Young love. It’s such a sweet thing. Especially for Erin and Barrett. On a summer evening in June 2012, these two celebrated their longtime love with a wedding full of Southern charm at Dunaway Gardens in Newnan, Georgia photographed by Whitney Huynh Photography. Originally they planned on a small intimate wedding, but they quickly realized they had too many friends and family to leave out, so a big wedding it was. The childhood sweethearts set out to break all traditional wedding rules and the outcome was gorgeous. Typically it’s my job to tell you all about the bride and groom & their wedding details when we post these sort of features, but I loved reading Erin’s interview so much that I think, I’m going to let her begin by telling you all how these school sweethearts met. It’s quite the cute story.
From Erin…..Barrett and I met at the young age of preschool. We grew up going to summer camp, and playing on the playground together. Somewhere in the midst growing up we found that our friendship started to blossom into something much more. On June 9, 2004 he kissed me at summer camp when we were thirteen. I knew from then on that Barrett would be the person I spent the rest of my life with. I can’t tell you exactly when I fell in love with him, but I will say that we grew in love together. The best part of our relationship is that Barrett and I are not the same people we were when we met. We have been blessed to have someone to grow and change with over the years, and our love for each other only increases as the years go by!
Can you give us an overview of the event?
The event all came together due to a big group of family and friends who decorated, assembled, cooked, curled hair, and played ceremony music. The weather was perfect. It was overcast which made for great pictures and bearable heat. The ceremony was beautiful in the light of the sunset. The site was full of blooming flowers and loving people coming together to witness something special in our lives. The food was casual and perfectly Southern. We danced the night away under white tents and string lights. Then all too soon our night was over and we ran through a sparkler send off into our new life as husband and wife.
Was there a specific theme or style?
Vintage Southern Wedding–We kept the scenery as natural as possible because the venue was so beautiful! For colors we didn’t have a specific scheme. We used any colors that would be found in nature–mostly greens, blues, and brown neutrals. Most of the decorations were antiques that came from all different family members.
What inspired the theme or style?
Our inspiration was a mixture of a few different elements. We wanted to take advantage of the natural beauty of the venue, and combine it with a Southern vintage style. Distressed wood, family heirlooms, blooming hydrangeas, and a collection of vintage China plates came together to inspire the style of our wedding.
What were your playful twists that made the event unique?
We fed all of our guests on 200 mismatched China plates that were all different prints, styles, and colors. The guests loved it, and it added a lot of color! We were able to make a roasted marshmallow station and our guests had a lot of fun with it once the sun went down. The favorite thing among our guests was Whitney’s photobooth set up. The wedding party had a lot of fun with it too! I don’t think many of my guests had been to a wedding with one of these before, but they had fun using the props and looking at the pictures after the event.
Did you DIY any of the details?
ALL of our details were DIY. The family really pulled together to make this event happen! I thought it might get too stressful, but we all had fun creating things together. The backdrop of the ceremony was completely created from scratch. Barrett and his friends built the wall, and I painted/distressed it. The antique stained glass windows came from his mother. I collected almost 100 different colored glass bottles to create our centerpieces. The candy buffet was designed using various antiques from Barrett’s mother’s house. Barrett’s mom collected 200 mismatched China dinner and dessert plates. She collected them from Goodwill, garage sales, and thrift stores for months!
Tell us about your wedding gown and what your bridal party wore.
My gown was a dream! It was made up with different fabrics and lots of texture/3D elements that made it really unique. I was looking for something that wasn’t traditional, but still made me feel like a princess! I loved my dress so much that I would wear it for hours in my apartment while my bridesmaids took turns wearing my veil. We are such little girls! For my bridesmaids–I love them dearly. I wanted to choose a color that looked best on them, and also fit the natural colored theme. I choose a jewel toned peacock blue color from David’s Bridal. I new that I wanted them to be mismatched because I wanted them to feel comfortable, and I wanted the style to reflect their personality. We had an exciting day of trying on dress after dress…again we are such little girls! For my guys–I went with a classic casual vintage look. I wanted to go non-traditional, so I opted out of tuxes. The groomsmen wore casual gray vests with silk black ties, and black pants and vintage black Oxford shoes. I wanted Barrett to contrast. He wore a black vest with a patterned gray/silver tie. We had 3 flower girls! One of the girls actually threw petals. One of them assisted a boy with a “Here Comes the Bride” sign. The last girl carried the train of my dress down the stairs and fluffed it at the bottom. I wanted them to be comfortable, but feel really special. They each had the same dress, but mismatched accessories. I bought them all headbands and necklaces that were unique to their own style. My bridesmaids had a field day fixing their hair up! We had 2 “ring bearers.” One of them actually carried the ring bearer pillow.The other boy assisted the flower girl with the “Here Comes the Bride” sign. They were wearing white shirts with black bow ties and suspenders. They had black pants and black “newsboy” hats.
What was the most memorable moment?
Barrett: Right before the ceremony began, I spent the entire day distracting myself with details that needed to get taken care of. Two hours before the ceremony, I had to start getting ready. My mind started freaking out! All the wedding jitters hit me with half an hour to the alter. My best friend and preacher tried to calm me down before we went to the ceremony site. My mind was racing on the weather, the wedding details, and everything! I stood through all of the wedding party coming down the isle. My nerves washed away when I saw Erin for the first time that day–in the most beautiful gown I have ever seen. That moment was the best feeling I have had in my life.
Erin: There was an hour left before I had to walk down the isle. I had been completely fine all day. No nerves or meltdowns. All the sudden I became extremely nervous, and all of my emotions of what was happening hit me at once. I could not stop crying. All of my brides maids circled around and held me. They cried with me and prayed around me to calm my nerves. At the top of the ceremony site I felt SO nervous! I could have passed out, thrown up, and cried at the same time! I descended down the isle trying to take in the moment, and then my eyes met his. All of the nerves were wiped away when I saw his face. I could tell he was holding back tears. My most memorable moment was seeing his face when I came down the isle.
Tell us about the food and desserts.
We had a Southern Barbecue dinner (Fresh-Air BBQ in Fayetteville, GA is a traditional family favorite for us). The side items included baked beans that my grandmother made from scratch (a secret family recipe). We also offered kettle cooked potato chips, and cole slaw. Our drinks included water, sweet tea (the Chick-fil-A my husband works at donated it), and lemonade made by hand by Barrett’s mother. In addition to the dinner we had a HUGE fruit display that the ladies from our church put together. Our cake was the bomb–3 tiers with chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry! Our cake was homemade by a woman in our church, and she decorated it perfectly! We also had some “just for fun” food that included a vintage themed candy bar and a roasted marshmallow station in an outdoor fireplace.
What kind of energy did your entertainment give the guests?
A FUN PARTY! When Barrett and I began planning we wanted to create an event that celebrated everyone who was a part of our relationship. We wanted a wedding that allowed the guests to mingle and enjoy a beautiful summer night! Our DJ (Black Tie Events in Atlanta, GA) really created a great atmosphere for our guests to have the best time!
If there was one thing you could change, what would it be?
We wished the reception could have gone on forever! It felt like it only lasted 5 minutes. We make jokes about wishing we were guests at the wedding so we could actually remember it! Otherwise we wouldn’t change a thing. The wedding was really a dream come true!
What was the best wedding advice you received?
Find someone to be in charge during the ceremony and reception. Make it someone you really trust with the overall wedding plans. We had a friend who coordinated the ceremony/wedding party and overall schedule of the day. We also had a friend coordinate everything having to do with the reception. If there was a problem or questions no one bothered us with them. It really allowed us to fully experience our day and relax!
Venue: Dunaway Gardens | Caterer: BBQ meat catered by Speedi-Pig BBQ in Fayetteville, GA | Photographer: Whitney Huynh Photography | Floral: Eve’s Flower Shop in Fairburn, GA | DJ: Black Tie Events | Stationary: Wedding Paper Divas | Wedding Dress: J. Andrew’s Bridal Shop | Hair and Make up: Athena’s Requium (Artist: Kari Hodges)