SUBMIT WEDDING
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A Southern Spring Wedding Tucked Away in a Secret Garden

Tucked away in a secret garden, a knight in shining armor and his lovely Bride, decked out in a Jenny Peckham dress and a hair piece that I’ve already pinned to my Pinterest boards, say “I do” and start their happily ever after. With Mary McLeod of Amy Osaba’s talent on full display and Simply Sarah’s images captivating us, every pic is straight out of a fairytale – get all heart eyed in our Vault right this way!

Colors
Seasons
Spring
Settings
Outdoor
Styles
Al Fresco

From the Bride… Jim and I met in a rec soccer league here in NYC. Over the summer of 2012, we both signed up as individuals and were placed on the same team. About six months later, we started dating secretly, not wanting to get our teammates involved. It didn’t last long before we were eventually caught stealing kisses at the bar after games. A few months later, I tore my ACL during one of our games. Jim, my knight in shining armor, swept me up into his arms and carried me off the field, only then to be greeted with the true challenge of carrying me up all four flights of stairs of my East Village walk up apartment. It was in this moment, and the weeks following my surgery that I knew I had found someone special. I was at my weakest and most vulnerable, and there he was, only a few months into our relationship, nursing me back to heath, carrying my bags as I crutched around the city, hailing cabs, cooking dinner, and just keeping me from wallowing in self-pity.

In July 2014, we planned a weekend getaway to Charleston to celebrate Jim’s birthday. We flew out of NYC at the crack of dawn and headed straight to Middleton Place, a plantation I’d wanted to see just outside of town. We leisurely walked the grounds, and finally decided to take a break from the sweltering heat and humidity on a bench by the lake. Jim started getting all sappy as we chatted, which I thought was due to his turning a year older. Suddenly, he was down on one knee asking me to marry him. I was so utterly shocked, that I was able to say yes, but couldn’t speak for the next 5-10 minutes. We giddily walked around the rest of the grounds, and before leaving, a random girl walks up to us and asks if we just got engaged. We answered yes, and she continues, first apologizing for maybe appearing to be creepy, and then admitting that she saw the whole thing happen from across the lake because she was watching an alligator. Said alligator was apparently less than 10 feet away from us the entire time. She offered to send us her photos, and sure enough, there it was!

We knew we wanted to have a longer engagement; I needed to finish my thesis, and we wanted to actually enjoy the planning process instead of rushing through everything. We ended up being engaged for almost two years before tying the knot. As for the wedding planning process, we knew we wanted to get married outside, so this was our sole starting point. I’ve known of Dunaway Gardens for years – one of my bridesmaids got married there. We researched and visited locations around NYC, but nothing felt right or compared to the image of Dunaway in my head. When we went to visit my family in Georgia for Christmas, we scheduled a tour of the grounds. Even in the dead of winter, we knew that this was going to be our place. The unrestrained nature and history of the grounds (it was a theatre retreat in the 1920s), especially the enchanting intimacy of the hanging gardens were exactly what we were looking for.

We used the venue as our inspiration for the details of our wedding. We knew it would be lush and green in late April, and we picked soft, pastel colors, greens, and metallics as our loose color palette to complement our already gorgeous surroundings. We wanted the day to feel natural, intimate, and ethereal, with nature and twinkling lights and stars as our witnesses. One of our best decisions was a family style dinner of delicious, Southern style food. We chose to have a live band because our friends and family love to dance and party, so we needed everyone to have a good meal beforehand. My dad built the head table for us – a beautiful and sentimental touch. We can’t wait to use it in our house one day. Mary McLeod did an amazing job of bringing the gardens into the reception tent, creating magnificent chandeliers out of greenery, which were one of the few things I asked for specifically from her. The day before the wedding, my mom, bridesmaids, and I spent about an hour or two creating herb bundles (and drinking champagne!) that served as the escort cards.

I remember during the ceremony forcing myself to keep looking out into the crowd and trying to make eye contact with as many people as possible. It made the ceremony feel more intimate and kept me from getting too nervous. As Jim and I exited the ceremony down this huge flight of stairs, I remember finally getting down to the bottom, realizing we actually did it, and him picking me up and swinging me around before our wedding party followed us out. Those simple moments of pure happiness are some of the most memorable to me.

One of my favorite moments of the reception was my dance with my father. I wasn’t allowed to know what song he selected, but I knew we were the last of the “dances”. The music began, and he started talking about how Brad and Janet had a pretty good love story and made it through a crazy time (for anyone that doesn’t know, Brad and Janet are the couple who end up trapped at the mansion in The Rocky Horror Picture Show). We danced the first bit of “The Time Warp” together, and suddenly the crowd closes in, all in sunglasses, hiding my dad from view. Next thing I know, he is in a crazy mad scientist wig. Everyone is laughing, dancing, and singing – I couldn’t have imagined a more fitting or better way to start the party.

It was so special to have people from all walks of our lives at the same huge party, from childhood besties and family friends. Our lives had come full circle, together.

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Photography: Simply Sarah Photography | Event Planning: Amy Osaba | Floral Design: Amy Osaba | Wedding Dress: Jenny Packham | Stationery: Hello Tenfold | Bride's Shoes: Prada | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Joanna August | Catering: Gloriosa Design | Makeup: Jennifer C. Nieman | Hair: Christy Rakestraw | Groom's Attire: Suitsupply | Groomsmen's Attire: The Black Tux | Venue: Dunaway Gardens | China: Vintage English Teacup

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A 54 Year Romance That’ll Give You All the Feels

If there’s one thing we love more than weddings, it’s a wedding anniversary. Because when it comes to your wedding day, it’s really the marriage that matters. Take this 54-year celebration that’s filled with endless love and all the #lifegoals you can dream up. Captured by A. Thomas Photography, we’ve got it all waiting in The Vault and some of the sweetest moments waiting for you below!


I am as lucky now as I was the day I married you – Mr. Larry



I walked away remembering why I

became a photographer in the first place

– A. Thomas Photography


From A. Thomas PhotographyThere are some things that are timeless: the dusk that settles over an ocean at sunset, fireflies that lead you home, the song of a cicada lulling you to sleep in the south…and love. Larry and Caroline are a rare story these days. They said “I do” to one another 54 years ago, and have continued to choose one another every single day since then. I have known these two my entire life, and I have never met a couple more loving and giving than they are – their love story is a testament to the staying power of true love.

Their granddaughter, Christina, reached out to me a few months back to talk about styling a session to celebrate their anniversary, and all of us jumped at the chance. It is so easy in this fast-paced world of weddings to forget that the marriage is actually the part we should be celebrating. This session reminds us that love is a choice that you make daily, and is the most fulfilling choice in the world. When we surprised them the morning of the session, I asked them to write down what they loved most about one another. It didn’t take them long to write a list, but these stuck out to me.

Mr. Larry said, “I love you for everything you’ve been through with me. You have put up with me for all of these years, and I am as lucky now as I was the day I married you.” Mrs. Caroline responded, “You are the most Godly man I have ever known. You are the best father, grandfather, and husband I could have ever asked for, and I have been so blessed by you”. I don’t think it gets much better than that.

We chose to do the session at their home in Sharpsburg, Georgia in homage to the fact that they were married in her childhood home’s living room – a custom that was common in 1962. They slow danced, snuggled, and laughed throughout the session, and I walked away remembering why I became a photographer in the first place.

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Photography: A. Thomas Photography | Floral Design: Southern Stems | Wedding Dress: Dillard's | Hair + Makeup: Native Beauty Bar | Film Scans: PhotoVision Prints

A Secret Garden Wedding Complete With Dreamy Dress + DIY Details

Tucked away in a secret garden, a beautiful Bride says “I do” to her college sweetheart, surrounded by DIY details she created herself, from the watercolor invitations to the programs, signs and more… no, this isn’t a fairytale, it’s real life and Sawyer Baird’s pretty pics prove it all. Simply Charming Socials planned and coordinated all the beauty and our Vault as the happily ever after – see it all here!

Colors
Seasons
Spring
Styles
Al Fresco

From the Bride… Austin and I met during our sophomore year of college, when some mutual friends brought us together and things went swiftly from first introductions to becoming an inseparable crew of about 10 people that would spend nearly every weekend together from then on out. A year after we met we were dating, and five years after that Austin was down on one knee on a gorgeous spring day in Whistler, B.C., asking me to spend forever with him. Our relationship has been defined from the start by our mutual love for spontaneity, fun, and adventure – and that’s exactly how we wanted our wedding day to feel too.

The vision I had for our big day was a combination of discovered, natural beauty, and soft, romantic details. I’ve always loved the idea of an outdoor wedding and was totally willing to travel (something we love to do anyway) to find the perfect venue. I wanted someplace naturally beautiful without a lot of man-made elements or forced decoration. The second I stepped through the gates of Dunaway Gardens, I knew we had found it. The old stone amphitheater and secret-garden-esque feel of the place had me swooning! It felt like discovering some old and long-forgotten grounds of an European estate, only they were actually tucked away in a sleepy Georgia town. It was perfect.

I’m a graphic designer by trade, so I always knew I’d have a hand in creating the smaller details of the day. I especially wanted to tackle the wedding paper myself, and while it was a huge –and at times daunting– task, I’m so glad I took it on. I’m not a “traditional” (read: paintbrush and pen) kind of artist, but I wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone and create something unique and meaningful for our invitation suite. So I experimented with a vision I had in mind and sought out guidance from some talented friends before ultimately going with a hand-torn and individually painted set in a vibrant green watercolor. I think Austin probably thought I was crazy for staying up into the small hours of the morning for weeks and converting our whole living room into a giant drying rack, but when all was said and done, they came out just as I’d envisioned. I loved going through and pairing each suite, sealing and embossing inner envelopes, addressing with traditional ink and pen and even tracking down an assortment of vintage stamps from a local collector I’d found. It was a huge labor of love, but I had so much fun doing it.

The little details have always been what I enjoy the most, so I made sure we left a personal touch on every aspect of the day, from the program fans that highlighted must-see areas of the gardens (thanks to the illustrative talents of a dear friend), to a number of signs that lead our guests through the day with subtle jokes sprinkled throughout as payoff to those who actually read them. My amazing mother helped package our succulent favors in little clear takeout boxes with black pebbles and finished with the same wax seal we’d used in the invitation suite. We made custom painted hangers for each of my bridesmaids and gave each of them vintage handkerchiefs with their initials on them (to use in case of happy tears!). My parents also gifted me with an old handkerchief of my grandmother’s (she’s 92, still quick-witted as ever, and absolutely my spirit animal). They had it embroidered with a sweet message that almost immediately made me want to smear teary-eyed mascara all over it.

Over all, the day was everything I could’ve wished for. We were surrounded by our closest family and friends in a beautiful place to celebrate our love for each other and the start of our next great adventure together in life – and that’s just about all you can ask for!

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Photography: Sawyer Baird | Event Planning + Design: Simply Charming Socials | Floral Design: Wrennwood Design | Wedding Dress: Amsale | Bride's Shoes: Guess | Jewelry: BHLDN | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Amsale | Hair: Emily Rich | Calligraphy + Invitations: By the Bride | DJ: Amp'd Entertainment | Groom's Attire: The Black Tux | Groomsmen Attire: The Black Tux | Venue: Dunaway Gardens | Catering + Cake: Epting Events

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here
These Featured Designers are members of our Look Book.
For membership information, click here