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Last summer, I was a bridesmaid in one of my best friends’ weddings in Islamorada, and I can attest that it is such a beautiful place. It’s excluded from wildness of Key West, and filled with just the right amenities for a special wedding weekend! Believe me when I say, I can see why Lindsey and Greg fell in love with it so much, they decided to plan a destination wedding there in just seven weeks! From the blue heart made of her father’s shirt sewn into her dress, to the ribbon made from her mama’s wedding dress tied around her bouquet, even though they were short on time, Lindsey and Greg’s wedding day was certainly not short on meaningful details and fond memories.

Thanks to Natalie Watson for sharing this sweet day with us!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? It took us a long time to find a wedding venue, but when we stumbled upon Islamorada, we knew we wanted to get married there! We both love the beach, and our family and friends love warm weather, so it was perfect. With that, we decided to plan a destination wedding in seven weeks! We took photos before the wedding at the quaint and adorable Moorings Village and Spa, and then headed across the street to Pierre’s, a plantation house and restaurant, for the ceremony and reception. The venues were a perfect backdrop to our breezy, December wedding.

Oh, wedding dress shopping! It is safe to say I tried on about 100 dresses. I just couldn’t find one that I absolutely loved. I shopped in Michigan, Knoxville, and Nashville, and even ordered dresses online, sent them back, and then even ordered the same ones again…just to be sure! That is actually how I found my wedding dress. I ordered it, sent it back because I wanted a white dress, then after trying on more and never finding anything right, I ordered it again. That time, I knew it was the dress for me!

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I borrowed an anklet from my mom that she wears every day. For my something blue, I had a blue heart sewed to the inside of my dress that was made from an old shirt of my dad’s. My bouquet was wrapped in a ribbon made out of my mom’s wedding dress, and I carried a hankie from my grandmother for my something old. As my something new, I wore a bracelet my dad gave me as a wedding gift right before he walked me down the aisle. It was such a sweet gift, because he gave the same one to my sister at her wedding, and he had a special message engraved in it.

One of the very last decisions we made for the wedding was what song I would walk down the aisle to. We have very different music tastes, and we chose “All of Me” by John Legend because we both love that song. Not only did we love it, it also set the mood for the ceremony–some of our family and friends were crying before I even reached the end of the aisle!

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? My most memorable moment was walking down the aisle and seeing a normally stoic Gary holding back tears after seeing me for the first time. I will always remember it!

What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? All of our vendors were amazing and wonderful to work with! We especially loved our extremely talented photographer, Natalie. She captured all of the special moments and details of the entire day. We will be able to look at our wedding pictures for years to come and remember the love, happiness, and excitement we felt that day.

Our cake was very simple, but delicious! It was a two-tiered vanilla cake with buttercream filling and key lime buttercream icing on the outside. Everyone wanted seconds!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met three years ago through a mutual friend at a bar in downtown Knoxville, Tennessee. We hit it off immediately and went on our first date a few days later. We’ve been inseparable ever since!
Tell us all about the proposal! We got engaged the day after Christmas! We had just gotten home from spending Christmas with my family in Michigan. Gary said he had to go run an errand, and then was going to bring dinner back for us. When he got back, we ate and opened the rest of our presents. The last one was a tiny box that had been hidden under the tree. He got down on one knee and asked me to marry him! I found out later that the jeweler had called while we were on our way home from Michigan to tell him that the ring was ready…that was the little errand he had to run!
When did y’all get married? December 5, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 20
Describe your wedding flowers. Our flowers were beautiful! Our florists used pale pink, blush, and ivory garden roses, dripping greens, and sea grasses. My bouquet had peonies in it too, since they are my favorite flower!
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: We rented cottages at The Moorings Village for the weekend, which allowed us to spend extra time with the special people in our lives who made the trip down.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We were able to rent chairs and linens from our florist. By doing this, we saved money by only paying the delivery and set up/breakdown fee for one vendor!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Trust your vendors, accept help from others, and remember what the day is really about!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We look forward to spending the rest of our lives together, enjoying whatever life brings our way!

Photographer: Natalie Watson / Ceremony Venue: Morada Bay / Reception Venue and Catering: Pierre’s Lounge and Restaurant at Morada Bay / Florist and Rentals: Parrish Designs of London / Cake Baker: Bob’s Bunz Islamorada Restaurant & Bakery / DJ: Phil Barnes from Rock With U Entertainment / Flamingo Cake Toppers: BHLDN / Bride’s Gown: “Carina Corset” and “Ahsan Skirt” by Watters / Hair and Makeup: Carolyn Jones / Groom’s Attire: Jos. A. Bank / Groom’s Tie: The Tie Bar / Portrait Location: The Moorings Village / Flower Girl Dresses and Floral Crowns: ShopElizaDean / Officiant: Jill Atkinson

marissa Written with love by Marissa
4 Comments
  1. avatar Natalie reply

    Thanks so much for posting this darling wedding! As a photographer I absolutely loved both venues, they were very charming! Ralph Lauren was doing a photoshoot there the morning of the wedding. Lindsey’s flowers were stunning! I highly recommend these vendors if you are planning a destination wedding in the keys! They really made Lindsey’s vision come to life!

  2. avatar Lindsay Callahan reply

    You captured these moments beautifully! Do you know what vendor the menu cards came from. I’d love to know. So simple and elegant. Thank you

  3. avatar Victoria reply

    Hey there- your wedding was beautiful! I’m loving the flamingo cake toppers but I can’t seem to find them anywhere online that I can still buy. Would you be willing to sell me yours? I’d love to use them too. So adorable!!

  4. avatar Olivia reply

    This is serious inspo for my wedding! I was wondering what the dance floor situation was? I’m considering doing a partial buyout of the restaurant so was curious what happens when it’s time to dance!

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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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