Oh happy Friday to me — and YOU for that matter! — we have such. a. gorgeous. wedding. to serve up today! The pictures (shot by Bamber Photography) of Anne-Elizabeth and Brandon’s elegant Chattanooga wedding will likely send you into swoon-city-overdrive…and don’t even get me started on the completely adorable proposal! Anne-Elizabeth is a self professed history buff… not to worry Anne- Elizabeth, I can assure you that this wedding is one for the books!! The beautiful photos below were provided by Bamber Photography, a Chattanooga TN based photographer. Their stunning wedding venue Lookout Mountain Fairyland Club in Chatanooga TN almost (almost) stole the show
Don’t miss the full gallery below, too!
Can you give us an overview of the event? Our wedding was held at First Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Chattanooga, Tennessee. This church was extremely special to myself (Anne-Elizabeth) as I attended school directly across the street and spent many Christmas Eve Services at First Cumberland. We viewed our wedding as a spiritual ceremony where we were forming a union between ourselves and God. It was an incredibly special ceremony filled with scripture readings by the bride’s aunt, Dr. Lynn Kirkland, selected pieces by Organist Bruce Clark, and the precious bell children announcing the arrival of the bride with hand bells. The Reception was held at the Fairyland Club on Lookout Mountain, Georgia. The club boasts incredible stone architectural features and an entire wall of windows giving panoramic views of the Tennessee Valley. If I had to describe our reception in one word it would be “flowers.” My mother and I spent endless amounts of hours with Helen Johnson at Humphrey’s Flowers to craft our floral vision. Enormous clusters of white and green hydrangeas, roses, peonies and ranunculus rose from each table in alternative low and high arrangements. We incorporated flowers in every aspect from the mantle over the fireplace to the cake and foyer arrangements. The room was highlighted with gold and neutral hues in the Chivari chairs, china place settings and column lighting. The entertainment by the band, Anita, topped off the evening with a night full of dancing and celebrating.
Was there a specific theme or style? We sought to epitomize a classic and timeless style. The church is full of beautiful stained glass windows so I wanted to stick with a neutral palate that would stand out among the colorful windows. While there was no specific theme, our wedding sought to encompass sophistication and elegance.
What inspired the theme or style? I wanted our wedding to reflect our personalities and outlook on life. Brandon and I are people who value tradition and natural elegance. We loved the simplicity of neutral colors and wanted every element of our wedding to express a classic timeless attitude. It is our hope that our guests walked away from our wedding and thought, “that wedding had Anne and Brandon.’s names written all over it.”
What were your playful twists that made your event unique? Six of my cousins served as Bell Children at the ceremony. Right before I walked down the aisle, the barefoot children dressed in beautiful custom made outfits by the Lili Pad (Birmingham, AL) ran down the aisle ringing their hand bells and exclaiming, “the bride is coming!” Their entrance was adorable and one of the most talked about aspects of the wedding. We also wanted to provide a late night snack for our guests who worked up an appetite dancing, so we served Coca-Cola floats to everyone in authentic coke glasses. Chattanooga is home to the first Coke bottling plant in the world and Brandon and I are avid Coke lovers so offering Coke floats seemed like a fun idea. The Coke glasses also served as favors for the guests. Also, my mother and I cut out a piece of her wedding dress and had my new initials monogrammed on the fabric with light blue stitching. We had the piece of her dress sowed into the underskirt of my dress. This served as my something blue!
Did you DIY any of the details? I am not an extremely crafty person, but my mother and I decided to tackle a couple DIY projects. We decided to keep a wedding tradition that my parents began at their wedding. Every Christmas we place the bell shaped ornaments on our Christmas tree that were used at my parent’s wedding and read the wishes that each guests wrote to them. For our wedding, we ordered 250 Star ornaments that came in colors of red and blue. My mother and I spent days spray painting the stars and tying special cards on each ornament so every guests could write a wish and hang them on a tree at the wedding. Brandon and I had so much fun reading the wishes this past Christmas as we hung the star ornaments on our tree. We also decided to DIY the name cards. We ordered what seemed like a million gold plated frames and spent several nights before the wedding cutting and placing each name card inside the frame, which would also serve as a gift for the guests.
What was the most memorable moment? It sounds cliche, but my favorite moment was the when I heard the organ begin the first notes to Wagner’s “Bridal March,” the doors were opened and I could see Brandon standing at the end of the aisle. Everyone asked me if I saw them standing at the end of each pew or if I looked around to see my friends and family. I can honestly say that I never took my eyes off Brandon. In that moment he was the only person I saw and everyone else seemed to fade into the background. With my father on my arm and my soon to be husband with a huge grin at the end of the aisle, it created the most special moment of my life. In a way, our walk down the aisle symbolized the journey of our relationship. We had spent nearly three years living in separate states and dating long distance. Throughout that time we used the support of our families to help us stay strong until the next time we could see each other. Having my father walk to me to him one final time was a very special moment for all of us.
Tell us about the food and desserts: We are Southerners, therefore we wanted our menu decisions to reflect refined Southern dishes. Hors d’oeuvres consisted of tomato, mozzarella and basil pesto crostini, hummus and cucumber slices and raspberry and brie in puff pastry. A salad of baby lettuce, walnuts and gorgonzola with a balsamic vinaigrette. The main course featured a hickory style chicken served with roasted red pepper, three cheese macaroni, nuskies bacon and fresh steamed asparagus. The wedding cakes featured a layered white chocolate cake with homemade butter cream frosting and a layered double fudge chocolate cake with butter cream frosting. Authentic Coca-Cola floats served as a late night snack for our guests.
What kind of energy did you entertainment give the event? At the wedding ceremony, Amabile Strings of Chattanooga played a selected list of classical pieces chosen by the bride’s father for the prelude. The ceremony pieces were played on the organ by Bruce Clark. The organ seemed to echo throughout the entire church, creating a timeless and spiritual setting for everyone. We wanted our guests to have a truly unique and fun experience at the reception and we felt that live music was definitely the key to providing a good time. The band, Anita, from Atlanta, Georgia was incredible! They played everything from Motown oldies to current dance songs. One of the bride’s favorite moments was dancing on the stage alongside my bridesmaids Hope Shores, Maria Hoffman and Amy Littlejohn to Beyonce’s “Single Ladies.” With a lot of crowd interactions and several solos by the guests to Journey, we think everyone had a great time.
If there were one thing you could change, what would it be? Looking back, we probably would have started the wedding earlier in the evening and allowed for a larger amount of time between the wedding and reception. It is difficult because you want allow the photographers enough time to get the special pictures of your groom and yourself, but you also want to get to the party and celebrate with your friends and family.
Tell us how you met! Brandon and I met on a Spring Break trip to Clearwater Beach, FL. We were visiting the beach with our sorority and fraternity friends and were briefly introduced. I remember passing a football with him a couple times on the beach, but that was the extent of our interaction. Several weeks later we ran into each other again during finals week at IHOP. I was finished with finals and just visiting with friends when I spotted Brandon studying for his Business final. We ended talking all night while Brandon accomplished very little studying. He invited me to a bonfire and fireworks show (bought with the money earned from selling back his textbooks) at his house the next evening where he ended up asking for my number. We spent the whole month of May going on “friendly” dates playing basketball, visiting the Tennessee Aquarium and having long talks in downtown Chattanooga. As summer began we went out separate ways while Brandon spent his summer at an internship in Miami and I worked in Chattanooga. When school began in August we began spending more time together at intramural softball games where he actually cheered against my team, which he claims was a flirting tactic. Slowly flirting turned into dating and we finally had our first kiss on a camping trip.
Now for the proposal! Brandon proposed to me on December 30, 2009 in Washington D.C. We were visiting his friends and we decided to explore the city to celebrate the recent engagement of our friends Wes and Erika. It was a bitter cold night, but they convinced us to visit the Jefferson Memorial because that is where Wes and Erika had their first kiss (which was a ruse to get me to the Memorial.) Now for some background information, I am a total history buff and Thomas Jefferson is my favorite president. Brandon knew the Jefferson Memorial was special to me as my father and I had visited and had long talks on the steps of the Memorial overlooking the city. As we reached the steps of the Memorial, Brandon pulled me aside and asked me to watch a video on his IPOD. The video showed the journey of our relationship through our favorite pictures and songs. As the video ended, Brandon dropped to one knee and asked me to marry him. It was the most romantic moment of my life! After saying “Yes!” he whisked me off to dinner at Martin’s Tavern in Georgetown. As we sat down at our table he told me the significance of this restaurant and table. We were actually sitting at the exact table where John F. Kennedy proposed to Jacqueline Kennedy and where the Supreme Court Justices discussed their decision in the landmark case Brown vs. the Board of Education. It meant so much that he included my love for family, history and government in our proposal! Outside of our wedding, It was the most special evening of my life.
What are the honeymoon plans? For our Honeymoon we traveled to the island of Anguilla in the Caribbean and stayed at the beautiful Viceroy Resort. We had an incredible honeymoon with excellent weather and countless beaches with crystal blue water. We loved exploring the island to visit local restaurants and world renowned beaches.