Prepare yourself, lovelies, there are cute details at every turn in these Nashville nuptials. But then again, expect nothing less when you have the bridal genius of planner Elizabeth James on your side, and a close friend like Muna Abboud (of Muna Couture) to custom make a perfect-looking Alençon lace wedding gown. There’s even more beauty to behold thanks Austin Gros’s favoring lens in the gallery here.
From the Bride… My husband Casey and I met in Nashville over six years ago, a few weeks before I was planning to move to New York City. Somehow that didn’t stop us and we dated long distance — with frequent trips between New York and Nashville — for almost three years before Casey (finally) made the move to New York City in 2010. He proposed on December 31st at The Ford Plantation outside of Savannah, Georgia, with my family waiting in the wings to celebrate.
Although we are based in NYC, Nashville will always hold a special place in our hearts. It’s where I was born and raised; where Casey bought his first house and laid down his roots; where our sweet dog Munson was born; where we first met ; and where we fell in love. Nashville is where our story began and we wanted the city to play a central role in our wedding day. We knew that we’d have a large number of out of town guests and our top priority was sharing the extraordinary city of Nashville – and all that it has to offer — with each of our guests. Simply put, we wanted everyone to walk away with a new found love and appreciation for Music City USA.
We included all out-of-town guests in the rehearsal dinner on Friday night, which was held at the Loveless Barn, a music venue that sits back behind the world-famous historic Loveless Café. We served a family style dinner of fried chicken, skillet corn, green beans and biscuits and hired a young, local bluegrass band The HogSlop String Band to provide the music. There were toasts and tears and lots of laughs. It was the perfect warm up for the big event on Saturday!
Casey and I both value tradition and family above all else and we wanted our wedding to reflect those sacred bonds (we also wanted to rip it up on the dance floor…but we’ll get to that later). We chose to be married at Westminster Presbyterian Church, which is where my parents were married in 1980 and my sister was married in October 2012.
It was important to me that I felt comfortable and like myself on my wedding day. With that in mind, I enlisted my talented friend and fellow Nashvillian, Muna Abboud, to create a Muna Couture original dress for me. The sleeveless gown made of Alençon lace was V-necked with a fitted bodice, soft flare at the bottom and cathedral train. My veil, also made by Muna, was bordered in the same Alençon lace. Tucked inside my dress was a piece of lace from Casey’s mother’s wedding dress from 1952. Casey’s mom was very special woman – she raised my husband to be a man of integrity and in the years that I knew her, she always treated me like one of her own daughters. She passed away two years ago from a rare lung disease and we miss her everyday. I wanted to have a piece of her with me as I said my vows to her son. It turns out that I didn’t need anything tangible to hold on to, we felt her presence gathered around us in sweet mystery throughout the entire ceremony. At the moment when we began saying our vows, a bright ray of sunshine shone through the windows of the sanctuary filling the room with an abundance of love. I know it was my new mother-in-law smiling down on us.
Casey, always the style hound, wore a bespoke tuxedo made by Bindle and Keep of New York City. My eight bridesmaids wore rose gold gowns by Joanna August, a talented designer who I later discovered is married to a work colleague of mine.
The reception was held at Belle Meade Country Club, a place where I have celebrated many happy occasions with my family – baptisms, birthdays, marriages and graduation celebrations. Casey and I both love being outdoors and we wanted the event to feel natural, green and lush. Garlands of magnolia at the entrance welcomed guests to the reception and the outdoor terrace was transformed into an intimate dance floor under the stars — alternating magnolia garlands with etched glass hurricanes and hanging lanterns all around.
Casey and I both love to cook and we spent quite a bit of time deciding on the menu, which ultimately included a roster of our favorite foods: heirloom tomato salad, smoked pork tenderloin and shrimp and grits. We planned a number of Southern touches for the reception, including a bacon and bourbon bar (which was a big hit among the NYC set). Late-night treats of cheeseburger sliders and house made potato chips made their way around the dance floor later.
The Atlanta All-Stars Band brought down the house with a set list filled exclusively with Casey and my favorite old-school 60’s and 70’s songs, kicking things off with a first dance to Van Morrison’s “Crazy Love” and ending with “September” by Earth, Wind and Fire. “Do you remember, the 21st night of September…” Needless to say, we danced the night away.
As with all special days, there were a few mishaps: the most memorable being when Casey’s best man, Bob, misplaced my wedding band and spent several minutes searching for it in the middle of the ceremony. Luckily, Casey happened to have a second, identical band hidden in his pocket that he was planning to give me as a wedding gift that we were able to use during the ceremony. And lucky for Bob, he ultimately found the missing ring post-ceremony (it had fallen into a hidden pocket of his tuxedo pants). Our minister admitted to us later that in his entire 25 years of marrying couples, he had never witnessed a ring gone missing during the ceremony. It was certainly a moment we will always remember with a smile!
Photography: Austin Gros | Event Planner: Elizabeth James | Flowers: The Tulip Tree | Wedding Dress: Muna Couture | Wedding Cake: Leland Riggins | Stationary: The Paper Place | Ceremony: Westminister Presbyterian Church | Reception: Belle Meade Country Club | Shoes: Stuart Weitzman | Makeup: Val Cole Of Daniel Cole Collection | Hair: Jordan Byers | Calligraphy: Val Cole | Band: Atlanta All Stars | Bluegrass Band: Hogslop String Band | Bridesmaid Dress: Joanna August | Rehearsal Dinner: Loveless Barn