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Chic and Modern Surprise Wedding

There is nothing quite as exciting or fabulous as a surprise wedding. And this version crafted by Ashley Baber Weddings (in one month!) takes the ease of a fabulous dinner party and mixes in the best parts of a wedding – the love, the family, the ceremony – in such an intimate and unexpected way. The images by Harwell Photography speak volumes for just how magical this day must have been. See it all right here.

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From The Bride… Earl and I knew each other in passing in college, but did not travel in the same social or academic circles. In fact, I distinctly recall having the impression that he didn’t seem to like me very much at all. Life found us in various different cities and coasts, but with one very dear friend in common with whom I traded texts every morning. She mentioned him in passing from time to time and I thought nothing of it ­ well apart from believing he didn’t like me very much (he looked at me in a strange way!). And then one night I had a dream that Earl and I were together at an outdoor event and that he was my husband. Of course, I mentioned the dream in my morning text, as it seemed so completely bizarre. After all, I hadn’t seen or really thought about Earl in over 16 years, when we bumped into one another by chance on a crowded New York City street. Her response? “Weird. I’m on the phone with him right now. Will call in a few.” And with that, an idea germinated. She would later say that she didn’t know why she hadn’t thought of orchestrating the match sooner. It seems I misinterpreted the nature of those strange looks and after trading emails and telephone calls, he flew to Los Angeles for our first date. Before our second date, he told me he thought we should marry. Eight months later, we secretly married in a courthouse ceremony in Santa Barbara, California with my best friend and my father in attendance on what would have been my grandparents’ 70th wedding anniversary. Five days later, I moved to Atlanta to join Earl and begin our life together.

I’ve never been a wedding person, but having an actual wedding was important to Earl so we compromised, agreeing upon a short invitation list, a great dinner party and fabulous food and wine. As I began thinking through our wants and must­haves, it occurred to me that we might avoid some of the traditional wedding stressors, by planning a surprise wedding. Earl was game. We had settled on Quinones at Bacchanalia for our dinner venue and I had fallen in love with and ordered Monique Lhuillier’s Candy in blush prior to my move from Los Angeles. A friend connected me to the brilliant Tifany Wunschl of Gourmet Invitations who designed our invitations and related stationery. She is a master at drawing from you what you really want and integrating the competing tastes and styles of opinionated brides and grooms. We received countless compliments on our invitations, which matched the blush color of my dress and informed the color palette for the evening.

A dinner party/wedding for thirty should be an easy enough event to plan in a new city right? As it happens, not so much. A month before the event (yes, a month!) I engaged the unparalleled and unflappable Ashley Baber of Ashley Baber Weddings to coordinate our Engagement
Dinner Surprise Wedding. She connected me to the remainder of my dream team of creatives, notably the incomparable Scoobie West for hair and makeup, the inspired Jeremy Harwell, for photography, Eva Behrendt who expertly designed our tablescapes and candlelit altar and Ed Wilson who partnered with us to craft and deliver a personalized marriage ceremony, perfect for us.

On March 16, 2013, we gathered in the restaurant’s outdoor courtyard with our closest friends and family for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, enjoying the unexpectedly mild weather. At the appointed hour I slipped away to change into my wedding dress while our guests were welcomed into the dining room, then utterly transformed by Eva Behrendt’s team in mercury glass, candlelight, peonies and English roses. At each place setting, atop the menu card laid a program card, which began: Welcome to Tanya and Earl’s Engagement Dinner Surprise Wedding! (wording suggested by Tifany Wunschl – see! I told you she’s brilliant!). From our respective locations, Earl and I had the delicious thrill of listening to the emotional gasps of wonder and tears of joy as guests realized they were actually attending our wedding. The music began and we were married in candlelight in front of the people that we most loved amidst the sobs and raw emotion that surprise weddings evoke because no one is prepared – everyone is in the moment!

What followed was a glorious evening of exceptional food, wine, and first-rate yet unpretentious service by the acclaimed Quinones at Bacchanalia against the backdrop of a playlist of songs 
we loved. There were so many highlights but our favorite moment was when our guests spontaneously began singing along to Larry Graham’s, One in a Million together. As each person realized that the others were singing as well, the singing grew louder. It was a beautiful, impromptu and unifying moment during which Earl and I knew that, with the help of a great team, we had achieved what we had hoped for –­ a seamlessly executed evening that was
elegant and warm without the stuffiness and false formality we abhor. A year later, I am typing this narrative with one hand because I’m holding our newborn in my other arm. Some dreams do come true…

Photography: Harwell Photography | Event Planning: Ashley Baber Weddings | Invitations: Gourmet Invitations | Reception Venue: Quinones

Gourmet Invitations and Harwell Photography are members of our Little Black Book. Find out how members are chosen by visiting our FAQ page.
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Romantic Atlanta Wedding Film

This wedding is just oozing with sophistication. Not only did they ace the wardrobe with the bride’s lace Allure gown and the groom’s finely tailored Vera Wang Tuxedo, but they even took pictures on a helipad. It doesn’t get more extravagant than that. There to capture all the classy splendor were our friends White Dress Media with the heartfelt video below. Enjoy!

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From White Dress MediaJordan and Katie are our dream couple! They are madly in love with each other, and know how to gave a great time. Not only that, but their wedding film was super important to them, as they are both very creative people… he is a video hobbyist and she is a photographer.

Their wedding took place in downtown Atlanta, with the ceremony at Cathedral of Christ the King and reception at the Georgia Freight Room. In between the ceremony and reception, they took the time to go back to the W downtown (where she was getting ready) and take pictures on the helipad. The view was stunning, though it was an incredibly windy day!

Their reception was at an urban, yet trendy area of downtown. She surprised her guests during the first dance with a gospel choir and a choreographed dance. Everything Jordan and Katie did that day incorporated fun, love and laughter. She even “Iced” Jordan during the garter retrieval… I believe it’s a game where you have to chug the drink presented to you if you don’t already have a drink in your hand.

I can only hope to have more couples like this one. They are super classy and the life of the party.

Photography: Anna And Spencer Photography | Cinematography: White Dress Media | Event Planning: Atlanta Event Studio | Wedding Dress: Allure | Reception Venue: Georgia Freight Room | Hair And Makeup: Artistry By MJS | Band: Party Nation | Tuxes: Vera Wang | Church: Cathedral Of Christ The King | Hotel: W Hotel Downtown Atlanta

White Dress Media is a member of our Little Black Book. Find out how members are chosen by visiting our FAQ page.
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Classic and Romantic Wedding Film

There’s a spark between some couples that’s impossible not to notice when you’re around them, or in this case, watching their wedding video. This video really is an inspiring ode to the love these two people share, so sit back and enjoy 3Ring Weddings handy work. The event came together with the help of B Moore Events, and there’s also a lovely little photo gallery with shots from Lacey For Scobey Photography.

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From 3Ring Weddings… Some couples shine, some radiate, and some, like Kofi and Candace, reflect.

When I say reflect I’m not just talking about a sort of introspective posture (although that is very much a part of Kofi and Candace’s life as well). Rather, I’m talking about their ability to reflect good on the other. Kofi and Candace are opposites in many ways. He’s more “A-Type” and she is more “free spirited”. The good that comes from these differences reflects on to the other and makes growth and mutual encouragement possible. Candace backed this up when she remarked; “He’s able to, in a loving and gentle way, focus me in on that potential and then we’re both amazed at the outcome.” Kofi likewise benefits from Candace’s differences. “She lifts me, she encourages me, she supports me and she stands by my side. That support and that encouragement is unbelievable.”

Their goodness certainly has helped each other, but their sense of good doesn’t come merely from the other, it comes as a reflection of their faith – their definition of goodness. Kofi shared; “I think it’s an awesome opportunity being together just to really reflect the glory of God in life all around us, in people’s lives all around us.”

When we release their story we’ll share more about the importance of agreeing on a source for goodness and reflecting that truth onto your spouse. For now we hope you enjoy their trailer. You’ll get to see snippets from their late April wedding that took place at The Foundry and was beautifully executed by Shaundra Moore of B. Moore Events. And I don’t want to forget the shout out to Scobey Photography for always being a pleasure to work with!

Photography: Lacey For Scobey Photography | Videographer: 3Ring Weddings | Planner: B Moore Events | Catering: Endive | Ceremony & Reception Venue: The Foundry At Puritan Mill

Scobey Photography and B. Moore Events are members of our Little Black Book. Find out how members are chosen by visiting our FAQ page.
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