Ahhh, Savannah. The epitome of what the south truly represents. Relaxing, charming, historical…just a quintessentially southern city. And for southern girl, Kelli, it was the perfect place for her destination wedding. Kelli and Michael exchanged vows at Forsyth Park and guests were then transported to a delightful reception soiree at the The Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa via trolley. So hop on, grab a seat and take a trip to ‘The Hostess City of the South’ with photos by Atlanta based wedding photographer, Alternative Life Photography.
Tell us how you met…
I first met Michael at a fraternity party at The University of Mississippi. I immediately was attracted to his ridiculously handsome smile and charming charisma. After a few dates I knew there was something different about him and that I would marry him.
Now for the proposal… details!
I am a huge Disney fan so for my birthday we decided to go to Disney World. Right before the parks closed we decided to make a park change and go to Magic Kingdom. We got there just in time for the fireworks at Cinderella’s castle. As the fireworks were going off I looked over at Michael and he had dropped on one knee. I immediately start crying and he grabbed my hand in front of quite the crowd and said, “Will you marry me.” Of course I said yes and the crowd gathered round us erupted in cheers.
We want to know about all the wedding details, was it small and intimate or big and traditional?
We had a medium sized destination wedding. Our wedding was held in Forsyth Park and officiated by my uncle Reverend, Sammy Sawyer. The ceremony had our own touches all throughout. From my walking down the aisle to the Tennessee Waltz to our good college friend singing In Christ Alone, everything was meticulously chosen to represent us and yell our love story. All of our close family and friends were there to be a part of it all which meant so much to us. It was absolutely perfect.
Tell us about your wedding gown and what your bridal party wore.
I was lucky to be featured on Say Yes to the Dress Atlanta. It is something I will be able to look back on for years to come. When looking for a gown I wanted something timeless, sophisticated, and southern and I believe my dress incorporated all three of those characteristics. I absolutely loved my lace Romona Keveza legends gown. It is unique and has that Grace Kelly feel that stands the test of time. I paired a glittery pair of Jimmy Choos and a beautiful rose amethyst Tacori necklace and earrings to complete my look. My bridesmaids wore a strapless BCBG dress that was soft and romantic in a lovely taupe color that went very well with the blush tones and southern feel. The groomsmen wore khaki suits, with a blush tie, and a DIY raw cotton boutonniere.
Can you give us an overview of the event?
The wedding was held in the beautiful Forsyth Park in Savannah, Georgia. After the ceremony the guests were transported by trolleys to the Savannah Westin Harbor Resort where cocktails and a formal dinner was served. After dessert and plenty of dancing, the evening ended with fireworks on the harbor. Michael and I took full advantage of our venue and were sent off with a sparkling farewell where we made our getaway on the river. With that we sailed away to the cheers of our guests and a champagne toast.
Was there a specific theme or style?
What inspired the theme or style?
Michael is Canadian by birth and most of his family still lives in Saskatchewan. We both wanted to have a destination wedding somewhere that would truly exemplify the South, where we fell in love. Savannah with it’s history and old southern charm proved to be the perfect venue for our romantic southern soiree.
What were your playful twists that made the event unique?
We really made the ceremony our own. I am from East Tennessee and love everything about the rural Appalachian community where I grew up, so it was only fitting that I walk down the aisle to the Tennessee Waltz, my state song. I have a very close family and my uncle, who was my dad’s best man 25 years ago, was able to marry us which was very special to me. We also were able to include our sweet Labrador Retriever as our ring bearer. Michael and I were both Ole Miss alumni. When we made our grand entrance into the reception “From Dixie with Love” was played loud and proud.
What was the most memorable moment?
I am the biggest sap ever and knew from the beginning that I was going to be that bride who cried the entire time. As my dad started walking me down the aisle I could feel the happy tears coming on. I was saying the alphabet and trying to do anything I could possibly do to keep from “ugly crying”. When I took Michael’s hands our adorable labrador retriever, Tucker, started whining because he was not right by our side. Michael and I started laughing so hard and I was able to keep from crying.
Tell us about the food and desserts.
During cocktail hour we kept in line with the southern theme serving bbq chicken on a cheddar biscuit and buttermilk fried chicken bites. For dinner our guests had the choice of a roasted chicken, scottish salmon, or peppercorn crusted filet. My beautiful bridal cake was inspired by Cotton & Crumbs in the UK. Custom Cakes by Minette did a fabulous job of giving my cupcakes an elegant feel with it’s tiers of red velvet cake with cream cheese filling and vanilla pound cake with strawberries and cream mouse. Michael is an avid golfer and a die hard Ole Miss Rebel. His two favorite things were combined to make a perfect chocolate cake with cookies and cream mousse.
What kind of energy did your entertainment give the guests?
The Heather Hayes band was absolutely fantastic. My words really cannot do them justice. They played everything from the Temptations to Rihanna. Everyone was up and on the dance floor. We also chose to have a photo booth by Dollface, which was a fantastic idea. We now have goofy pictures of every person that attended our wedding in an album that we will laugh at for many years to come. The pictures got more hysterical and goofy as the night went on.
If there was one thing you could change, what would it be?
If I could change one thing I think I would have relaxed and really took in the day a bit more. It all went by so fast.
What was the best wedding advice you received?
Have a day of coordinator! On your big day you do not want to be bothered with the small things. It goes by very fast so take in every moment and be lighthearted. Things will go wrong but at the end of the day you are still married to your best friend.
Venue and Catering: The Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa | Photographer: Alternative Life Photography | Flowers: Harvey Designs | Cake: Custom Cakes by Minette | Photobooth: Dollface photobooth | Dress and Tuxedos: Bridals by Lori | Hair & Make up: Park West Salon | Videography: Robert Charles Wedding Films | Band: The Heather Hayes Experience