When your engagement begins with an uber-romantic proposal in Paris (“love locks” included), you know your wedding is going to be something extra special. The kind of wedding that exudes pure beauty from start to finish and is chock-full of heartwarming moments between beloved friends and family. This, my friends, is that wedding; a gorgeous purple-hued day set against the stunning Gardens at Great Oaks with an entire gallery of lovely captured by Scobey Photography. Join me there for every ounce of pretty.
From the Bride… Tony and I were engaged in Paris, France on March 8th, 2012. He proposed on a bridge covered in locks near the Notre Dame. The locks are locked to the links on the bridge by lovers who write their name on their lock, attach it to the bridge, and throw the keys into the river to symbolize their infinite love for each other. Tony had written our names on a lock for the occasion, and when I tossed our keys into the river, he got down on one knee. The locks inspired us to have a wedding that had the feel of Paris – the watercolor purples of the Seine, the Old World lace, the romantic lovebirds nesting in the rafters of the buildings. And of course we had to include locks and keys!
We started planning for a wedding in Georgia where we’re both from. Historic Roswell was ideal in terms of location for our families and the many people traveling to our wedding – including us! We are current residents of Boston, MA, where Tony is in his last year of law school and I am a writer. Tony’s schedule made timing a wedding difficult, because law students don’t have a summer break. During the summer, law students are expected to work as summer associates at law firms, courthouses and the like. So our choices were to have the wedding during his Spring Break in early March, or in August during the small break between work and school. Although March 2013 would have been a lovely time because it was so close to our engagement date, the weather wasn’t what we had our hearts set on. So August it was, and the venue we loved – The Gardens at Great Oaks, just happened to have August 10th, 2013 open.
When the day arrived, it was magical. I remember being in my hotel room taking a shower and thinking, “Is this it? Is this real?” The bridesmaids, my mother and I got ready in a suite at the Doubletree Hotel in Roswell, GA. The makeup team from Brushworx was there to greet us and did all of our makeup and hair for the day. We got ready in robes I ordered on Etsy and enjoyed mimosas, Chick-fil-A biscuits, and Krispy Kreme doughnuts. I have missed those Southern staples! Lacey from Scobey Photography arrived halfway through the process and began taking pictures. Her enthusiasm was contagious and she had us all laughing. What I didn’t know is that she was trying to pump everyone up because there was a torrential downpour outside!
All week, it had rained every day, and it had rained around our ceremony time of 6:30 PM. I was worried but everyone assured me that if it rained, we’d figure something out. My fabulous wedding planner Pat Gardella had a plan B, C and D – but of course as a bride I was fretting over the details. As the time drew near, I saw the rain come pouring from the sky. Even on the way over, I thought there was no way I would have my outdoor ceremony. But when we arrived at the Gardens, it was like God had opened up the clouds just over the house, and the sun streamed through and bathed everything in a heavenly glow. It was a perfect daydream light that I feel really shows through in Lacey’s photos.
Like every other bride says, the rest of the day just flew! All my vendors were so professional that all I noticed was the great jobs they did.
Sarah Provow from Bloomin’ Bouquets helped my watercolor floral vision come to life. Wrapped around my bouquet is a handkerchief that belonged to my maternal great grandmother, and a cameo belonging to my late grandmother on my father’s side. There is also a lock that matches the key hanging from Tony’s boutonniere. The flowers include Rose Patience, Lisanthus Lavender, Garden Roses, Stock, Orchids, Hydrangeas and more. She also provided mercury class vases on the tables that gave a vintage feel. Other items on the table included pictures from Tony and my relationship, thank you notes, French styled lavender napkins, and table numbers that look like old vintage postcards sent from Paris ordered from Etsy. Sarah also set up the canvas with the picture someone grabbed in Paris of our proposal!
Outside in the yard were Cornhole (you know, the bean bag game) boards that were handmade and hand painted by my mother, Angie. They feature my alma mater and favorite team, the Alabama Crimson Tide, and Tony’s favorite team, the Florida Gators. The years listed are the years where the teams won national championships in football. People played during cocktail hour.
Also during cocktail hour we had a tour guide who gave tours of the Civil War era historical home. Our guests could see the beautiful rooms and hear the stories behind the antiques and the family history of the people who once lived there.
Another handmade item by my mother was the escort card board. She hand selected vintage keys and tied them to escort cards shaped like luggage tags. She took a corkboard, painted the frame, and put key fabric over it. It was so fun!
Tony and I ordered a birdhouse cardbox from Etsy with our wedding date and colors on it. Other bird details include mini guestbooks with lovebirds, and a lovebird cake topper purchased from Hallmark (they are actually salt and pepper shakers).
The signs for Signature Drinks and the thank you notes found at each place setting were worded, printed and cut by me. I purchased paper at Staples, downloaded some free fonts, and arranged them in Adobe Photoshop. Then I printed them and cut them to size. It was a great way to add detail while also thanking my guests in a personal way, since I am a writer.
I also made 120 wedding wands! I’m sure you lovely folks at SMP know what wedding wands are. I used two colors of ribbon and one strand of lace that I aged over a candle. It was a long process but a labor of love! One of the bridesmaid’s zipper broke, and we stuck a wedding wand in there to hide it. Voila! Wedding magic. They were handed out by my cousins before the ceremony and people used them to wave us on our trip down the aisle as husband and wife, as well as at the end of the night. And they were fun dance floor accessories, too!
The mustaches that hooked around the beer bottles were made by Tony’s friend as a gift to us. They were a hit! They make you look like you have a mustache while you drink your beer.
The Signature Drinks were the Mint to Be – Mint Vodka Sweet Tea with Mint Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka, mint leaves from the garden, and sweet tea with a hint of lemon – and the Something Blue – a Blue Hawaiian.
The dinner menu was Southern and French – everything from Fried Buttermilk Chicken Tenders to a beautiful Roast Beef with Au Jus. Jerry Dilts & Associates did an amazing job.
Our cake was simple vanilla buttercream frosting over raspberry cake. But the cake the guest enjoyed were actually petit fours in all kinds and flavors – fruit tarts, chocolate truffles, etc. And they were delivered on a French pastry cart that Tony’s mom Tina found at an antique store. We donated it to the venue afterwards – people loved it!
After the drinking and dancing, the party was over much too soon. On our way to the limousine, our guests tossed French lavender and waved their wedding wands. It was the perfect end to our perfect day. I hope you feel it was as dreamy as we did.
Photography: Scobey Photography | Wedding Planner: The Gardens at Great Oaks | Floral Design: Bloomin’ Bouquets: Unique Floral and Event Design | Wedding Dress: Casablanca Couture | Cake: Douceur de France | Ceremony Venue: The Gardens at Great Oaks | Reception Venue: The Gardens at Great Oaks | Bridesmaids Dresses: J.Crew | Catering: Jerry Dilts & Associates | Hair and Make Up: Brushworx Hair & Makeup | DJ: Eric Anthony Productions | Groom's Attire: Macy's | Groomsmen's Attire: Men's Wearhouse | Bridal Jewelry: Tiffany | Photography - Assistance: Chil Studios