Intimate and rustic. Elegant and pure. The wedding festivities of Jessica and Doug took place at Georgia wedding venue The Ritz-Carlton Lodge at Reynolds Plantation, a private affair for them and their very closest family and friends. They spoke their vows atop the deck of a boathouse beside the pristine Lake Oconee, the quiet March landscape of the plantation a breathtaking backdrop for romance. Even their beloved miniature Chihuahua got in on the big day as the flower girl in her own personal wedding garb. Dinner and dancing, music provided by the skilled DJ Joshua Bagley, followed inside Sandy Creek Barn, the rustic wooden space decked in a sweet palette of wistful, muted tones of ivory and peach flowers. Delightful fare included steak and chicken and fish alongside mouthwatering vegetables and an array of gourmet sides. The strawberry champagne sponge cake boasted elegant vanilla frosting and a crown of three pale blooms. The night was one to remember, the newlyweds lost in the moment on the eve of happily-ever-after. A second celebration took place soon after, equally as lovely, with even more family and friends to share in the love. We sat down with The Ritz’s area communications manager Julie Rollend for a deeper look at this gorgeous event. Photos by South Carolina wedding photographer Ashley Seawell Photography!
Please give us an overview of the event.
The week started with fun outing events for the gentlemen, including golf and relaxing days at The Spa for the ladies.
The wedding was held at our beautiful Sandy Creek Barn on Saturday, March 15, 2014. It was an overcast but beautiful day – perfect for photos! The day started early for the ladies at the spa with hair and make-up, while the gentlemen relaxed at Gaby’s By The Lake for lunch. But no worries, the ladies enjoyed lunch and champagne in the spa while the artists went to work making them look beautiful! All the ladies wore men’s button-up shirts with their monogram, a gift from the Bride!
The wedding party was off to the barn by mid-day with guests right behind them. The ceremony was held on the top floor of our open-aired boat house – the perfect size wedding for this location! The harpist was phenomenal and set the mood for the Bride’s precession.
The cocktail reception was held on the terrace at the barn. A beautiful stone terrace overlooking the lake with a warm fire to keep the chill away.
The dinner reception was held inside The Sandy Creek Barn. The barn is beautiful in its own skin but once Kent Duffey, the hotel’s preferred florist and decorator puts him touches to the barn, it is breath-taking! Accents of silver, blush, ivory and green with a rustic Farm Table and X-Back Chair combination filled the barn with beauty. An abundance of candle light filled the room.
The Bride’s furry friend even joined the party, but the pup was taken back to the hotel for a good night sleep before the dancing begun!
Filet, New York Strip, Peach Bourbon Glazed Pork Medallions, Glazed Swordfish, Atlantic Salmon and more filled every belly in the room!
The dancing continued until The Ritz-Carlton’s signature cake flavor, Ritz Champagne Sponge Cake, with Tahitian Vanilla Filling and Fresh Strawberries was served!
The garter was shot from the second floor of the barn – a fun twist!
Overall, an evening filled with laughter, dancing and most importantly love.
What goes into the planning process for a venue before a wedding/reception?
My first recommendation was Sandy Creek Barn, since Jessica and Doug are avid horse lovers and are both Advanced Eventers. They knew right away the Barn was the perfect location and Jessica and Doug would be in love as well. Shortly after their visit, they confirmed their wedding day with us and began planning with Ashley.
The Bride and Groom are invited out to the property to meet their personal Event Manager. A time to get to know one another, discuss the bride’s vision, walk the event space and introduce the on-side florist and decorator, Kent Duffey. The Bride is encouraged to send photos that inspire her and any ideas she may have over the next few months.
They are then invited to the property again for floral presentation and a food/beverage tasting (this tends to be the groom’s favorite part)! The floral presentation with Kent Duffey is over the top! A room filled with table, chairs, linen, candlelight, floral and more! An opportunity for the bride and groom to really get a feel for the wedding day. This meeting allows the couple to express what they love, what they want to change, what they want to add. After the floral presentation a tasting is held. A meal that is filled with wine, canapés, hors d’Oeuvres, salads, entrees, desserts, cake – cake – and more cake!
The Bride and Groom are encouraged and welcome to call the Event Manager at any time to review the wedding or discuss details throughout the planning phase.
Tell us a highlight about the collaboration of the vendor team.
The Ritz-Carlton Lodge, Reynolds Plantation offers everything for the perfect wedding! The Event Manager can provide floral, décor, linen, entertainment, rentals, lighting, draping and more. They can offer recommendations for photographers that are familiar with the property, videographers, officiates, wedding planners, tuxedo rental, wedding amenities, invitations/paper goods and more!
The Ritz-Carlton Lodge has a great relationship with all their vendors and are able to collaborate with vendors on arrival time, set-up, tear down, meals and more. This allows the Bride & Groom to relax and worry about the guest list!
What challenges, if any, happened while preparing for the event?
None – great couple, wonderful and appreciate guests, a beautiful (and attainable) vision!
What takeaways, if any, did you have from the event?
It is important to work with the couple to personalize the event to reflect their personalities. In this case, the Barn was the perfect location for Olympic Equestrian Riders.