When I hear the word “heirloom,” it’s hard not to imagine a very classic and traditional aesthetic. However, Dacie and Dennis’ bright and citrus-inspired wedding is anything but! It’s fun and youthful, but it’s also filled with family heirlooms and community treasures. Getting married in her parents’ backyard meant Dacie and Dennis got to tap into one of the best parts of the South: community. When her parents’ vines hadn’t quite grown enough to cover their ceremony arch, Dacie’s mom’s friends stepped in to supplement the vines with all sorts of greenery and flowers. Even her grandmother brought cosmos from her own garden! My favorite part of the decor, though? Dacie and Dennis’ table was layered with planks of wood from when her parent’ home was built, table runners sewn by her paternal grandmother, and topped with vases and candlesticks from her family’s collection. I can’t help but mention how fitting it is that Dacie found her beautiful dress at The Sentimentalist!
Thanks for sharing, Sarah & Ben!
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. The dress was perfect! My sister has worked at wedding dress salons, so she is the family expert. She planned a weekend full of dress hunting in Atlanta–we had 5+ appointments scheduled. But, of course, I fell in love with the first store we went to (The Sentimentalist) and the first dress I tried on. I tried on a few more, but we all knew that the first one was exactly what I was looking for. Gabi at The Sentimentalist perfectly understood what I was looking for, and delivered just that! I had been afraid that dress shopping would be a stressful or uncomfortable experience, but instead, it was absolutely wonderful! I left feeling beautiful and even more excited to get married!
We got married in the backyard of my parents’ house. I grew up there and had dreamed of getting married on the river, where I had spent countless days kayaking and exploring. Dennis has also fallen in love with Palmetto and my parents’ house over many trips to Florida.
We were married under an arch that was full of the most beautiful flowers. My parents had planted some jasmine, bougainvillea, honeysuckle, and Florida vines to cover the arch for the wedding, but it had not filled in all the way, so my mom called on her friends to supplement the vines with all sorts of greenery and flowers. My grandmother brought cosmos from her garden, and someone clipped ground lilies from my neighbor’s yard. It was a community effort that resulted in the most amazing backdrop for the most perfect ceremony! I was thrilled when I walked out and saw the arch!!
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Our recession after the ceremony was an unexpectedly perfect moment. The ceremony had been perfect–emotional, happy, romantic, everything. As we walked back down the aisle after the ceremony, we were elated. Before we could turn the corner and get out of sight, we had to embrace and celebrate. I had mostly held it together during the wedding, so I burst into tears at that point, beyond overjoyed to be married to Dennis. We were quickly surrounded by our families and bridal party as it sunk in that we were finally married!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? We tried to focus on things that would make us happier on the wedding day. If it wasn’t going to affect how we felt on the day of the wedding, we tried not to worry about it (for example, we realized we wouldn’t care, or even notice, what the napkins looked like, so we just popped over to Party City a few days before the wedding and picked up some yellow paper napkins). That kept us from wasting time and stressing ourselves out unnecessarily.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We purchased all of the vases, glasses, and plates for the wedding. We were excited to have an eclectic collection of vintage plates with all sorts of designs, wine glasses for people to drink citrus water, wine, cocktails, etc. out of, and candlesticks and vases to make the table arrangements interesting and unique. In addition to the fun look of it all, each item was less expensive than if we had rented it. My mom set a strict budget for each plate/ glass/etc. so we wouldn’t spend more than it would have cost to rent. The effect was great, cost-effective, and it gave us dishes to hold on to as a fond memory!
The flowers were happy and colorful, just as we had dreamed of. We wanted bright flowers, citrus, and lots of greenery. We cut the ferns from my parents’ yard for the florist to incorporate into the bouquets and arrangements, which turned out beautifully! The table arrangements had several layers. There were table runners that my paternal grandmother had generously sewed for us. On top of those were planks of wood from when my parents’ house was built in 1948. On top of the planks were hundreds of crystal vases and candlesticks–some were family heirlooms, while others my mom and maternal grandmother collected from thrift stores for the wedding. Each vase had beautiful flowers from the florist and from the cutting garden that my mom had grown with some of my favorite flowers for the wedding, including gerbera daisies, zinnias, cosmos, glads, snapdragons, nasturtiums, and more.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? The most Southern element of our wedding was the food. The food was primarily prepared by friends and family, and it was a major highlight of the wedding. My parents host a 4th of July party each year, and some of my dad’s friends always bring a fryer to make fried fish and hush puppies. They were generous enough to agree to fry fish, shrimp, and hush puppies for the wedding. The fish and shrimp came from a local fish market that I have always loved eating at. We also offered cheese grits that my mom’s friend cooked. Her secret recipe is unbelievable, and she created the best cheese grits that anyone had ever tasted! We also had a corn on the cob bar. We had grilled corn with a ton of toppings (like cheese, butter, spices, and sriracha) that people could add to their corn as they desired. It was a total hit!
How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. It was the first week of college, and there were so many new names and faces, I accidentally stopped listening when people would tell me their names. Then “get to know your neighbor” turned into “introduce your neighbor to the entire group” without warning. Of course, I had forgotten (or never listened to) my neighbor (Dennis)’s name, so I found myself introducing my “new friend from Delaware who has a brother who went to Yale” to the group. I felt so absolutely horrible, so I tried to become Dennis’ friend, always saying hello and remembering his name. As it turned out, we got along pretty well, so we quickly became the best of friends! We spent late evenings chatting in my dorm room, and we shared many many meals in the Davenport dining hall. Over the next four years, our friendship blossomed and became all the more important to each of us. He met my family and even came to Palmetto for spring break a couple of times. (He might have fallen in love with Palmetto before he fell in love with me. Let’s be honest, who doesn’t find love at first sight with Palmetto?) By the time senior year rolled around, Dennis and I both began realizing that we really didn’t want to be without one another (at least in spirit, since we were already committed to be in different states). After long talks and Dennis’ realization that “we’re probably going to get married,” we decided to give it a go. Before we knew it, we graduated and spent the summer traveling before we landed in Durham and Boston.
Tell us all about the proposal! From Dennis: After asking for Dacie’s parents’ blessing, I found a beautiful spot at the National Arboretum (just outside of DC) where I wanted to propose. I developed a plan with one of Dacie’s best friends, Chelsea, for her to casually suggest it as a fun weekend activity when all three of us were out at dinner together. I would find a last-minute excuse to bail, and then I would surprise them at the arboretum. But when Chelsea brought it up, I apparently agreed “too enthusiastically” because the next morning, Dacie woke up in tears saying “I didn’t want to, but I think I accidentally figured out when you’re going to propose!” To throw her off, I came up with an excuse that would put me out of town on the day that I was “supposed to” propose. I even created a fake email address posing as one of my company’s investors and sent myself an email insisting that I come to New York that weekend. I had a fake email conversation with myself and everything…I showed these email to Dacie, and she totally bought it. This time. the conversation was, “You’re really not proposing this weekend? This was the only possible weekend before August! I have to wait at least another five weeks?” So here I am, the night before I’m about to propose, denying that I’m proposing tomorrow, while simultaneously telling her that we’ll be engaged before she knows it. I’m glad I never have to try pulling that off again. At 6 A.M. the next morning, I left the apartment to catch my fake train to NYC for my fake meeting. I sat at a coffee shop for five hours before heading to the National Arboretum, accompanied by my friends, who had agreed to take photos of the occasion. We found our spot and just waited for Dacie and Chelsea to get there. The entire time, I was getting texts from Dacie, asking how my meeting went. When Dacie turned a corner and saw me in front of her, she was totally speechless. (Crushed it!) I immediately forgot everything that I had planned to say, and just babbled for a bit before getting down on one knee and asking her to marry me. She was so emotional and so happy–it was the best moment of my life. We then explored the Arboretum for a couple hours and drove back into the city for dinner at a restaurant called Marcel’s. At the end of the night, I had one final surprise: both of our families and a few close friends waiting at our apartment to celebrate the occasion with us. The day couldn’t have gone any better.
When did y’all get married? May 7, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 220
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. I walked down the aisle to Canon in D. Early on in our engagement, Dennis and I were walking through the Duke Gardens with a wedding going on nearby, and this song began to play. I totally lost it and began sobbing, overwhelmed by joy and excitement that we would be married soon. From that point on, every time I heard that song, I was overcome with happy tears, so Dennis was excited to see me walk down the aisle to it. When he was younger, Dennis was hired to play the violin at weddings pretty often, so he had some favorite songs that he wanted the string quartet to play during the other parts of the wedding. Our first dance song was to “Lucky” by Jason Mraz and Colbie Caillat. When we were freshmen in college, Dennis and I went to a Jason Mraz concert with two of our friends, so we have always enjoyed listening to him together. When we started dating after three and a half years of being best friends, this song feels like the anthem of our relationship.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! For my something old, my mom had some old jewelry melted down and turned into bangles for my sister, herself, and me. One piece of jewelry was a ring that my dad got her for Mother’s Day when she was pregnant with me. My mom surprised me with the bangles as I was getting dressed for the wedding! For something new, we wrapped the scraps from my new wedding dress around my bouquet. I had not really thought through something blue, but my bridesmaids had my back. When they realized I did not have anything blue, they gave me several options. I opted for the understated blue bobby pin that I wore in my hair. A friend of mine who was recently married had purchased an extra garter set, so I borrowed that from her. I actually forgot to wear it on the day of the wedding, but I think it still counts!
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are so happy to be married. The week after the wedding, I graduated from law school and we moved to a new city. We are just excited to settle into our new lives and apartment together! Many adventures await!
Photographer: Sarah & Ben | Planner: Jennifer Sayko | Venue: Private residence | Florist: Kings Wholesale Florist | Cake Baker: Matt & Dom’s | Rentals: All Event Rentals | Band: Strings Attached | DJ: Luke Stultz | Bride’s Gown: “Mademoiselle” by Sarah Seven | Bridal Salon: The Sentimentalist | Hair and Makeup: Salon Linnea | Bride’s Shoes: Jack Rogers | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Ann Taylor Loft | Groom’s Attire: Blank Label and Gap | Groomsmen Attire: Gap
“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.