Since 95 percent of Hilari and Grant’s guests traveled from out of town for their wedding, they wanted to not only show their guests a true Southern celebration, but also make them feel loved and celebrated. To me, that is the definition of gracious Southern hospitality. From the ceremony under a magnolia tree (which is extra special to Hilari, as every house she’s lived in has had one in the front yard), to hand-delivered welcome bags, and even a giant Jenga game at cocktail hour handmade by Hilari’s grandfather, I’m sure that through each element of Hilari and Grant’s wedding at Belle Meade Plantation, guests loved being part of this new chapter of their love story.
Thanks to Rachel Moore for sharing this lovely day!
I knew finding my wedding dress would be something special for my mom and I to do together. She and I are absolute best friends and I thought it would be something really sweet we could share together, forever. Through our shared Pinterest board, I kind of had an idea of what I was looking for, but in all honesty, was completely open to anything as long as it was unique and completely out of the box. The wedding colors had been decided months before (black, white, and glittery gold), and I wanted a dress that fit our venue, theme, and overall style. One Sunday, we decided to start the process and stopped into The Dress Theory boutique in Nashville. As soon as I walked in the door, I spotted a beautiful gold, glittery dress. In that moment, I knew that was my dress. It fit all of my criteria and was better than anything I could have imagined. Paired with a pretty belt and a simple veil, it was perfect. We found out later that the dress I chose isn’t typically isn’t carried at The Dress Theory–Sarah Seven was having a trunk show that weekend, so we lucked out and happened upon it. It was meant to be!
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We tried to incorporate so many Southern details into our special day. Belle Meade Plantation is the epitome of Nashville Southern living. The venue was the perfect backdrop for our wedding and celebration, and had such a historical factor that our out-of-town guests loved. We chose to get married under the magnolia tree in the gardens, and tied magnolias into the boutonnieres and tables decor. This was especially sentimental, as every house I’ve lived in has had a magnolia tree in the front yard. Our guests absolutely loved the biscuit bar, with toppings that included pulled pork, fried chicken, hot sauce, homemade jams and butters, sorghum and more. We had familial ties throughout the day as well, including signature drink recipes concocted by my dad, corn hole and giant Jenga handmade by my grandfather, and welcome bags carefully crafted and hand-delivered to our guests by me and my mom.
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Yes! I think this was one of the best decisions we made all day. It was a way for us to connect before the ceremony and truly soak in the magnitude of what was ahead. It gave us time to laugh, cry, reflect on our journey, and get really excited for the celebration ahead. I think we were both more nervous than we had anticipated, and this gave us the perfect opportunity to share in a special moment together, just us.
We chose Belle Meade Plantation for both our ceremony and reception because it was the perfect backdrop for our Southern wedding. 95 percent of our guests were traveling from out of town, and we wanted to give them a warm Nashville welcome and show them a truly Southern affair. It was the perfect size for our 125 guests and we were able to make full use of the gorgeous property. The ceremony was conducted under the big magnolia in the Boxwood Garden, then passed appetizers, signature drinks, and lawn games took place under the eaves. We dined under twinkle lights in the back tent and danced the night away in the Carriage House. Grant and I wanted our guests to feel loved and celebrated, and also introduce them to all things Southern!
Describe your wedding flowers. Where to begin? Our florist was incredible at bringing our floral dreams to life. We chose a gorgeous blend of whites, greens, and golds, and made sure to incorporate magnolias. The bridesmaid bouquets were white with pops of green, and my bouquet was white with gold accents to match my dress. The tables were adorned with gold-edged magnolias, candles, and gold vessels.
We opted for a small, two-tiered cake that was brought out to us at the head table. We cut it there and guests were served cupcakes with custom toppers and forks at the same time. My favorite flavor is funfetti and Grant’s is coconut. We were able to have a layer of each, and enjoyed the leftovers the next day (and still have slices in our freezer for whenever we want to revisit our special day!).
How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. It depends who you ask! We both agree that we met during our senior year at Vanderbilt, but my side of story doesn’t start until February 4. I lived off campus at the time and had a very busy schedule with nursing school. On that Saturday night, I was in my PJs, had a glass of wine ready, and was just about to start watching The Bachelor when my phone rang. It was my friend wanting me to join her at a party she was headed to, and I decided to head over, which is totally out of character for me once I’m settled in. I figured I’d stay for just a little bit. That all changed when I walked in the door…and there was Grant. I remember the day like it was yesterday. I asked my friend, “Who IS that and why haven’t I met him yet?!” She said, “You actually have!” After some awkward introductions, Grant and I start talking. We had so much in common and could have talked forever, but I figured this Southerner would want nothing to do with my Yankee self. Come to find out, Grant was the one who had really wanting me to come to the party in the first place! Two minutes turned into two hours, which turned into the rest of the evening. The rest is history!
Tell us all about the proposal! It all started when I got home and Grant was there waiting for me dressed up, which was unusual because we were about to go for a walk. He told me to get in the car–no questions asked! After a few minutes of detouring around the city, we finally arrived at Love Circle, the location of one of our first dates, which has a gorgeous view of Nashville. Grant had a picnic basket packed full of our favorite snacks and we walked up the hill. As soon as we spread out the blanket, Grant was on one knee and proposed. Of course, I said yes! With a champagne toast and a bunch of sweet treats, we celebrated while admiring the most amazing view of Nashville!
When did y’all get married? May 16, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 125
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. “Hey Pretty Girl” was Grant’s choice for our first dance because he says it reminded him of when he met me, and it always brings a smile to both of our faces. My father-daughter dance was to “My Girl”–I am a daddy’s girl through and through. My dad picked the song that was playing in the delivery room when I was born–it brings tears to his eyes every time, and was the perfect song for us.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Planning for our marriage was just as important, if not more, as planning for our wedding. We participated in a premarital course offered through a local church. This provided a place to talk about many things we had touched on previously, and allowed us to dive further into our values, goals, and hopes for marriage. We also made sure to have date night once a week to regroup on our life outside of wedding planning and make sure we were on the same page. This was essential in planting the seeds for a fruitful marriage.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? I think the most memorable moment was sitting at our table, listening to my parents’ toasts, and looking around at the culmination of our celebration. Everyone we loved was in one place, under one tent, laughing, chatting, and becoming one big family. Love and relationships fire me up, and it was the perfect way to begin our journey together.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Prioritize. Make a master list (yes, it will be long!) and categorize each task into priority level. What is a “must do?” What can wait until most of the details are in place? Understanding your list in terms of priority level will help make the planning process less stressful, and will help you make time for what matters most. Also, have fun! This is such an exciting time! Don’t forget to celebrate, laugh, create memories, and live in the moment. It goes by so fast! One more tip: take a few days before leaving for your honeymoon. We left a week after the wedding, and it was so relaxing. During our wedding weekend, we could live in the moment and soak in every memory. Once we got home, the honeymoon packing and anticipation could begin!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are excited about settling into our new, married routine, and growing more deeply in love as the days, months, and years progress. We plan to travel, focus on laying the groundwork for a successful marriage, and make the most of each day together. Eventually, we want to start a family and create a happy haven for our children, a place for them to grow in a loving, supportive, and encouraging home.
Photographer: Rachel Moore Photography / Videographer: Needle + Thread / Planner: A Delightful Day / Venue: Belle Meade Plantation / Florist: Brocade Designs / Cake Baker: Wolfe Gourmet Cakes / Caterer: G Catering & Events / Rentals: Southern Event Rentals / Lighting: Bright Event Productions / Bands: Silver Strings and The Respectables / Paper Products: Minted / Bride’s Gown: Sarah Seven / Bridal Salon and Veil: The Dress Theory / Hair Stylist: Sarah Page / Makeup Artist: Nicole Diamond / Bride’s Shoes: Tieks / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: J. Crew / Menswear: Men’s Wearhouse / Additional Vendors: Sucre Shop, Sugar Paper, You’re That Girl Designs