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Something we hear frequently from brides is how overwhelming the many sources of wedding inspiration can be. As wonderful as wedding blogs (yes, even this one) and Pinterest are, it can be far too easy to lose sight of what’s important after you’ve been scrolling through ideas for what seems like hours. That’s one of the many reasons we created the Sweet Tea Society: to remind us–and you!–what really matters when planning your big day. One of my favorite lines is “We believe in history and heritage, and honoring both to create a deeply meaningful beginning to married life.” Farris and Taylor did this in spades. From the big things like the chapel where they were married (Farris was the third generation in her family to say “I do” there!) to the little details, like the s’mores bar lovingly crafted by Taylor’s mama, everything about their Nashville wedding was personal and sentimental.

Hugs to Kristyn Hogan for sharing Farris and Taylor’s wedding with us!

We met through mutual friends during our sophomore year at the University of Tennessee. The attraction was definitely always there and it was obvious to the many friends that kept encouraging us to date. One night, we were watching a movie with a bunch of friends, and before we knew it, all of them had left and lit a ton of candles on their way out. We looked at each other and just laughed because I don’t think either one of us was ready for a relationship at that point. Fast forward a couple years, there was a girl who liked Taylor and would not leave him alone. She decided to come to town to visit him and he did what any man would do–asked me to be his fake girlfriend. Of course, I agreed, and our friends decided we should hold hands to “make it look official.” Believe it or not, that was one powerful hand hold…the rest was history. Funny fact: the girl did not even show up. ;)

Tell us all about the proposal! My family has a cottage in Monteagle that is very special to our family. Taylor and I were spending Thanksgiving apart, but we decided that he would meet me the day after Thanksgiving in Monteagle. When he arrived, he asked to take a walk to “The Point” (our favorite cliff top view). He laid out a blanket on the cliff and we were enjoying the views when he pulled out a book. He had written an entire book on our story! He read the entire story to me, and at the end, he read, “On November 23rd, Taylor proposed to Farris.” I remember thinking, “When is November 23rd??” but before I could finish my thought, he pulled me on my feet, got on one knee, and asked me to be his wife! Of course, I said yes, and after much rejoicing, he pointed out his brother hiding in the woods with a camera. We walked down the path to an opening where both of our families were there to congratulate us. It was absolutely perfect.

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? Yes, we did! I get nervous easily and Taylor can always calm my nerves, so we decided to see each other and pray together alone before the ceremony. Best decision I’ve ever made.

My great grandmother and my grandmother were both married in the same chapel as I was. There is something magical about memories that happen in the same place over a period of time.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We started writing our vows when we happened to come across my parents’ vows and realized that they promised everything we wanted to promise to each other. We changed some wording in their vows and made it our own. My two favorite lines were “By God’s grace, I will affirm and challenge you in becoming all that God has purposed you to be to the church and the world, and will serve Him together with you as one, giving Him the glory and honor” and “I will support you in the pursuit of your dreams and cherish you above all the possessions and honors of this life.”
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? 1 Corinthians 13: 1-8. The typical wedding scripture is usually verses 4-8 but I actually love verses 1-3 the most: “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.”

I knew I wanted Kristyn Hogan as our photographer and wouldn’t budge on that and I am SO happy I didn’t…I mean, just look at these pictures! The pictures are the one thing you will keep from your wedding for the rest of your lives to help you remember what a blessed day it was!

Describe your wedding flowers. Amazing. My mom works at Village of Flowers and they are loads of fun! Everyone at Village of Flowers chipped in and made it all possible. I could not have been more happy with how beautiful the flowers made both venues look!

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The s’mores bar and fire pit at our reception. My mother-in-law worked on every little detail from the s’mores bar inspiration I had collected on Pinterest and my dreams came true when I saw the final product! My parents brought in the fire pit to roast the marshmallows. It was a hit at the reception!

When did y’all get married? October 12, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 250
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Walking down the aisle, we had Matt Wertz singing “I Will Not Take My Love Away.” It is such a beautiful song about unconditional love, and it reminds me of the love of Christ that made our relationship possible. Walking back up the aisle, Sam Levine played “Viva La Vida” by Coldplay, just because we love it and it sounds awesome with a band.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Our venue was also quite Southern, as it was a gorgeous barn on a local Nashville farm.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Learning that nothing will be perfect. God had to teach me that the wedding was not the part we needed to be most prepared for…it was the marriage. I was so caught up in every little detail that I sometimes forgot that the whole reason for the celebration was my marriage to Taylor. I am a perfectionist, so it was hard to let go of the small stuff and begin spending time on the relationship stuff–the stuff that really matters AFTER the wedding!
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? It was very special to have one of our favorite artists, Matt Wertz, and my cousin, Joelle May, sing at our ceremony. It was breathtaking, I don’t think there was a dry eye in the chapel.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? I knew there was something special about our first kiss after we became husband and wife, but later, we heard why from our parents. They told us that as soon as we kissed, the sun shown so brightly through the windows, straight on the two of us like a spotlight. I also loved walking down the aisle and seeing all the amazing people who have supported and loved us, and then looking up to see my amazing husband crying. I don’t think I have ever felt so much love!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? During the planning process, keep your sole focus on your relationship with your fiancé. We both got so much out of pre-marital counseling. Marriage brings about a lot of changes that you never had to deal with as a dating couple. No one can ever be fully prepared for marriage, but preparing yourself enough to get through it together is worth it.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We bought a sweet little house and have been decorating it together and making it our own. We love to travel and hope to travel around the world within the next couple of years. We looked forward to living together and boy, is it fun! It’s just like living with your best friend who you also happen to be in love with. It is amazing how much you learn about a person just by living with them. We have been surprised by how much we work as a team when cooking and doing dishes together. I love that no one has to hold the weight of any one thing–we have an equal-responsibility household. We love to go on walks together and have recently got into “juicing.” Our honeymoon in St. Lucia was absolutely amazing, and my favorite part about getting back to real life was returning to our new home together and being able to make dinner, eat by candlelight, and talk about all the amazing memories we had made over the past week.

Photographer: Kristyn Hogan / Videographer: Kip Kubin / Planner: Danielle Loeffler from Catalyst Weddings and Events / Ceremony Venue: Scarritt Bennett / Reception Venue: The Grange at Green Door Gourmet / Florist: A Village of Flowers / Cake Baker: B. Jacksons Bakery / Caterer: Sargents Catering / Rentals: Music City Tents and Events / Lighting: Bright Event Productions / Ceremony Musician: Sam Levine / Reception Band: AVENUE 615, David Deloach / Bride’s Gown: “Ebie” by Olia Zavozina / Programs: Darby Cards / Invitations: Emily O. Holmes / Calligraphy: Calligraphy by Barbara / Bride’s Accessories: Olia Zavozina / Hair Stylist: Leslie at Katie Russo Beauty / Makeup Artist: Katie Russo at Katie Russo Beauty / Bride’s Shoes: Gianni Bini from Dillards / Bridesmaid Dresses: Coren Moore in Blush and Joanna August in “All Tomorrows Parties” / Bridesmaid Dress Salon: Bella Bridesmaid / Men’s Attire: “Egara” suit from Men’s Wearhouse / Ties: Otis James / Rolls Royce Rental: Grand Avenue Worldwide / Trolly: FADDS Party Bus / Photo Booth: Shutterbooth

lisa Written with love by Lisa
  1. avatar Nicole reply

    That photo of the little boy taking the newlyweds’ picture is ADORABLE.

  2. avatar Kristyn Hogan reply

    Thanks so much for sharing this lovely wedding! Farris & Taylor are such a joy and their wedding day reflected every bit of that!

  3. avatar Amanda {Planning It All} reply

    I love the s’mores bar!

  4. avatar Plum Pretty Sugar reply

    A sweet beautiful wedding. We love these pretty details and the florals are to adore!


  5. avatar Lindsay {Everistta} reply

    So stunning! Love the monogram clutches.

  6. avatar Dana reply

    so many things to love in this wedding!

  7. avatar Rachel reply

    I’m currently planning a wedding, and I would LOVE to know where you purchased the flower girl dresses.

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BDK and I always say we’d love to live in Nashville someday. There’s just some kind of fun magic in that town! And I’ve got to say that same magic made it’s way to Olivia + Robert’s wedding day! While I’ll always be a classic ballroom reception fan, I can’t help but love this take on the brunch reception. Come one, how cute is the cereal station?! Not only did they have that one adorable stop, they also included a biscuit bar (an SW fave!), Café Du Monde-style beignets, and a build-your-own Bloody Mary bar. Sounds like a serious recipe for fun!

Thanks to Jen and Chris Creed for sharing such a spirited day with us!

Describe your wedding flowers. My bouquet was made of all-white peonies. Robert gave me an heirloom diamond and sapphire brooch before the ceremony, which we attached to the bouquet. My bridesmaids carried bouquets of assorted white flowers. The flowers at the reception were corals, peaches, and pinks, arranged in assorted antique vases. Geny’s did a great job!

My mom, maid of honor, Kathryn, and I started the day with mimosas. We went to two boutiques in Nashville and were not having any luck finding something in my style and in our budget. As we were walking out of the second boutique, Kathryn picked up an ivory bridesmaid dress. We loved it, bought it about ten minutes later, and celebrated with more mimosas.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: My favorite detail was the funny cocktail napkins we used on the bars. I loved seeing our guests laugh at them. Robert says his favorite was when the doors opened and I walked down the aisle. I think he’s trying to one-up me–I thought he would say the bacon on the bloody mary bar.
Did you have something borrowed, something blue, and something new? If so, do tell! I borrowed a sweet friend’s beautiful veil, wore shiny electric blue shoes, and carried a dear family friend’s vintage handkerchief, which turned out to be much needed. My dress was new!

Choosing the music was my favorite part. My dad and I walked down the aisle to “Morning Has Broken” played by a cellist and classical guitarist. It was soft and beautiful, appropriate for our morning wedding. A very talented friend sang “Be Thou My Vision” during the ceremony. We walked/danced back up the aisle to a soulful rendition of “Oh Happy Day,” sung by a friend, along with her sisters and daughter. The sound system didn’t work correctly for our first dances, so after crossing the Shelby Street pedestrian bridge for our reception exit, Robert and I went to Robert’s Western World for a proper first dance. I don’t remember what song played, but we had a blast dancing at one of our favorite Nashville establishments.

I’m from Mississippi and Robert is from West Tennessee, so I would say everything about our wedding was Southern, including the Southern accents that echoed throughout the church and reception. We were married in the morning and had a brunch reception. The brunch menu included a biscuit bar, complete with pulled pork barbecue, fried chicken bites, country ham, sausage, bacon and assorted jams and jellies. Café Du Monde-style beignets were served along with mini quiches and deviled eggs. Guests enjoyed a mimosa bar, a build-your-own Bloody Mary bar, and an assorted beer selection from Nashville’s own Yazoo Brewing Company. We used Hatch Show Print postcards for our save the dates and Spirit of Nashville postcards as a guest book for the reception. We reconvened with friends and family on the evening of our wedding at a honky-tonk in downtown Nashville.

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The guest list! At one point, we had three different versions of it. My mom had never heard of Excel before the guest list started. I hand-addressed our wedding invitations and now have a new respect for calligraphers.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. I moved to Nashville on a whim, knowing exactly one person here. Fortunately for me, she had a great group of girl friends who have become my best friends. These girls were friends with a great group of guys who lived in the same apartment complex. Robert was one of those guys! After a group dinner at Jackson’s in Hillsboro Village, a few of us decided to continue the night at The Villager. Robert fell in love with me there. He won’t admit it, but there are witnesses. Cheers to the smokiest bar in Nashville, darts, and a spectacular jukebox!
Tell us all about the proposal! Robert lived in the Encore at the time. I walked over after a particularly bad Friday at work. We drank wine, listened to music and talked about dinner plans. I didn’t think anything of it. He called me out to his balcony as the sun set over the Nashville skyline, got on one knee, and proposed. I couldn’t stop laughing. I immediately wanted to call my parents, but he had already taken my phone away because he wanted us to have a nice dinner and enjoy the engagement before telling the world. I was so frustrated–I needed to talk to my mom! We went to dinner at Prime 108 in the Union Station Hotel. As we walked in, I saw my parents and his parents waiting on us in the lobby. That’s when the tears started. It was perfect.
When did y’all get married? May 4, 2013
How many friends, family, and loved ones attended your wedding? Around 250
Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We decided to do a first look because we wanted to spend as much time as possible celebrating with our friends and family at our reception.
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We went with traditional vows. I like the idea that our parents and grandparents promised the same things to each other and it worked out pretty well for all of them.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? A sweet friend read Colossians 3:12-17.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. A friend and coworker recently started a bakery with her husband. We loved knowing that a friend made our cake: five layers of goodness accented by fresh flowers. Robert’s dessert was assorted mini pies. They were super cute and delicious.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Definitely our photographers! We met with them twice before the wedding so that they could get a better idea of our personalities and style. They were so easy to work with during the entire process, and they were both professional and laid-back on our wedding day. They even sent us a “welcome home from the honeymoon” care package that included a cute little wedding album of pictures we hadn’t seen, and invited us to their home for dinner to preview our pictures and design the album. Most importantly, we love our wedding pictures. They really captured the spirit and joy of the day.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Don’t worry about the things you can’t change. I checked the weather forecast at least 100 times the week before our wedding. It changed from 75 and sunny to 44 and rainy. Although the latter proved to be more accurate, we had the best day celebrating with our family and friends.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? Hopefully, a house, a baby or three, and lots more fun together.

marissa Written with love by Marissa
  1. avatar Emily reply

    I really love the shot of Olivia and her Dad before they walk down the aisle… and the mini pies, of course!

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Emily sure knew what she was doing when she sent me Claire and Michael’s gorgeous wedding for my first Real Wedding post! A traditional church ceremony, lots of romantic flowers, a brick-walled reception space and monograms galore are all straight from my list of favorite wedding details. As if that wasn’t enough to make me fall head over heels for Claire and Michael’s big day, I’m also touched and inspired by the way they made their long-distance dating relationship such a sweet success. Love truly never fails!

The talented Jennifer of Jennifer Laraia Designs brought Claire and Michael’s inspiration to life, and Watson Studios was on hand to capture every moment.

Jennifer sent over a few of the design boards she developed with Claire + Michael, and we thought you might like to see where everything started as well as how everything came together in the end!

So pretty, don’t you think? And here’s how everything turned out!

Seeing Michael on our wedding day brought me back to the very first time we laid eyes on each other, because we met at my sister’s wedding three years ago. Both members of the bridal party, I first noticed Michael for his witty sense of humor. However, his sharp tux probably didn’t hurt, either! I wasn’t sure how long it would last because we lived five hours from each other, but we both quickly realized it was worth putting in the extra effort. We chose to make up for the distance with long Skype dates at night, countless cards sent via snail mail and what seems like an endless number of weekend road trips visiting each other. There seemed to be a light at the end of the tunnel when Michael took a job in Nashville; however, we actually got further in distance because I spent one of my last semesters of college in Italy. After returning home, the new three-hour road trip between us was a breeze. I had plans to look for a job in Nashville after graduating, but I didn’t yet know that I would be moving there to finally live in the same city as my fiancé!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. As it turns out, I am really good at finding wedding dresses. My mom and sister both came to Nashville, and we spent a weekend visiting bridal shops. I fell in love with four dresses, narrowed down from the original ten, but didn’t end up buying anything because I couldn’t choose between them. The next weekend, my mom came back into town, and we went to a new store. I pretty much knew right away that I had found my dress, but I needed my sister’s sign off before making the big purchase. Luckily, she approved!

I love floral crowns on just about anyone, but on flower girls, they’re particularly darling!

For the ceremony, we chose classic songs that sounded beautiful on the church organ, such as “Canon In D” and “Ave Maria.” The reception was a better opportunity for us to add some personality, so we chose Ray LaMontagne “You are the Best Thing” for our first dance. Since we were having a very traditional Catholic wedding, we opted for the traditional vows. We also both agreed that we couldn’t have said it better if we tried.

One of my favorite details was the light-up letters that spelled “Sullivan.” They looked so pretty outside the depot, all lit up at night. I love that it showcased my new last name, and they were extra special because my parents actually made them. I think if you asked Michael though, he might say getting to change into a white dinner jacket for the reception.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? For many of our guests, it was their first time in Knoxville. I really wanted to give them a taste of the city and its Southern charm. We had a calligrapher create our wedding monogram, which we used on everything from our invitations to the napkins my mom monogrammed for each place setting. The head table and table that our parents and immediate family sat at were large farmhouse tables. The other tables were covered in lace linens. Cigars were stationed around the Depot on top of old whiskey barrels, and we had vintage Knoxville postcards for guests to leave us a note on. I also decided that morning to go for comfort, so I wore my cowboy boots through the entire ceremony and reception. This decision was solidified as the right one when the band played Rocky Top for all of my friends and family to dance to.

Describe your wedding flowers. Full and romantic. I have a love affair with peonies and hydrangeas, so those were incorporated into the bouquets and centerpieces. The soft colors and textures helped create a romantic setting at the old train depot in the middle of downtown Knoxville.

What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Jennifer Laraia Designs. As our wedding planner and designer, she really made it all come together. As the planner, she completely removed any worry so I could enjoy being engaged and planning our wedding. From the design aspect, it was invaluable to have someone completely understand the look we were going for and commit to achieving it for us. On the day of our wedding, it was incredible to see everything come to life from the style boards!

When we met, one of the first things we discovered that we had in common was our love of Funfetti cake, so it was an obvious choice for our wedding cake. In addition to cake, we had a snow cone truck pull up and serve late night treats, because anyone who knows me knows that my favorite food group is snow cones!

Tell us all about the proposal! 
Michael proposed to me the night of my graduation on December 9, 2011. It was truly perfect because he somehow managed to surprise me, and it was clear that he had put a lot of thought into asking me to marry him. He had given me a gorgeous necklace as a graduation present at brunch with my family, but he kept saying he had another gift to give me. I, of course, thought he meant another graduation gift. After dinner at my parents’ house, Michael took me outside on the porch. There were candles set up everywhere and a gift for me. I unwrapped a scrapbook he had made of all our adventures together since we first began dating. On the very last page, it hinted at spending the rest of our life together. When I looked up, Michael was down on his knee asking me to marry him!

When did y’all get married? 
April 6, 2013

How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 
Just over 200

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Yes, we wanted to have a special moment together to share the excitement and joy of our wedding day. We also knew that we had a party to get to after the ceremony, so it was less stressful getting the pictures out of the way beforehand!

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Planning a wedding in Knoxville, while we were living in Nashville. Thankfully, my mom is awesome at this sort of stuff, and we hired a talented wedding planner to help out.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? The entire reception was a blast — the kind of party you wish you could throw over and over again. But if I had to choose one moment from the day, it would be when the church doors opened for me to walk down the aisle with my dad. Seeing my best friend waiting for me at the altar, having my dad by my side and all of my family and friends there to support us–I think that’s when it all hit me! Just before they opened the doors, my wedding planner gave me the best advice: to take a moment and take it all in. That was a moment I will never forget.

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? 
Enjoy the process. Our wedding was a fabulous celebration with all of our family and friends, but I am equally as thrilled with all the special memories we created with each other leading up to our big day. Create memories that will last a lifetime and remember that in the end, it isn’t just about this one day; it is about kicking off the rest of your life with your best friend.

What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? 
We bought our first house, so we are thrilled to set up our home together in Nashville, host our family and friends, and take some time to just enjoy being married. We are also pretty excited about finally being able to stay out on the dance floor when they bring all the married couples out for a dance to see who has been married the longest!

Watson Studios and Jennifer Laraia Designs are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
  1. avatar Aelish reply

    Gorgeous flowers and cake!

  2. avatar Emily reply

    His monogrammed suspenders are the best! And I love those light-up signs — so special that her parents made them!

    • avatar Kristin reply

      Ditto on the monogrammed suspenders. And I love that Claire honored her love of Sno-Cones by serving them as a late night treat!! So fun!!

  3. avatar Dana reply

    could not have been a more perfect first wedding for lisa to write about! love all the details!

  4. avatar Natalie Watson reply

    Thanks so much SW for posting, this was a fun one to be a part of! Congrats Claire + Michael!! xx

  5. avatar Claire + Michael: Southern Railway Depot Wedding – Knoxville, TN this says browser title separater under setup Watson-Studios Photography Blog reply

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  6. avatar Maggie reply

    Love all of the fun items you were able to incorporate into your wedding that made it so personalized! Where did you find those “getting ready robes”? I just love them!

  7. avatar Kelly H. reply

    Beautiful wedding, love all the monogrammed details!
    Wedding dress designer please?

  8. avatar Claire reply

    Thank you so much Lisa! We are honored to be your first post :)

    Maggie- I actually found the robes at Target, and then just had them monogrammed.

    Kelly- My dress is Allure Bridals Style: 8923.

    • avatar Lindsey reply

      Claire: Where are your flower girl dresses from? They are beautiful!

    • avatar Claire reply

      Lindsey: Thanks so much! We actually had them custom made from a seamstress on etsy, Dress Baby Beautiful. We loved how they turned out!

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  12. avatar Lauren reply

    I love the robes that the bride chose for the bridesmaids! Do you have any idea where she got them? All I can seem to find online are floral or waffle knits.

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  20. avatar Signage for Your Wedding | The Budget Savvy Bride reply

    […] and reinvent everyday objects.  What’s your fancy? Posters, driftwood, fabric, mirror, wood board, chalkboard, and glass (pictured above).  If your heart is set on using something you don’t […]

  21. avatar 10 Fun Ways to Incorporate Balloons Into Your Big Day reply

    […] Watson Studios via Southern Weddings […]

  22. avatar Balloon Wedding Décor Ideas: 10 Fun Ways to Incorporate Balloons Into Your Big Day – Wedding Party by WedPics reply

    […] Watson Studios via Southern Weddings […]

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    […] Chicks, foto 13 vía Bridal Musings, foto 14 vía Pinterest, foto 15 vía Ruffled, foto 16 vía Southern Weddings, foto 17 vía Ruffled, foto 18 vía Elegant Wedding […]

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