Hannah and Thomas had a traditional chapel wedding with a back lit stain glassed window illuminating the scene. Their reception may have been held at a golf course clubhouse, but the venue was transformed into a elegant summer evening with intricate centerpieces of natural foliage and flowers adorning each table, and french doors opened to a surrounding patio by the end of the night. Enjoy this midsummer’s night dream with Kate Danielle Photography.
Tell us how you met…
Honestly, we first met at a bar in Athens, Ga – on one weekend in September of 2007, when we were both attending the University of Georgia. He got my number, then while I was bored in class, I decided to read old messages before I deleted them. I realized he had text me several times wanting to meet up again. I thought -what the heck, Ill just text him back to flirt and see if he remembers me..and he did! He remembered my name, when I didn’t remember his. He and I met up back at the bar we had met, but this time at happy hour-not late night like before, and made plans to have a date. The bar was Cutters, and the first date was at The Melting Point winery, both in Athens, Ga. Our first kiss was in very back of a cab, right before it dropped me off at home the night we went out after our first date. We were crazy, it was so fun, I love you came after about three or four months, we are a thing about the same time. We’ve had ups and downs in our relationship but love wins, but we are buddies.
Now for the proposal… details!
At sunset (well a bit after bc I took too long getting ready, but I didn’t know) in a park with a lake in the middle Lake Eola–downtown Orlando, Fl. We stayed in The Peabody Hotel (I highly recommend!) right outside downtown Orlando-we got lucky with a high level corner unit that has floor to ceiling windows across two walls. That night he was acting odd. It was a nice night.. He tried to confuse me by saying we were walking to the restaurant but really we were walking to the park- it was special because it was a park we had visited on a great trip we had gone on before.- we had loved the great sunset. That night, it was after dark when we got there, but it didn’t matter to me!– He put it on the wrong hand – hehe- I’m glad though-if he was too cool and calm that would be weird! Then we had dinner at a Sushi place nearby (sushi is my favorite). Downtown Orlando is really romantic, it has brick and stone streets and beautiful moss covered trees. He had four dozen roses in the room when we got back, with rose pedals everywhere- he did a great job!
We want to know about all the wedding details, was it small and intimate or big and traditional?
It was medium to large, about 170-180 people. It was traditional. We were married at the chapel, followed by pictures outside (while parents received guests in the foyer) then family pictures in the chapel while guests migrated about 15-25 minutes away to the clubhouse where they had a cocktail hour and hors d’eurves in the front foyer (where a piano player played for one hour on the piano they had at the club – we just had to make sure the piano was tuned), by the bar with hightops, and outside on the back patio where there were tables also. (the dinning room and the side covered terrace where the dance floor was – was blocked off or closed off with curtains so that things were “revealed” as the night went on- until eventually all areas were open). We had introductions, my 89 year old grandfather said the blessing, toasts, then the dance floor was opened with first dance, father daughter, etc. (there was also a bar out there). cutting of the cake, flower toss was on our way out on the front foyer staircase -then we departed out the front in a nice town car to the hotel by the airport with early flight to St. Lucia for 6 days.
Tell us about your wedding gown and what your bridal party wore.
My dress was a Pronovias dress. I wanted a lot of lace, it was perfect for me. The girls wore pale yellow chiffon gowns that were long with a train, we all used french bustles (kudos to my seamstress- and those who used seamstresses elsewhere). The guys had the standard tux (made it easy for them) with champagne vests. The bridesmaids all wore the same sandals, that were pretty with a small wedge that was comfortable- to keep costs reasonable for the bridesmaids I budgeted their sandals in so they would not have to purchase those. I bought extra material and we had the bridesmaids have their seamstresses to add straps to the dress. I had a sash made by my seamstress, with a bow and purchased a perfect broach (with the help of a bridals by Lori’s associate) to have them put in the middle of the bow. Oh! also my sister, my only sister and best MOH ever! (Thats another story! epic bridal shower and bachlorette!!- not to mention she got me on Say Yes to the Dress Atl- that actually aired late last year!) looked amazing in a ivory (my dress was ivory also) chiffon dress that was strapless, a different designer even than the other girls gowns but all complimented. She looked so great.
Can you give us an overview of the event?
In short, it was traditional, formal – 30 minute ceremony at my church with a reception at my parents country club, in late summer. It had great food, open bar, fun dancing, and laid back atmosphere with elegant decor at the reception. I had a blast.
Was there a specific theme or style?
There was no specific theme. I just knew what I wanted. I have a degree in Interior Design and as well as Art and Art History. While the aesthetics of the event were important to me, I did not use an overarching theme to go by, rather feelings I wanted to evoke. I wanted my wedding to beautiful, since I believe the gift of marriage, the union of two individuals coming together by love, commitment, and faith, is such a blessing from God. I strived to maintain the fine line between visually pleasing and overly extravagant which can sometimes become overwhelming to guests and a bit showy. I achieved this by doing almost all the décor with only flower arrangements, and while there was an abundance of them, I chose flowers, with the help of my florist, that were inexpensive and natural. I wanted a lot of greenery. I wanted a natural look, since it was late summer.
What were your playful twists that made the event unique?
I think one playful twist was that we kept the French doors closed and window dressings drawn in the dining room until it was time to eat, and then did the same for the doors that opened out onto the patio until it was time to go dance. It was a fun way to reveal the areas and a practical way to let guests know when it was time to things. I put together a slide show of picture of us growing up, and my uncle Otto helped me, day of, to set it up so that it would play on the flat screen that the club has next to the bar.
Did you DIY any of the details?
Yes where to start. I planned the wedding- but my Mom, sister/ MOH, and many others helped bring it all together. It was fun to work with all the vendors. they all did such an amazing job. I don’t think planning a wedding is for everyone though, it should be fun almost the whole time, if not I’d hire a planner- but for me, I’m easy going and not a control freak- I did the best I could to express to the vendors what I wanted, and let them do their jobs. Its also important to keep spreadsheets and on top of everything. Doing crafty detail was just something I did b/c I am an Artsy person. We ordered cocktail napkins with one of our engagement photos on it and the wedding date, and set those at the bars. My wedding invitations were made by me, with graphic design by my close friend Elaine Oye. I wanted my save the dates to be in my grandmother’s handwriting, who had just recently passed (Ida Mae Phair). Elaine was able to replicate her handwriting using things letters she had written, she had nice script. Based off ideas we tossed around, Elaine created a beautiful design for the border as well. As for the invites, I had the idea to do iron gates that opened with the wedding information behind them. I chose a gate I had in a book I have. Elaine redrew the gate and formatted everything in Photoshop so that I had to do was take the file on a flash drive to staples and print them. I used card stock from the store in a nice off white color. The task after that was cutting and folding each one so they would open like I wanted them to. That was painstaking but I am glad I did it because the turned out so nice. I used a tool from Michaels that is part of the Martha steward collection, which helps to score and cut stationary. Elaine also helped me hand address each one. For the table numbers, I framed alphabetical lists. I printed the lists myself, as well as painted 4 dollar wooden frames with 2 or 3, 89 cent paints I got the craft store. We had bubbles purchased from Michaels for cheap, and I adorned the tops of them with stick on bling and tied ribbon to them to give them a fun touch. We also had wedding bells, those were inexpensive as well. It was nice to give people a choice. We set the bells and bubbles out in pretty glass bowls for people to grab while we were on our way out. I set out a black rod iron bird cage I had gotten years back at pier one, using it for people to slide their cards into on the gift table. We adorned it with a big bow on top.
What was the most memorable moment?
The whole day was memorable! Of course saying I do. We did not write vows. Two funny things, My flower girl throw her flowers, and I almost forgot mine. My dad was like “where is your flowers?” luckily the dressing room was right outside the chapel doors so I grabbed it without anyone noticing. And although my flower girl Claire Meeks, did not throw any pedals, it made a sweet memory and I was so proud of her going down that isle at just four years old! I had 26 year old bridesmaids who were terrified! Also, I would note my grandfathers blessing at dinner, and my wonderful wonderful florist bringing my bouquet which was AMAZING and seeing all she created surpassing any of my visions an wonderfully done! A true professional, expert and artist! I am so thankful for her!
Tell us about the food and desserts.
My day of coordinator and close friend to my sister, Ashley Strahan, was provided lovey food trays and beverages to the entire bridal party, bridesmaids and groomsmen, in the rooms while we were getting ready. The next food came for the guests as they arrived to the club for cocktail hour. My dad helped me choose all the food. We decided to do passed hors d’oeuvre, which were chicken wellington bites, and marinated shrimp brochettes. Then we had a plate of imported and domestic cheeses with crackers and a fruit plate melon at bar and also station with creamy spinach and artichoke dip with cracker bread. We also decided to have the servers pass glasses of wine so guests did not have to line up at the bar. For dinner, the club servers brought out salads and warm rolls. Then guests had a choice that they had previously requested in their rsvp cards for one of three entrees. The entrees were Mustard crusted pork tenderloin with potato croquette and sautéed spinach, pan seared halibut on sweet corn risotto with citrus butter sauce, or boursin herb stuffed portabella with balsamic syrup served with roasted potatoes and seasoned vegetables. It was all delicious! We cut costs by not offering champagne when toasting, only our table had some, which was a special bottle Thomas’s dad had been saving, but do not think anyone noticed or cared because it was an open bar and everyone had a drink of their choice anyway. The club also provided a coffee station and tea and water station For dessert we had cake, and lots of it! Thomas and I are not into sweets, and I did not want to spend a lot of money on the cake so I left it up to my Mom and Dad, which was a great idea because they did a lot more than I would have! They decided to use two bakeries, one for the main cake (Rhode Bakery in Roswell) and another (Alpine Bakery) for 6 side cakes of different flavors. The main cake was pound cake, and when my Mom asked how I wanted it decorated I said a Wedgwood type design would be great- and although it turned out a few shades lighter than a pastel that Wedgwood would use (was hoping for something closer to the butter yellow of the bridesmaids dresses) it was still great because it added a pop of color to set it apart from the other cakes, not to mention the design was beautiful!
What kind of energy did your entertainment give the guests?
The ceremony was played by one of Thomas’s best friends, Robert Sharpe, a world renowned classical gutarist who studied and Yale University. Thomas was proud of his friends accomplishments and we were honored to have him at the wedding. That was peaceful energy. The cocktail hour had a pianist for a hour, she played jazzy tunes. Then we had a DJ outside on the dance floor after dinner. He provided great lighting and the music was not too loud. He played great dance music as well as mixed his own beats for transitions. He also played upbeat classics but nothing too cheesy.
If there was one thing you could change, what would it be?
Honestly nothing really. There were a few mishaps I noticed, like Thomas’s nephew got ill but that was nothing that could be foreseen. My advice to brides to be is that they should do everything they can to make the day great, but in the end, you can’t help things from happening that weren’t foreseen or could have been prevented. And when it comes to making decisions remember that, while it is your day, with all the decisions to be made, its okay to let others make some of them, especially those who it means so much to, those who are involved and helping out so much like your mother, sisters, brothers, fathers, and future in-laws. My dad chose the club and food, my mom helped with everything, including decoration of the entire outdoor area, they both helped with food choices. My sister helped with bridesmaids dresses and planning, my mother and father in law arranged the rehearsal dinner, it was fabulous, my sister in law helped with fashion decisions., the list goes on. So while it is your day and you are the ring leader, it is so nice to have everyone feel included.
Ceremony Venue: Perimeter Church | Reception Venue: Alpharetta Athletic Club | Photographer: Kate Danielle Photography | Floral: Floristque | Linens: Cover Ups | Rentals: The Rental Place | DJ: Fonix Entertainment | Pianist: Diana Pand, Pianist for All Occasions | Bride’s Dress: Bride Beautiful | Bridesmaid’s Dresses: Bridals by Lori | Cakes: Alpine Bakery and Trattoria, Rhodes Family Bakery | Transportation: Hennessy Transportation