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Carnival Inspired Wedding in Madison Georgia from Liana Photography

This Bride is amazing. Yes, she is gorgeous, and yes her wedding is not only beautiful but fun – but this stunning lady also happened to plan her Georgia wedding all the way from Abu Dhabi. Yes you read that right. And that gorgeous dress she wore? She picked it out a week before her big day. So long story short, my figurative hat is off to this talented Bride, and I’m pretty sure yours will be too. See all the pretty images from Liana Photography here.

From the Bride… Carnival of Love. One that is not based on status, perks, social clubs, prim and proper, formal or any of that other stuff that sometimes gets in the way of a meaningful and happy wedding. Just a carnival of love. This has been the phrase to sum up our courtship. I first met Quincy while walking to work with him smiling at me and saying “You wanna get married?”….. It has summed up our lives together so far. We randomly decided to move to Abu Dhabi…. And it was only right for it to sum up our carnival/country themed wedding in Madison, Georgia.

Now I have seen many weddings and even many themed weddings, but none compare to the DIY talents, love, long distance planning and friendships that were manifested in our one special day, which was also our one year anniversary (this was supposed to be a surprise, but it turns out I told more close friends than I thought! Oops! So much for that grand announcement). We arrived back in the US only two weeks before the wedding and we had to hit the ground running immediately.

Our wedding day was as perfect and unperfect as our love for each other and while everyone urged us to submit our photos to someone, I was hesitant at first because too often people use these wedding blog platforms to brag about their fairytale stories, wonderful loves, lives and careers when all I want to do is to show our awesome pics, highlight our wonderful vendors and offer the background behind every DIY project and idea, to help brides begin to truly explore their creativity instead of falling in line with what everyone “expects” a wedding to be.

We wanted to have a carnival wedding because we love to have fun. I love cotton candy, my husband loves games, so it seemed perfect. We chose the location because although both of us are from big cities, we love the calm and quaintness of the country. Our wedding day included a bingo game, spiked strawberry lemonade, popcorn, peanuts and other carnival treats, and we wanted everyone to have fun and not be so stuffy. The ceremony was officiated by my father’s sister, in my father’s absence, since he passed away in 2006. My stepson was my husband’s best man, my sisters were my maid and matrons of honor, my best friend walked me down the aisle, and my closest friends served as my Golden Girls, who all sat in the front row during the ceremony. Our reception included almost all of the down south comfort foods, mini hot dogs and hamburgers, strawberry lemonade, sweet tea, beef brisket, mac and cheese, baked chicken, and funnel cake as dessert.

The story of Jessica and Quincy starts in Brooklyn, New York. From there, we got married in Manhattan, took our love abroad to Abu Dhabi, and began planning a wedding that I hoped would be all that I envisioned, down to the wedding date being on our one year anniversary…I’m such a planner! A wedding which started out being located in Greensboro, Georgia (where my mother’s family is from), and ended up in Madison, Georgia, which is literally the next town over.

What made this day special was all of the little touches and details. As the bride I had many DIY projects, which included the save the dates, reception menus, wedding fan programs (which included the wed lib game on the back), the carnival ticket centerpieces, our bunting at the entrance, our puzzle piece guest book, the photobooth frames, the seating place cards, mini pinwheels for every guest and the bingo cards. Our wedding favors; personalized mason jars stuffed with roasted peanuts, added such a nice touch to the table decor. We wanted the guests to remember the little things from their childhood that brought joy to their lives. The little things. Knowing that on that day we were also celebrating one year as husband and wife was a blessing as well. It felt like a true celebration and that we had already put in a little work, so this party was a treat for our accomplishment as a couple.

This turned out to be probably one of the most tedious projects I have ever worked on, as I am a true micro-manager and I always tend to insist on doing EVERYTHING myself. With this planning, so many things that I thought I desperately needed to make our wedding day perfect, did not happen in the end, but I learned to let go, trust my husband, friends and family and let things fall together, and they did (one example of this was going to see our venue for the first time and finding out the caterer we had selected was located right next door!) From the wedding invitations, to the bridesmaid dresses that my sisters thought looked like couch covers, to the food, decor, and picking out my wedding dress a week before the wedding, it took a lot, but was all worth it, and quite budget friendly, might I add.

I also chose to have what I called Golden Girls instead of tons of bridesmaids. I have way too many good friends and although I only chose my sisters and best friend from high school to serve in my bridal party, I still wanted these ladies to be recognized. They were asked to wear yellow dresses, the same color as my bridal party, and red shoes, the same color as my shoes. They took on various roles throughout the wedding day, from hosting our wedding bingo game to leading our sorority sweetheart song!

Photography: Liana Photography | Cinematography: Liana Photography | Floral Design: Le Petit Jardin | Event Design: Variety Works | Event Planning: Bride + Variety Works | Ceremony Venue: James Madison Inn | Reception Venue: Variety Works | Invitations: Tyra Nicole | Wedding Dress: David’s Bridal | Shoes: Traffic | Makeup: Erin Marshall | Hair: Suite Lavender | Favors: The Knot Wedding Shop

Madison Georgia Wedding from Simple Color Photography + No Regrets Events

I may not know this darling duo in “real life,” but there is one thing I can say with absolute certainty. This wedding is soooo them.  A little bit classic, a little bit fun-filled and a whole lot of sophisticated everything, it’s the kind of day that is chock-full of elegant moments and bundles upon bundles of personality.  So even though we may only be virtual besties (we sooo are), it’s not hard to see their smiling faces bursting from every second planned to perfection by No Regrets Events and captured by Simple Color Photography.  See them all in the full gallery.

From the Bride… When we started planning our wedding, we tried to decide how we wanted to feel on our wedding day. We agreed that we wanted to be relaxed, traditional, and authentically us. We wanted family to be a big part of the weekend and we wanted a chance to really spend time with our bridal party and out-of-town guests. We answered this desire by doing a semi-destination wedding. We rented out the Farmhouse Inn in Madison, Georgia (a frequent childhood retreat of my family) for the entire bridal party to stay at, and had a ball staying up late around a bonfire the night before and having breakfast together the morning of the wedding. Both of our venues really captured the character of Madison and the feeling we wanted for our day; the church was an 1840’s beauty that touched on my love of history and our deep faith, and the reception hall was a renovated schoolhouse (perfect for a teacher-bride!) with an airy, lovely space for our guests.

The day was steeped in family and tradition, and I wore a traditional Irish engagement ring that has been in my family for generations and has been worn by every bride on her wedding day, as well as a garter made by my lovely grandmother out of my great-grandmother’s lace gown, and carrying the same handkerchief that my mother carried on her wedding day. The love that is carried through our families was displayed in canvas photos of mine and Andy’s parents and grandparents on their wedding days, bringing with them the memory of decades of happiness. The grandparents who are no longer with us were present through candles lit in the church and ornamented with beautiful pendants with their photos.

We love to swing dance together, so we chose Big Band Atlanta to play at the reception, and loved swinging the night away with our guests. When it was time to depart the band played the Georgia Tech fight song (for Andy!) and the University of Georgia fight song (for me!) and our guests chose white-and-gold or red-and-black pom poms to cheer us on our way. It was such a fun way to get our guests involved and have so much fun with the traditional going-away.

We were delighted with how smoothly and beautifully everything went; we were so relaxed and happy on our big day, and we wouldn’t change a thing!

Photography: Simple Color Photography | Event Planning: No Regrets Events | Floral Design: Le Petit Jardin | Wedding Dress: Justin Alexander | Ceremony Venue: Church of the Advent | Reception Venue: Madison-Morgan Cultural Center | Shoes: Franco Sarto | Catering: Hallie Jane's Catering | Band: Big Band Atlanta | Accomodations: Farm House Inn | Parasol: Priscilla's Parasol

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Rustic Shabby Chic Wedding from Janet Howard Studio

Rustic soirees?  I love ’em.  Especially when they are bursting with sweet shabby chic details, a crazy beautiful bride and groom and one heartwarming moment after another, a little combo that this gorgeous day from Janet Howard Studio has in spades… and then some.  It’s a Southern affair with enough inspiration to last a lifetime… and it’s all sitting pretty in the full gallery.  Join me there for more.

From Janet Howard StudioI’m so excited to show you this gorgeous Georgia country wedding with tons of rustic details. The wedding took place at a private residence in a newly-built barn, and it’s a casual, fun day that features sunflowers, hay bale seating and decor, cowboy boots, and games of cornhole. Instead of a signature book or frame, guests signed custom corn hole boards. Lots of the decor was either DIY or done by family friends or local vendors in nearby Madison, GA where the wedding took place. The bride’s goal was for a rustic shabby chic decor and for everyone to be comfortable and have a great time!

Wedding Photography: Janet Howard Studio | Wedding Venue: Private Residence, Madison, Georgia | Officiant: Chad Cheatham | Floral Design: LePetit Jardin | Catering: Cheryl Gaines | Cake: Cecilias Cakes | Signs: Misty Autry | Sunflower + Hay Bale Linens: Madison Mall Market | Cookies: Baby Cakes | Favors: Oriental Trading | Corn hole Boards: Hammerhead Backyard Games | Cups: Ballard Designs | Invitations + Programs: | Paper Products: Party City | Wedding Rings: Jared | Wedding Dress: David’s Bridal | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: David’s Bridal  | Men’s Attire: Perno’s Formal Wear | Landscaping + Wood Blocks: Jack’s Creek Farm | Rentals: Madison Rental | Hair: Jennifer Johnson of Classic Hair and Spa Athens | Music + DJ: Chad Cheatham | Transportation: Big Dog’s Tire and Service and Limousine Service