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Though Catherine and Will did give a lot of thought to eloping, they ultimately decided they wanted to celebrate their marriage with their friends and family, so a wedding weekend it was! After a whirlwind search that ended with lots of great venues but none that felt exactly right, they found themselves on a tour of Blue Ribbon Vendor RT Lodge. The peaceful atmosphere and opportunity to have the property all to themselves for the weekend sealed the deal!

String lights, bales of hay covered in family quilts, and s’mores by the fire helped create the magical, “grown-up summer camp” feel Catherine and Will were hoping for. And judging from the joy in these photos, I’m thinking they’re pretty glad they didn’t decide to elope!

Thanks to Cody Myers for sharing their sweet Tennessee day with us!

The wedding dress wasn’t a detail of planning that I was especially excited about, so I put off looking until a ways into our engagement. Because we were on a tight timeline, I knew we needed to find something that day. After trying on a few dresses that were definitely not the one at different shops, we went to The Sentimentalist. The dress I ended up going with was flowy and relaxed with great lines. It had the perfect feel for our wedding, and I couldn’t have been happier!

I was very against the idea of not seeing Will until I walked down the aisle, so we both had breakfast at the lodge with our bridesmaids and groomsmen. Seeing him that morning was so nice, and it set a great tone for the day. If it was supposed to be one of the most important days of our life, it didn’t seem right not to spend most of it together! After breakfast, we went our separate ways to get ready with our friends, and then we had a first look in our wedding clothes in the woods at the Lodge.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? We gave a lot of thought to eloping, but once we decided to have a wedding weekend, we decided to get married in the mountains in North Carolina. After a whirlwind search, we decided to go look at RT Lodge in Tennessee. It isn’t what I thought we were looking for, but as we toured the property under umbrellas, the peaceful atmosphere pulled us in! It really felt like grown-up summer camp in the woods.

We used traditional Presbyterian vows, and we loved the simplicity and significance of those words that have been said time and again…”in plenty and in want; in joy and in sorrow; in sickness and in health, as long as we both shall live.” And it was so meaningful to use the words “husband” and “wife” for the first time!

The only readings we had at the ceremony were two Bible verses. One of our officiants read Romans 12:1-2, 9-18, and our other officiant read Colossians 3:12-17. We wanted our ceremony to be simple, meaningful, and very centered on God.

We wanted our ceremony music to be traditional, but walking down the aisle made me nervous, and listening to traditional processional songs made me even more nervous, so we decided to go with a more contemporary song for that part! One of our officiants suggested at an early meeting that we have everyone sing a hymn during the ceremony, and we chose one of our favorites (“Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing”). We chose to have the hymn be played right after communion, so we were still sitting down in the seats with everyone, which was so sweet.

Will and I danced to Blake Shelton’s “Mine Would Be You” for our first dance. Our bluegrass band played a shortened version of it and it was really fun! My dad and I danced to Elvis’s “Sweet Caroline,” a song he would sing to me when I was a baby.

Our cocktail hour site was a grassy area just behind the ceremony site that had strung lights from trees Alex had planted and hay bales covered in family quilts around a fire. One other really sweet detail we loved was that after our rehearsal dinner, everyone hung out by the fire making s’mores and relaxing. It was the perfect ending to a really great day.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Will and I met on my first day of work at the Tennessee governor’s office (I give him a hard time because he doesn’t remember meeting me!). We slowly became office friends, and after a while, things began to shift into the possibility of becoming more. Will finally asked me out on an October Friday to go watch a Braves playoff game after work. After a somewhat bumpy first date (I was really nervous and didn’t even have my ID!), the rest of our story has been an amazing adventure!
Tell us all about the proposal! As soon as our busiest season of work ended, Will planned a trip to the Grove Park Inn in Asheville for a weekend getaway. On Saturday, we drove up the Blue Ridge Parkway to find a place to hike. After a lot of discussion with locals about where to go, we ended up at the summit of the Craggy Gardens Pinnacle trail with 360-degree views. After enjoying the view for a few minutes and taking some pictures, Will began saying some amazing things, and he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him! We were able to enjoy the rest of the day up on the mountain, and then we celebrated with a perfect dinner in downtown Asheville. We didn’t tell anyone the news that day (except for every stranger I encountered!), so on Sunday, we spent the drive home calling friends, and even stopped in Knoxville to tell my mom on Mother’s Day (my dad already knew).
When did y’all get married? October 24, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 105
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: For me, the paper aspect of the wedding were something I was very excited about! I was able to create the save the dates and I painted the fireplace at the lodge and did the calligraphy, and we had Chelsea Petaja create the most wonderful invitation suite. I loved working with her and I couldn’t have been happier with the way everything turned out. I love vintage stationery and stamps, so I started collecting old stamps as soon as we got engaged. Each envelope had six or seven vintage stamps on it! One of our favorite details of the actual wedding was the ceremony and cocktail hour sites–Alex (our coordinator) made those blank canvases come to life!
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! Making sure I was wearing each category was one of the details that ended up not happening in the chaos of the weekend, so I only had a borrowed veil and new dress/shoes. BUT, there was a lot of “old” strung throughout the wedding, like the old (and blue!) Chevy truck, the cake topper, the film photography, the Super 8 video, my paternal grandparents’ wedding guest book that we used as our guest book. We laugh that our wedding was straight out of the 50s!
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? Will had a special bourbon bar during the reception, which was made up of a selection of bourbon from Southern distilleries. For our rehearsal dinner (which took place on the front lawn of RT), we ate barbecue, drank Cokes in glass bottles, and had banana pudding served in the sweetest Spode Woodland bunny bowls. Most of our food had a Southern base, from fried chicken at my bridal luncheon Friday to collards at the reception!
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We tried to be very intentional about the fact that the wedding was only one day in the scope of our entire marriage, so we went to a marriage seminar, had counseling with our minister, and read a lot of books together like Tim Keller’s “The Meaning of Marriage.”
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? We had Campbell Brewer film our wedding in Super 8 video. The nostalgic feel of our video is incredible, and all of our details fit perfectly with that medium. He edited amazing videos for us. Because we had an amazing film photographer (Cody Myers) shoot the weeding, the video truly feels like our photos came to life! I loved using the wedding as an excuse to hire really talented people I know. My friend, artist James Worsham, created our altar–it was so perfect! He really set the scene with the wood altar, the fabric draped over, and the copper flower stands he made! Also, I had an artist I know from high school, Adele Yonchak, paint small canvases for my bridesmaids; they turned out so perfectly, and I loved being able to give them to my closest friends.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? It was really important to us that the day be centered around the ceremony. Communion was served during our ceremony, and being able to experience that sacred moment with our closest family and friends while rain lightly fell was so special.
Is there anything else you’d like to share about your wedding? Will loves old trucks, and I was able to borrow an amazing 1960s Chevy pickup truck from a couple I know in Knoxville. There was a road next to our ceremony site, so Will drove us away from the ceremony in that! Our videographers got amazing Super 8 footage from the bed of the truck, and even running alongside while we were driving.

Photographer: Cody Myers | Videographer: Campbell Brewer of Clark Brewer Photography | Planner, Venue, Catering, Rentals, and Lighting: RT Lodge | Florist: Lisa Foster Floral Design | Wedding Cake: Cheryl McMillan Cake Design | Cake Topper: The Delightful Crow | Ceremony Music: Tim West and Adam Cromer | Band: Sweetwater Road Band | Paper Products: Chelsea Petaja | Save the Dates: 23Postcards | Printing: Midtown Printing and For Your Party | Invitation Stamps: Bride and Verde Studio | Bride’s Gown: “Kerry” by Theia | Bridal Salon: The Sentimentalist | Hair Stylist: Eric Patterson and Elisabetta Proietto of Twisted Scissors | Makeup Artist: Patty Watson | Bride’s Shoes: Tali Grand Waterproof Bow Wedge in Canyon Rose by Cole Haan | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Annabelle” in Shadow Grey, Mist Grey, and Blush by BHLDN | Groom’s Attire: Brooks Brothers | Groomsmen’s Ties: The Tie Bar | Welcome Bags: Bradley’s | Transportation: Big Love Bus | Altar: Handy Dandy Productions | Bridesmaids’ Gifts: Adele Yonchak

RT Lodge is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
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    Raise your hand if your jaw dropped to the floor when you turned to page 220 of V7 and saw Alexandra and Trevor’s candle-lined aisle in the woods…everyone? Us too!! Not only did this couple have an absolutely gorgeous wedding at the venue where they met and both work, RT Lodge, they also put so much thought into making sure their family and friends were taken care of throughout their wedding weekend. This event planner (Alexandra) and chef (Trevor) have a huge heart for Southern hospitality, and from the events guests were invited to throughout the weekend, to the private dinner served to the bridal party and immediate family before the 8:00 P.M. ceremony, to the food that was served (Trevor created the menu himself using vegetables he grew, meat from his parents’ farm, and food he had preserved), this passion was evident in every detail of their wedding.

    Thank you so much to Clark Brewer for sharing this magical day with us!

    We knew we wanted to be married in the spring! There is nothing more beautiful than a Southern spring. I love that spring is a new start, and that every year, beautiful blooms start to appear on the bare branches. Suddenly, the trees and fields are full of flowers (and so are the vases in my house). I’ve never been more anxious for spring’s arrival as I was in the weeks leading up to the wedding. The temperatures were at record lows and it was snowing the week before the wedding! Just as I was starting to think our wedding (which I had imagined covered with flowering branches and dogwoods) would look more like winter, the temperatures rose and spring came just as promised!

    Tell us about finding your wedding dress. What was your favorite thing about it? Getting to work with Colleen at White Orchid Bridal to have my dress made was such a special experience! The process began by just discussing ideas, and then Colleen drew some beautiful sketches for me. She used a washed silk shantung and silk organza for the majority of the dress, as well as antique laces that she cut, hand-sewed, and hand-beaded for the bodice of the dress. I was in awe of how well she executed the flowing sleeves–they were so romantic! Colleen also made a circle veil and a beaded crown with freshwater pearls for me to wear during the ceremony.

    How did you choose your venue? It was easy for us to pick a venue since we work at such an incredible one! RT Lodge is located in Maryville, Tennessee in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains. You get RT Lodge exclusively for the weekend and it has 60 guest rooms on-site…since most of our guests were traveling from out of town, the lodge was a perfect fit. Getting to be married at the place where we met and that means so much to us was really special!

    From Trevor: I made sure that my groomsmen and I were ready before the time we would start taking pictures, and then I waited and waited. I was told that Alex was just really relaxed and enjoying getting ready with all her friends and family. I anxiously and excitedly paced around the property in my tuxedo for what felt like forever, asking about every ten minutes if Alex was almost ready. When she was, there was a change of plans for the location of our first look. The photographer’s assistant walked me out to where Alex was. I walked down the path that we would walk in just a few short hours to our ceremony site. We took a small dirt path into the middle of the woods, and there she was. I could see her from a few hundred feet away, standing alone in a small clearing among the trees and hanging ivy. It was the most beautiful scene I had ever witnessed. She was glowing from far away and even more gorgeous when I got close enough to see her big, beautiful smile. The waiting, the change of location, everything made it the most perfect moment. Once I saw the rest of our bridal party, I couldn’t stop telling everyone how amazing it was and how beautiful my bride was.

    With a 7:45pm ceremony, we knew it would be a long day for our immediate family and bridal party, so Trevor suggested that we serve a family-style dinner for them before the ceremony. At 5:00 P.M., a group of 50 (our bridal party, parents, and siblings) gathered in the upstairs dining room and enjoyed an intimate dinner. This is when we planned for speeches to take place, and we were overwhelmed by all of the heartfelt words from our family and friends–everyone laughed and cried through the entire dinner! Getting to enjoy a delicious meal with all of our best friends, relax, and share sweet memories right before walking down the aisle is a moment in time we will never forget.

    From the beginning, Trevor and I knew we wanted to do a candlelit ceremony. While we were scouting ceremony locations, we realized it would be harder than we thought to find a place dark enough at 8:00 P.M. to hold a candlelit ceremony. We finally found a perfect spot, but it did require a bit of walking (and a bit of creativity). We had guests arrive at 7:00 for a cocktail hour, where they were greeted with trays of champagne and farmhouse tables full of house-made breads, charcuterie, and cheese. At 7:45, everyone ventured into the woods for our ceremony. The aisle was over 60 yards long and was lined with over 1,000 candles. Our family and friends helped us collect antique candlesticks and candelabras for the ceremony. We would get giddy calls from people after they found an antique candelabrum for us–everyone got really into the search! It was fun!

    Tell us a bit about the wedding ceremony. What part was most special to you? I loved getting to surprise Trevor with the song I walked down the aisle to. I will never forget the look on Trevor’s face when the strings started playing “Swept Away” by the Avett Brothers. The ceremony was so emotional and everyone seemed so in the moment. I will never forget looking around; the candlelight looked so romantic and Trevor and I were just squeezing each others’ hands so tightly as we were saying our vows. It was a moment we had talked about so much, and we were taking in every second!

    Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did a traditional Episcopal ceremony, so we did not write our own vows. The ceremony does include a series of beautiful prayers for the couple. There is something so powerful about saying the same prayers that have been prayed for hundreds and hundreds of years.

    Did you include any Southern traditions in your wedding? We buried a bottle of bourbon at our ceremony site a month before the wedding to keep the rain away! Trevor collects bourbon, so he loved the idea of this Southern tradition! He has a few bottles of Pappy Van Winkle and decided our wedding day would be the perfect time to try the 20-year. While everyone else headed to the ceremony, we stayed back and dug up the bottle. I have to admit, I was a little nervous that the shovel might break the bottle while he was digging it up. Luckily, the bottle didn’t break and we got some great pictures.

    Tell us about your wedding cake or sweets. Our wedding cake was honestly the most beautiful one I have ever seen! Lisa Cunningham at Ovenart is an incredible artist. She made over 250 gumpaste flowers that completely covered the cake. The flowers on the cake were the same ones that we used throughout the reception: dogwoods, peonies, variegated ivy, anemones, and garden roses. Her flowers were so lifelike that everyone thought they were real! The cake also tasted delicious! It was hard to choose a flavor, but we finally settled on coconut cake. We also had our baker at RT Lodge make “pecan sandies,” which are our favorite cookies.

    I was an Alpha Delta Pi at the University of Tennessee, so we did a sorority sing during the reception. The other event coordinator at the lodge was an ADPI at Auburn, so I even pulled her into the circle. She still had on her earpiece and microphone–I loved it!

    Someone told us to remember that ultimately, the day was about our love for one another, so we needed to take time for just the two of us during the wedding day, stay by the other’s side, and dance a lot. This was the best advice! I have heard so many brides and grooms say that they were so busy greeting guests that they barely saw each other. We have so many great memories together from that day!

    How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. Trevor and I were both hired at RT Lodge around the same time and became pretty quick friends since we were the same age and both new to the Lodge. I always noticed how kind Trevor was, and was always impressed by how intentional he was with all of the other employees. He always went out of his way to ask people about their lives, and it was clear he had a huge heart. We got to know each other some at work, but didn’t spend any time alone until he asked me out three years later. I had been in a relationship, so he told me he had been patiently waiting for the right time to ask me out. I will never forget when he offered to cook for my friends and their husbands on his day off. He invited everyone to his home and made a delicious meal for 15 of my friends! He loves me and my family and friends so well!
    Tell us about the proposal! On the morning Trevor proposed, I had been working in the garden, setting things up for his birthday dinner. Trevor knows how much I love to receive snail mail, so he had planned to have a package set out for me. He placed the package on a little table by the garden and headed to go get the ring. As soon as he set it down, I was curious! I saw that it was addressed to me, so I took off with it in my hands and headed toward the house. As soon as I got inside, I ripped it open and pulled out a print (that Trevor had made by The Happy Envelope, a wonderful husband and wife team who also made our invites) that read “ Alexandra, you are my best friend and one true love. You’ve made me happier than I ever thought possible. Would you do the honor of spending the rest of your life with me so that I may spend every day doing the same for you? Love, Trevor.” I was in complete shock! I realized I had probably just messed up his plans, and in a panic, I tried sliding the print back into the envelope. Finally, Trevor came in (with tears already streaming down his face), got on one knee, and asked me to be his wife! Our families arrived shortly after, and we decided at the last minute to call and invite all of our friends to join us for dinner. We all dined outside by the garden that evening with our parents, siblings, and friends–it is a beautiful memory!
    When did y’all get married? April 26, 2014
    How many loved ones attended your wedding? 250
    What was the design inspiration for your wedding? Why was this design special to you as a couple? We wanted our guests to feel as though they had escaped to a magical place in the woods. We were very inspired by the season and wanted to incorporate lots of foraged ivy and spring flowers…I wanted the tent to look like an overgrown garden! I have always loved A Midsummer Night’s Dream, so that served as a huge inspiration for the overall feel: romantic, whimsical, ethereal. I have always been drawn to very organic, free-flowing arrangements that are reminiscent of the flowers in Dutch still-life paintings. That was really the inspiration for the flowers, and we even used different Dutch still-life paintings to line the envelopes of our invitations, and for the fry cones that were passed as people entered the tent.
    Briefly describe your wedding flowers: We used tons of garden roses, peonies, variegated ivy, ranunculus, dogwoods, lilac, anemones, lily of the valley, and bridal wreath spirea. My sister (who was my maid of honor) carried a bouquet, and the rest of my bridesmaids walked down the aisle in pairs and held hands. We did it to be a little silly at first, but I had so many people comment on how sweet it was. Our group of friends is so close, so it was fitting!
    What’s next for you as a couple? We are enjoying working together as husband and wife! In our spare time, we are hoping to get a group of farmers and chefs together to volunteer and start a farm-to-school movement to improve the school lunch programs in our areas. We are passionate about teaching people how to grow and prepare their own foods, and we hope to encourage families to spend more time together at the dinner table.

    Photographer: Clark Brewer Photography / Day-of Styling: Caroline Brewer Styling / Venue, Catering, Planning and Design: RT Lodge / Florist: Jame Loope of RT Lodge / Food Truck: Hoof / Cake Baker: OvenArt / Bride’s Gown, Veil, and Crown: Custom by White Orchid Bridal / Bride’s Shoes: Ann Taylor / Bride’s Jewelry: Dannijo / Hair and Makeup: Bangs & Blush / Groom’s Attire: J. Crew / Groom’s Shoes: Cole Haan / Groomsmen’s Attire: Men’s Wearhouse / Paper Goods: The Happy Envelope / Custom Illustration: Anja Mulder / Rentals and Linens: All Occasions Party Rentals / Tent: Sperry Tents / Band: The Pink Cadillacs / After-Party DJ: Special Notes / Ceremony Music: Dogwood Strings / Guestbook: Custom by Velvet Raptor

    lisa Written with love by Lisa
    6 Comments
    1. avatar Stephanie Scholl reply

      Yes, my jaw definitely dropped!! I bookmarked this ceremony in SWv7 and have referred back to it dozens of times! This couple did an incredible job of making such a show-stopping, breathtaking, unique, and meaningful ceremony – one of my favorites, for sure.

    2. avatar Stephanie reply

      I absolutely adore this wedding. RT Lodge shares its property with my alma mater, Maryville College. It’s so wonderful to see that beautiful area captured so perfectly!

      • avatar Clark reply

        Thanks Stephanie! There is something in the water in the Maryville area, from Blackberry to RT Lodge, I love everything I shoot there. RT Lodge’s staff, especially Alex and Trevor, make that place so special. It’s my favorite place to shoot these days. So beautiful.

    3. avatar Sandra reply

      I enjoyed reading this so much!! I always love reading about Southern weddings, but it’s even more special when I see faces of people I know and adore!!

    4. avatar Jessica reply

      I love the burried bottle of bourbon tradition. The scenery is absolutely breathtaking. Congratulations

    5. avatar Classic Wedding Invitations reply

      Simply breathtaking!

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