laughter throughout. We had both gone through so much to get to that point in our lives, and the ceremony truly reflected that and celebrated it. Everyone had told me the ceremony would be a big blur, and would be over before I knew it, so I was determined to be very present and remember it all, and I truly was. It remains my favorite memory of the wedding.

Photographer: Julie Roberts // Coordinator: Lisa Krajewski // Ceremony venue: Martha Ashe Garden at the Knoxville Botanical Garden // Reception venue: The Stone Greenhouse at the Knoxville Botanical Garden // Florist: Cachepot // Wedding Cake Baker: Magpies // Caterer: Northshore Brasserie // Bride’s Dress: White Orchid Bridal // Strings: The Lake Terrace Trio // Calligraphy: Alice Sword

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
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