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Rustic Elegant Fall Wedding at RT Lodge

While this whole wedding makes me stop and stare, it’s the little details that are the most impressive. From upscale Chinese takeout boxes full of petals to custom booklets for each guest with their own Chinese zodiac inside, this couple paid homage to the Bride’s family in the most creative of ways. Natalie Watson captured each and every one of them and this gallery is bound to keep me entertained for hours.


From the Bride… When Jonathan (J for short) and I started thinking about what we wanted the “feel” of our wedding to be, we knew we wanted the day/weekend to be not only be a celebration of our love for one another, but a celebration of the love we have for each and every guest that was there. After all, each one of them had played a role in helping shape the beautiful person that would stand before the other at the altar! We really wanted to make sure all the guests knew how much they meant to us. As we’re both accountants, we were definitely budget conscious, but at the same time we wanted to offer the best of everything! Best food, band, personalized favors, bridesmaids/groomsmen gifts… So we decided to go with quality rather than quantity… and with the help of my lovely bridesmaids, amazing vendors, and wonderfully talented MOH/florist/wedding planner, we were able to make this happen for the 110 guests that arrived! (Something to note about my MOH and vendor of all trades, Alex Stockton – my cattleya orchids for my bouquet came to us with just the bloom and no stems! So she actually had to take the stems of other flowers, and hand wire each of the blooms! Talk about fulfilling her maid of honor duties!)

The Saturday of our wedding weekend began with a savory and delicious breakfast, followed by bridesmaids/groomsmen gifts. The bridesmaids were given the softest, heather pink, Lauren by Ralph Lauren shawl collared robes and Kate Spade wristlets, either in a neutral beige or a maraschino cherry red.The guys were each given a bottle of Jack Daniels and little tie pins. After gifts, we all got ready and headed down to the outside stone fireplace, already lit, to have a traditional Chinese Tea Ceremony.

The tea ceremony consisted of my “lucky ladies in waiting (my wonderful bridesmaids)” pouring tea, and J and I serving it to our guests 2 by 2. The guests in return for the tea would offer small gifts in the special Chinese red envelopes along with their blessings and any words of wisdom they had on marriage. Custom has it that the tea should be poured only by those that you denote as having been very lucky and blessed in life, so they can pass a little of that luck to you and your spouse!

As our guests were arriving to the American ceremony, where we would exchange our vows, they were greeted with craft papered Chinese take out boxes for a petal toss exit. My parents own a store, so my MOH/planner and I really wanted to tastefully incorporate that aspect of my life into the wedding. So we thought, what better way to do that than to customize “upscale” Chinese take out boxes that displayed our very own created wedding monogram (thank you Word!).

After the ceremony, the guests were guided to the escort table that displayed stone-colored ceramic fortune cookies, each containing the guests’ “fortunes” as to which table they were to sit at. When they arrived to their table, there sat a tailor-made booklet, individually customized for each of the guests, tied with a ribbon, enticing them to open the booklet and “Discover their Chinese Zodiac.” I had made sure as we were compiling our addresses to take note of every guests’ birth dates, even if they were unable to attend.

As the guests left, they were given a bottle of wine that displayed our wedding monogram, and given a note that said: “In addition to this favor, J and I decided to donate to our local animal shelter in honor of our 3 pets, who are all tucked in, sleeping the night away. We also make the pledge to make this same donation every year at this time to commemorate the commitment we made to one another and to show thanks for this special day!” This was a really important aspect to us, because so often (and how can you not) we get swept away in all the beautiful details of planning a wedding, that sometimes we forget how lucky and blessed we are, and so we wanted to pay it forward to something we hold dear to our hearts.

Although I could go on and on about all the lovely and endearing details that was so wonderfully captured by Natalie Watson, of what we consider to be the best weekend of our lives (thus far anyway!), I’ll leave you with what I have shared above and hope that the pictures can tell the rest of our story. We hope you enjoy!

Photography: Natalie Watson | Floral Design: RT Lodge | Dress: Monique Lhuillier | Shoes: Kate Spade | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Monique Lhuillier | Bridesmaids' Dresses: BCBGMAXAZRIA | Catering : RT Lodge | Hair And Makeup: Bangs And Blush | Band: The Pink Cadillacs | Groom's Attire: ASOS | Groomsmen's Attire: Zara | Groomsmen's Attire: The Tie Bar | Wedding Venue: RT Lodge | Tent: RT Lodge | Bridal Salon: Joan Pillow Bridal | Bride's Robe: Ryan Seacrest Distinction | Bridesmaids' Robes: Marina | Earrings: Rent The Runway | Father Of The Bride Attire: J.Crew | Getaway Car: Regal Carriages | Mother Of The Bride Dress: Ralph Lauren | Planning: RT Lodge | Rehearsal Dinner Venue: RT Lodge | Veil: Vera Wang

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Tennessee Wedding at The RT Lodge from Watson-Studios

You always hear stories about brides who try on one gown – and know it’s the one. But almost all of them go on to savor the experience and try on a few more… just to be sure. Not this bride. This bride knew the moment she put her gown on that this was it. She simply knew. Just like she knew when she got engaged, there was no need for a long engagement. He was the one – it was time, and two short months later, they would marry. From the dreamy photography by Watson-Studios and the delightful bouquets from Mulberries, this Tennessee wedding is charming beyond belief. See the full gallery here.

From the Bride… Sam and I had been dating for over 4 years. When we decided to get married, we knew we didn’t want to have a long engagement.  We were engaged in June and set our wedding for August 25! We were so excited to lock in Natalie and Dan Watson as our photographers shortly after.  It all happened very fast! We both love the outdoors and knew we wanted to have our wedding outdoors, somewhere with a woodsy feeling.  After seeing the RT Lodge, we knew that was the place.  I did have a few things on my wish list, though, for my wedding…

1) my dream husband 2) my dream dress 3) great photography 4) our family at the wedding 5) as little stress as possible!

We decided to have a small, intimate wedding with family only.  Most of our immediate family were able to come, and our total attendance ended up being 22 (24 including the photographers)!  Having such few guests at the wedding allowed us to really slow down and enjoy the experience.  We didn’t have to rush around and say hello to everyone… we were able to have entire conversations with everyone and even enjoy the food made by  the RT Lodge. It was incredible!

As far as planning a wedding goes, I was a novice.  The RT Lodge pretty much covered every detail… all I had to do was send a few preferences about food, location of ceremony, etc and boom… it was done!  I enjoyed meeting with Samantha from Mulberries to pick out flowers and met with a local woman from Maryville who made our cake!  I ordered a few things from Etsy and Ellis (the RT Lodge wedding planner) took care of absolutely everything else!

Thanks to the small size of our wedding, our families were able to participate in the wedding.  We served communion to our guests after Sam and I took communion and then my dad and Sam’s dad prayed over us with our families surrounding us. It was an amazing experience! I can honestly say I had my dream wedding.  Every single moment was a blessing.  Our day was full of joy and fun and time with family, and there really was no stress.  Honest! I feel very blessed to have had such a wonderful experience and am grateful to all those who supported us and celebrated with us and helped the day be such a delight!

From Samantha of Mulberries… Sarah wanted a soft palette of light blue, green, and cream. She loved textural elements such as gray-green succulents, scabiosa pods, and touches of sword fern.  We agreed on tweedia, which is the small light blue star-shaped flower, to bring in a hint of blue. Green Dutch hydrangea, ivory garden roses, and pieris japonica completed the bouquet.  Sam’s boutonnière was one of my favorites – a combination of a small succulent, scabiosa pod, pieris japonica, touch of tweedia, and sword fern wrapped in burlap ribbon. 

Sarah had such a great relaxed attitude and was a joy to work with. She wanted simple elegance in a classy rustic setting, and the end result was a stress-free beautiful day, celebrated with only their closest friends and family. 

Wedding Photography: Watson-Studios / Wedding Venue + Catering + Planning: RT Lodge / Floral Design: Mulberries / Wedding Dress: David’s Bridal