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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Our Wedding: Old Hollywood Meets Southern Opulence

 In honor of Valentine's Day, I thought I would share our wedding day with you all!

Garrett and I had been dating for four years when he proposed. He got down on one knee at Canoe in Atlanta, a beautiful river-front restaurant on the Chattahoochie. Once we were engaged, I started planning the very next day.

 I desperately wanted to get married that summer, and with it being only 9 months away, I felt behind just getting started. My mother came into town that week and we started shopping venues. Originally I wanted an outdoor wedding (thank goodness we didn't because it rained on our wedding day).
I found a gorgeous spot an hour north of the city that was perfect. I kept my mind open, however to other options. One day, I had a venue in Buckhead cancel my appointment a few minutes before I was to arrive. I pulled into a parking lot and started making calls to visit another venue that could meet on such short notice. That's when "the one" fell into my lap. The gorgeous, 4-story, castle-esque Women's Club of Atlanta in Midtown welcomed me with open arms and gave me a tour within the hour. Walking through the space, I realized that everything I had desired in a location was met. It had a gorgeous bridal suite, a room for kids to stay in during the wedding, charming grooms suite, grand pianos on two floors, and arched windows in the ballroom. I was in love. So much so, I wrote a check for my deposit right then and there.

I planned my entire wedding without the help of family or a planner and it was exhausting.  We invited 250 guests and had 200 at our wedding. Planning a wedding this size takes a lot of work and a decent chunk of change. My budget was relatively small compared to the industry standard, but I stretched every dollar I could to pull off a glamorous wedding.

In order to save money:

  •  I created my own centerpieces and purchased my flowers from a wholesaler (savings of $5,000)
  • I purchased inexpensive wine from Trader Joe's and relabeled them with our custom label (savings of $2,000)
  • We purchased a keg instead of individual bottles and served the beer in glassware provided by the caterer (savings of $400)
  • Instead of getting carried away with our invitations, I ordered them through Vistaprint and received free envelopes with my order (savings of $1,500)
  • I DIYed several elements of our details including signage around the room, our bar menu, rehearsal dinner invitations, groomsmen and bridesmaid gifts, and so much more. (savings of around $1,000)
  • Instead of a band, I hired a piano player and saxophone player (savings of $7,000)
  • Instead of a DJ for the after-party, I hired a DJ ahead of time to make a mix for me which only cost me $150! (savings of $1,300)

One of my favorite elements of our wedding was our cake! I wanted it to be a statement piece, and that is was! Sitting at 5 feet tall, it was extremely intricate and carefully planned between my cake baker and myself. I created the poetry for the bottom of the cake in photoshop and using her edible printer, we were able to have delicate script on the cake which was absolutely gorgeous and such a sweet detail that I still get teary-eyed reading. We incorporated our flowers into the design as well as our initials, and to keep things looking polished, I asked for gold jewelry-looking "drips" throughout.

Another element that wasn't photographed that I loved from our wedding was our champagne cocktails. We named them the "East Cobb Snob" and the "Buckhead Betty" (it's an Atlanta thing). The Snob was a champagne cocktail with a splash of St. Germaine and the Betty was a champagne cocktail topped with cotton candy on a pearl-ended cocktail stirrer. In the bar area, I played classic old Hollywood movies on the back wall to keep the theme alive. Scattered throughout the house were quotes from Fitzgerald (one of my favorite authors), sitting in pretty gold frames.

A special moment happened while we cut our cake. One of Garrett's groomsmen sat down at the piano and started playing the prettiest music while we tried to cut the cake without toppling it over! It was so unexpected and beautiful, it will always stay as a special moment in my mind.

You can see all of the details of our wedding below:

We started off our morning getting out hair done at DryBar

I used a cartoon artist on Etsy to create this cute caracture of us for our sign

I DIYed this bar cart by purchasing old cigar boxes from a local shop and ordered custom matches

I had a florist construct these precious kissing balls for our flowers girls using mums and a champagne ribbon.

Orchids are my favorite flower! I wanted to keep things simple and elegant by only using white orchids. I loved the way the gold chivari chairs made all of our decor pop!

The flower girls wore blush pink dresses with crystal accents...isn't she adorable?!

For the groomsmen, I purchased cut crystal lowball glasses from HomeGoods, and placed an airplane bottle of nice bourbon and a cigar in each. This way the boys get to have a drink without going overboard!
Tip: if you buy them in a pack instead of individually, they are much less expensive!

My nephew came to see me before I walked down the aisle!!

The bridesmaid dresses were blush pink with beautiful open backs. I wanted their dresses to look like a gown they could actually wear again!

For the guys, I selected ivory suit jackets with black slacks, bow ties, and vests. It just screamed old Hollywood to me!

For my bouquet, I attached small frames with pictures of loved ones we lost so they could be there in spirit. When I showed my Grandmother the image of my grandpa she started crying because she was so touched I included him. I loved being able to honor them without drawing a lot of attention.

My "something borrowed" was my sister's veil. It matched my dress perfectly.

For our first dance as husband and wife, we played You Are the Best Thing by Ray Lamontagne.

Three generations

I loved the saxophone player! He was such a hit!

Carlton's Cakes in Atlanta made this gorgeous masterpiece!

Some of the poetry I selected for my cake. I did a montage of different pieces from Fitzgerald.

Scariest moment of my life right here, folks. My husband wouldn't touch it because he thought he would tip it over!

Garrett's groomsmen playing for us while we cut the cake and did our toast!

Because we used a historic venue, several send-offs were off limits to use, including sparklers. Instead, I purchased dried rose petals on Etsy and used old sheet music wrapped into a cone to hold them. I love how the images turned out using the petals!

It's so fun to go down memory lane and look at images from the day I said yes to my soulmate. If you have any questions about where I purchased items, how to save money for your own wedding, or simply want to tell me what you think, please let me know in the comments!

Happy Valentine's Day!!

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