I used to be of the belief that ‘if you’ve seen one wedding you’ve seen them all’, but I assure you that is no longer the case. And after reading about Emily and Austen’s nuptials I am even more assured. While I don’t know the couple personally, I can see their love for one another transcend through the photographs. They created an event that showcased not only their love for each other in the vows tweaked to fit their story, but also their fun personalities with their recessional music being one of their favorite songs. That is what makes each and every wedding completely different than the one before…making it your own. No matter what you do with your wedding always stay true to yourself. See how this couple’s light shined through with photos by Atlanta based wedding photographer Tessa Marie Photography.
Tell us how you met.
Austen and I met through our church. We had known each other for a few years from a distance. He lead worship, and I was on the Guest Services team. I always thought he was really cute but way out of my league. In college, I spent a summer in Ireland, and I took a chance to message him about how much I liked his music in his band Ethos. From there, we started talking. Apparently he told his friends after our first date that he knew I was the girl he was going to marry. He didn’t know how, when or why, but he just knew. Our first date started normal, but then we took a little trip on a roof top and watched a beautiful lightning storm. Little did we know that conversation would change our lives. From there we started dating, fell in love, and became best friends.
Now for the proposal…details!
His proposal was perfect. In April of that year, we visited my family in Chicago, and he secretly asked my parents their permission to marry me. With their blessings and graces…they bought an incredible bottle of wine to celebrate! And I had absolutely no idea. For a few weeks, Austen carried around the engagement ring, waiting for the right moment to ask me. He had the ring custom made to something unique and genuine that fit my personality perfectly. On a random Friday, a dozen red roses were delivered to my office from my love. We had planned to go to dinner that night, and he chose the restaurant that we had our first dinner date. (I swear they cook their food with “love.”) We walked around the cute downtown area in Rome and viewed the sunset from the top of the city. We went down to the recreational fountain in the downtown area, where we had our first kiss, and we decided to run through the fountain. We’ve done that occasionally, but this time he picked me up to carry me through. I knew something was up! The only other time he had carried me through the fountain was our first kiss and the first time he told me he loved me. When we got to the other side, he got down on one knee…and I lost it. He said some beautiful things and asked me to marry him. It was intimate, private, special to us, and absolutely perfect. The most beautiful evening of my life.
Can you give us an overview of the event?
Our wedding day was at The Farm in Rome, Ga. I spent the night at a hotel in Rome, Ga and had breakfast with my cousins and aunts. It was very relaxed and enjoyable. I got to the venue around 11 and my bridesmaids were going to join around noon. Austen and his groomsmen were getting there around noon as well. We catered lunch and the girls and I got ready for a few hours, laughing, taking pictures, etc. We got ready in one of the cute cottages on the property tucked away in the pine trees and rustic fences. Austen and I decided to do our “First Look” photos prior to walking down the aisle. When we got engaged it was a very intimate and sentimental moment, just us. It seemed fitting that our “First Look” would be the same. It also allowed us to spend more of the day together and get some incredible photos by Tessa. After the “First Look “ we met up with our wedding parties for group photos. Our wedding party was so much fun, and the pictures are hilarious! The ceremony began at 5, it was very simple, vintage, rustic, and authentic. Our vows were modified and tweaked by us to fit our story a little more. We had communion with our parents and our wedding party prayed over us. Our reception followed, and the food was catered by one of our favorite Italian restaurants in Rome. It was exceptional! We had the first dances, dinner, dessert and dancing. Austen and I left after a few hours and started towards Atlanta.
Was there a specific theme or style? What inspired it?
Our wedding used colors of charcoal, lavender, wheat and burgundy/red as accent. We love the fall, but since we were getting married in April we wanted to make it as “autumn like” as we fashionably could. We used dried wheat grass, lavender, babies breath and red roses for our bouquets and aisle pieces. We used rustic branches and plants for our alter pieces, and our center pieces alternated between wheat grass, wine corks, wine bottles, etc. We used a lot of rustic and antique items as decorations. Our theme was simple, vintage, romantic and unique to us.
What were your playful twists that made the event unique?
Our playful twists were all the little “us” things we incorporated in it. Instead of a simple red or white wine, we chose the wines that we enjoy and served those. We love lavender and wheat grass, and the decorations in the wedding were similar to how we decorated our home. Our party favors were tea bags with the date and our names on it…we love tea. The music was a playlist that we created and the food was our absolute favorite foods. The music during the ceremony was instrumental and had cello, violin and guitar. Our recessional music was one of our favorite “poppy-goofy” songs…we made it us. We made it perfect to fit us, and were happy we could share that with everyone else.
Did you DIY any of the details?
We did all of the decorations ourselves; our bouquets were done by the florist, but decorations were all designed and put together by us. Austen and I are both pretty artistic people, and my mom used to be a florist. We did the center pieces, alter pieces, dance room decorations and rehearsal dinner decorations. Honestly, that was one of my favorite parts. I was so happy to put together all the decorations and make it come to life. It felt like we were serving our friends, and we absolutely loved that.
What was the most memorable moment?
The most memorable moment of the day was our “First Look” photo session. That moment when you first see each other, you lose your breath, your can’t stop smiling, your heart beats fast. There’s no one in the world but you two. We had so much fun during that session; just all full of nerves and laughter. We loved the photos Tessa took, and we were so glad we got to spend the majority of the day together. I’ll never forget those few hours of standing close to him, holding his hand, and smiling into his eyes.
Tell us about your wedding gown and what your wedding party wore.
My wedding gown was a Claire Pettibone gown. I got it at a small boutique in Atlanta, and it was the third dress I tried on. I was with my mom, and we both cried when I tried it on. I knew that I wanted my dress to be a symbol or adornment and beauty for my husband. I was his prize, his gift as my parents presented me to him as his life partner and best friend. I absolutely love the gown; it is so unique and vintage. The wedding party wore different shades of lavender and a chiffon material. I didn’t pick one style, I let the girls decide based on their body type. I wanted them to feel beautiful and comfortable in a dress that fit them. I got them burgundy earrings and necklaces and charcoal shoes. Everything came together and looked so elegant.
Tell us about the food and desserts.
The food was catered by Bella Roma, one of our favorite restaurants in Rome. They serve incredible Romanian and Italian food. We had salad, bread, a vegetarian pasta and lasagna. The wife of the owner made incredible desserts of baklava and cannolis. It was perfect pairing with the Italian wines on the table. Not only was the food phenomenal, but it meant so much to us that the owners of the restaurant were able to attend our special day, too and cater to all of our loved ones.
What kind of energy did your entertainment give the event?
We created our own playlist, and one of our friends who is a musician was our DJ. It was fun to have a personal friend in charge of the music.
What was the best wedding advice you received?
The best wedding advice I received was to soak up the engagement time. It goes by so quickly, and it can be easy to get sucked into planning, appointments, etc and forget to spend time with the person you love. Austen and I really tried to take advantage of the “courting and dating” during our engagement. I loved that.
If there was one thing you could change, what would it be?
Hire a day coordinator. We planned everything ourselves, and I wish we could have had a “go-to” person the day of the event. Everything was fine, it all turned out beautiful, but it would have been less stressful for a few people if there was someone else to carry that burden. It was necessary for us to have a full wedding planner for months prior, but hiring someone the day of the wedding would have been a wise investment.